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Ministers' Office Handbook

Managing Records and Publishing Diaries

Ministers’ Diaries

Commencing 1 July 2014, Ministers are required to publish quarterly diary summaries of scheduled external meetings held on portfolio-related matters.  Cabinet, commercial-in-confidence and personal information will not be disclosed.  Nor will strictly personal, electorate or party-political meetings. (For details see Premier’s Memorandum 2015-05).

Retaining and Disposing of Records in Accordance with the State Records Act 1998

Guidance for Ministers’ offices on making and keeping records appropriately and complying with their obligations under the State Records Act 1998 is available at: https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/recordkeeping/resources/ministers-offices

State Records NSW provides:

Creating and Classifying Records

Any information that is created or received by a Minister or their staff in the course of official duties is considered to be a record.

Records can be in any format.

Under the State Records Act, Ministers’ offices need to:

  • Create and maintain full and accurate records of any official government business transacted by the office.
  • Retain those records for as long as they are required.
  • Dispose of those records legally and appropriately when they are no longer required. This may entail the transfer of permanently valuable records to State Records NSW (where they will be retained as part of the State’s official archives)

The classes of records and the authorised disposal action applying to them are set out in GDA13.

Possession or Control of Ministers’ Records Stored on the Ministers’ IT Network

Any information that is created or received by a Minister or their staff that is stored on the Ministers’ IT network, for all purposes while the Minister is holding that office, is taken to be in the possession or under the control of the Minister (for details see Schedule 2, Part 2, Clause 7 of the MOPS Act).

Storing Records

To minimise storage requirements for records that need to be retained by Ministers’ offices, the options to consider are:

  • Where a record is held in paper format, scan it and store it electronically.
  • Where a record stored electronically is printed for temporary use, do not retain the paper copy after use.

The following table provides examples of records and guidance to Ministers’ offices on their retention.  This information should be read in conjunction with GDA13 which contains a full listing of records relating to Ministers’ portfolio responsibilities.

Description of RecordOfficial/State  Record?

Paper copies of official/state records

No – do not retain the paper copy after use

Copies of records that are available electronically in the official document management system or the official Ministers’ office network directory

No – do not retain the paper copy after use and do not make an electronic copy

Paper copies of records that are publicly available on the Internet

No – do not retain the paper copy after use

Constituency, party political or personal records

No – if unsure err on the side of caution and store electronically in the official document management system or the official network directory

Cabinet Documents

Yes – return to DPC Cabinet Secretariat when no longer required.  If unsure err on the side of caution

State records created by a department or agency

Yes – the department or agency that created the record owns the record.  Return the record to the responsible department/agency when no longer required.  If unsure, contact the department/agency for clarification

All remaining paper and electronic records

Make a judgement call about retention (e.g., based on office needs and guidelines issued by the State Records Authority). For paper records which are to be retained, consider the option of scanning


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