Get your records straight! Record keeping strategies for the New Year

Editorial note: This article was updated in November 2021

Are you compliant with the State Records Act? The start of a new academic year is a good time to review your records management.

This might include putting aside a regular time to manage your files, or clarify what documents or correspondence you need to file.

All University personnel have obligations to maintain records under the State Records Act and the University's Information Management Policy. A "record" might be an email, letter, lab book, diagram, photograph, set of lecture handouts, payment receipt - or anything else tangible (or reproducible) that shows what the University does, has done, or will be doing.

There are many additional reasons for complying with the State Records Act. Good file management:

  • Contributes to the smooth operation of the University by making information available when it is needed for decision-making and operational activities
  • Provides precedent, background information and analytical material for new staff or colleagues working on similar projects
  • Creates a complete record of official actions that will remain with the University for future use by others and may later be transferred to the University Archives as a historical record
  • Ensures accountability
  • Ensures that electronic records, especially those generated by desktop applications will be available to all authorised personnel
  • Protects records from inappropriate and unauthorised access

It is easy to let filing tasks pile up or neglect those emails that have accumulated in your electronic archive – it all becomes too much after a while and creates an enormous task. A routine that you will stick to for the year might save much heartache to you and others trying to source the basis for a decision, activity or Freedom of Information inquiry in the future.

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