There comes a time in some records’ lives when they need to move on. Don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s all them. They’re just special. So special they need to come to QSA to live forever and ever. These special records are the ones with a permanent retention period in an approved retention and disposal schedule.
To transfer records to QSA, there are set rules and processes and guidelines to follow. Then there are the things you still need to do to manage the records when they are here. And that’s not even thinking about getting your records back on loan.
So, to help you out, here are some examples of the things that seem to cause the most headaches.
Lamingtown Department of Learning and Education has some permanent school admission registers and records relating to significant awards they want to transfer to QSA.
Fred, the records manager and his department’s authorised delegate, checks with the department’s staff that they don’t need the records anymore for business activities – they don’t.
He then double checks that all the records are still listed as permanent in the Education Sector retention and disposal schedule and so can be transferred to QSA.
Fred wonders what he needs to do next, so he checks QSA’s advice on transferring records. He finds out he needs to fill out the Transfer proposal form for the records he wants to transfer first, and then contact the Archival Transfers team at QSA to discuss taking his department’s records.
He completes the proposal form and sends it to the Archival Transfers team. QSA send a transfer approval email to Fred and contact him to discuss any issues around boxing and packaging of the records. Broad time frames can also be discussed, with specific transfer dates not determined until item list is complete.
Fred then completes the item list using the template to enter all the records to be transferred, being careful to include all of the required information. There is an instruction tab on the template with examples of how to enter information for each column.
He then looks at the advice on setting a restricted access period for the records.
Once that’s done, he packs up the records in type 1 Archive boxes and contacts QSA to advise the records are ready and a transfer date can be scheduled.
Set different RAPs for records in the same series
Our agency from the above example is transferring a series of school admission registers and some records relating to significant awards to QSA and has to apply a Restricted Access Period (RAP for short) to them.
A RAP is a period of time where the records are ‘closed’ to public access. These records cannot be accessed except with specific authorisation from the responsible public authority or by an RTI application.
A RAP can also only be set by the agency’s CEO or their authorised delegate. Fred, as the authorised delegate, can set the RAP for the records he is transferring to QSA.
Fred decides to apply a RAP of 0 years (open) to the significant award records, because the information they contain was in the public domain already, but a RAP of 15 years to the school admission registers as they contain names and other personal information. He notes this decision on the item list template and in the RAP form to be given to QSA.
Just to clarify, Fred can set the RAP for these records because he’s the authorised delegate for his agency. Only the CEO or authorised delegate can set or change RAPs for records being transferred to or already at QSA.
Request records through the Government Records Retrieval service
The department Fred works for transferred some major research records to QSA last year, but now need some of them for another project.
Fred checks with the project team to find out what records they need.
Next, he checks the transfer report that QSA gave him after the records were transferred and processed – this has the item IDs for the records he needs.
He then fills out the File Issue request form with all the required details of the files he needs. Once that’s done he submits the form to the QSA File Issue service. The records they need are then delivered to his office for a 90-day loan period.
Fred was very efficient and didn’t need them for 90 days and arranged for them to be returned after 35 days.
Percy, from Lamingtown Police, identifies some archived files he needs for an investigation (very serious) but he doesn’t know which agency the records belong to. But he does know they are at QSA.
Percy checks the QSA catalogue to confirm the current responsible agency. It turns out the Lamingtown Department of Learning and Education is responsible for these records.
Percy then sets out to obtain written permission from that Department to access the records. Like the example above, Fred (the main contact at the Department), assesses the records and agrees to allow Percy access to the records.
Fred contacts the File Issue service to order the requested files, which Percy is going to access at the Department of Learning and Education.
Arthur, a parking inspector for the Department of Big Roads and Transport, wants to access some files he’s pretty sure have been transferred to QSA. As they’re still closed under a restricted access period (RAP), he needs permission to access them.
Arthur checks in with Molly, the Senior Records Officer and authorised delegate for the department, about the records. First, she confirms they were transferred to QSA. After a quick discussion with Arthur, she agrees he does need to access the records and works with him to determine the best way for him to access the records.
They decide that it would be better to get the files back, rather than have Arthur go to QSA to access them, so Molly helps Arthur order the files through the File Issue service.
Providing access to closed records
Members of the public and people working for other agencies may want or need access to records your agency is responsible for, but they’re still under a Restricted Access Period (i.e. they’re closed). Before they can access the records, they need to make an official access request and then your agency needs to grant (or deny) them permission to access.
Now, in the examples above, both Molly and Fred granted access to closed records to someone else (Arthur and Percy). So how does that work?
Angelina’s family are all from the Lamingtown region and she is researching her family history. She has been looking at all sorts of records at the archives.
One of the files she wants to access is her grandfather’s court record, which has an end date of 1960. The file has a RAP of 65 years as it contains sensitive personal information, so it will require permission from the responsible agency (Lamingtown Courts Service) to access it until it becomes available to the general public in 2025.
QSA supplies Angelina with the contact details for the Lamingtown Court Service agency delegate (Charlie), who is authorised to approve access to restricted records.
Angelina contacts them to ask for permission to access the file. Charlie requests the file through QSA’s File Issue service to examine it before making a decision.
Charlie looks at the record and decides that it is ok to provide access to the researcher and for her to obtain copies. He returns the file to QSA and sends an Access to restricted records form to QSA by email to officially give Angelina access.
Charlie then informs Angelina that they have granted access to the file and she can access it at QSA. Upon being notified that access to the records has been granted. Angelina contact QSA to make sure that they have received the form and she can access the records.
Angelina is very happy about that as she finds out a lot more about grandpa than she thought she would. Now I’m intrigued…
You might also want to check out our blog post What do we want? Information. When do we want it? Now! as this includes some tips and helpful information for finding archival records.
If you’re more interested in restricted access periods, take a look at our blog series on Unwrapping RAPs – this series provides more information on how and when to set a RAP, and things to think about when considering what RAP to apply.
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, check out the other blogs in the series.