Queensland State Archives has partnered with the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) to develop a joint guideline for the local government sector relating to the creation and management of public records – Council records: A guideline for mayors, councillors and council employees.
The advice sets out the requirements for the management of council records within the context of the Local Government Act 2009 (LG Act), and the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (CC Act) and the Public Records Act 2002 (PR Act). It also provides additional contextual information to support the Code of Conduct for Councillors in Queensland and Your social media and you: A guide for elected council members in Queensland.
Within the context of local government, council records are public records where the content of the record relates to the administration of council business and the responsibilities of council employees, the mayor and councillors under the LG Act.
The advice provides examples of the types of information considered a public record, as well as information which is not a public record of the council.
The guideline establishes three high level requirements for council employees, mayors and CEOs, specifically:
- Council employees, mayors and councillors are aware of and fulfil their recordkeeping obligations under the Public Records Act 2002
- Council employees, mayors and councillors must make full and accurate public records
- Public records must be retained for as long as they are lawfully required to be kept.
It is important to note that these requirements not only apply to council employees, but also to mayors and councillors when the record is related to the administration of council business. Failure by council employees, mayors or councillors to make and keep full and accurate records is a breach of the PR Act and may be a breach of the CC Act. For mayors and councillors, failure to capture public records is considered misconduct and may be investigated by the Office of the Independent Assessor or by the CCC where corruption issues are identified.
The guideline also includes guidance about the management of records in email, text or app-based communications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Wickr or Telegram.