Resentence… and not just for good behaviour

Some records have to be kept for quite a while. In that time it is very likely that their retention period will change or the schedule you use will be updated. All of this results in you needing to resentence the records. It sounds like something that happens in court when someone has been well behaved, but it’s not.

Resentencing records is when you need to update the retention period or other retention related information, like a disposal trigger or disposal authorisation details, for a record. This is usually when the retention and disposal schedule changes, but sometimes it’s because the record becomes more or less significant than when it was created or a more appropriate record class needs to be applied.

We have advice on how to sentence and resentence records on our website. We also have numerous blog posts on sentencing records (it’s a big topic).

This time we’re focusing on examples of when and how to resentence or update sentencing information, particularly with new disposal authorisation numbers.

Update a recordkeeping system when a disposal authorisation changes

Previously, when a new version of the GRDS was released, Bill always imported the full schedule into his agency recordkeeping applications. Even though importing a new GRDS took his team months to complete, he knew all records would be sentenced against the latest disposal authority.

Now that changes to the GRDS are authorised at record class level, Bill only makes changes within his agency recordkeeping applications to individual classes that have changed or imports a class when a new one is authorised. He no longer needs to import the full GRDS each time a change occurs.

Resentence records when a disposal authorisation changes

Molly is preparing records for destruction. The records she is looking at are sentenced against record classes in the GRDS. She previously recorded the record class number, QDAN and QDAN version number on the agency destruction approval form.

Molly now uses the relevant disposal authorisation number as the unique identifier on the form. Molly finds this is faster when preparing records for destruction as she easily searches QSA’s change history table for amendments to a disposal authorisation.

Resentencing records when the significance of records changes

Lamingtown Shire Council is very busy for such a small town, and they provide a large range of services for their community.

Recently they stated a project to re-develop an empty building in the centre of town.

A few months into the planning, townsfolk started to discuss this development quite a lot, and one group did some additional research into the history of the building. Some of the old records they found indicated that this building might have cultural heritage significance.

Katie, the Manager, Records and Information Management, decided to check how the records relating to this re-development were sentenced and if that needed to change. They had originally been sentenced under the ‘Projects-other’ class in the GRDS. However, Katie saw that there was also a ‘Projects-significant’ record class. The scope of that record class defined significant projects as ones that may:

  • involve buildings or property considered to have cultural heritage significance
  • generate substantial debate or controversy

Based on that, she decided that all records relating to this project should be re-sentenced under the Projects-significant class.

Resentencing records when a schedule is reviewed or updated

Bill works for Lamingtown Health Centre (the local hospital) so they use the GRDS and an agency specific schedule to sentence their records.

Some legislation that applies to them has recently changed, meaning they needed to review 2 functions in their schedule so the retention periods aligned with the updated legislation.

The updated schedule has:

  • 2 new record classes
  • 1 record class removed
  • 16 classes amended.

Bill and his team needed to resentence the records that had been sentenced against the changed record classes and the one that had been removed.

They used the information in the summary of changes, the appraisal log and the schedule to check what record classes had changed, what had been added and what had been removed. The appraisal log also gave them the information they needed about why the changes had been made, which helped them resentence the records under the right class.

Here’s what they found and how they managed it. Resentencing can be quite involved, so bear with Bill and the team as they work through it. Here goes…


Bill and his team checked all of the amended classes to see what had changed. They had:

  • 2 new record classes
  • 11 classes had a change to their retention period with no change to the scope of the record class.
  • 5 record classes had changes to both the scope and the retention period
  • 1 record class had been removed.


They found the records that had been sentenced against the 11 amended record classes where only the retention period had changed.

All they needed to do here was update the retention period and disposal authorisation information to reflect the new retention period and disposal authorisation number.

Phew, 11 record classes done.


They looked at the other records that had been sentenced against amended record classes where the scope of the class had changed. They needed more information so they looked more closely at the summary of changes, the appraisal log and the schedule to find out why the changes had been made.

They found that 3 of the amended record classes had been expanded to cover more records, not less. This meant that the records already sentenced against this class were still covered and just needed the retention periods and disposal authorisation details updated.

Another 3 classes done.


The appraisal log also told them that 2 of the amended record classes had been split, resulting in the 2 new record classes.

They needed more information, so they checked the scope of the 4 classes (two amended, two new), the information in the appraisal log and then the information they had about the records to be resentenced.

From that, they determined which records needed to be resentenced against the new classes and which ones could remain against the two amended classes. Bill and his team could then update the information in their system.

2 more done. Almost there…


They looked at the record class that had been removed. The summary of changes document showed that this record class had actually been rolled into one of the amended record classes.

So they checked the scope of the amended record class to make sure it fitted the records that had been previously sentenced against the removed class. It had been expanded slightly to include the removed record class, so these records could be resentenced against the amended class.

And we’re done! YAY!

More information

You can find more information about sentencing records, disposal triggers and using a retention and disposal schedule on the website.

Remember, you can contact us via email, telephone, blog, Twitter.

Also, just like in the movies, all names, characters, places, and incidents portrayed in this blog post are fictitious and are not based on real people or incidents in any way (as far as we know).

And if you’re interested in the story of Lamingtown so far, you can check out the other blogs here.


Featured image: Photograph of an oil painting of Chief Justice Samuel Walker Griffith of the Supreme Court, April 1986, Digital image ID 5642

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