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Retention and disposal of University records

The Retention and Disposal Authority has been formulated to help staff within the university to manage their records.  Record groups have been assessed according to the university's administrative, evidentiary and financial requirements. 

The Disposal Authority is arranged according to the university's business classification scheme. It does not attempt to describe each particular record type or format, but instead provides a broad description of the functions and activities to which the records relate. The Authority can be used to assess any university records to identify the following:

  • records of continuing value to the university
  • temporary records that must be held for short periods prior to destruction
  • records which may be destroyed immediately.

Disposal sentences are based on Public Record Office of Victoria Standards (PROS), including the Authority for Records of Higher & Further Education Institutions (PROS 02/01) and the General Disposal Schedule for Common Administrative Records (PROS 07/01); and decisions made by Monash University authorities including the Education Committee, Monash Research Graduate School/Institute of Graduate Research and the Audit and Risk Management Office.

The following conditions apply to the Authority:

  • The entries apply to records in any format, including electronic media.
  • Disposal classes refer to original records created within administrative and academic departments, or by university boards and committees. Copies distributed to other offices for reference may usually be destroyed when no longer required.
  • Minimum retention periods are given which determine when records may be destroyed - records may be kept longer if still of value to the creating office, and records must be kept longer if litigation is pending (see below).
  • Departments must ensure that all records recommended for short term retention are readily accessible for the periods specified.
  • After consultation with the archivists, all records recommended for permanent retention should be transferred to the University Archives when no longer required for business purposes.

The University Archives repository provides the temperature and humidity levels appropriate for storage of permanent records, together with the intellectual and physical control of stored records which enables information/research requests to be responded to, in most cases, within 24 hours.

Authorisation of records destruction

In order to comply with PROS10/13 S2 Implementing Disposal Authorities Specification, any records due for destruction according to the Retention and Disposal Authority must be properly documented and their destruction authorised by the relevant area manager.

Authorisation for Destruction of Records should be retained as a permanent record of disposal activities within the university and may be forwarded to Records and Archives Services for permanent retention.

All records managed by the university's records management software - currently HP RM/TRIM - will be documented within that system, and their disposal managed by Records and Archives Services. Hardcopy records managed in HP RM/TRIM, but not physically managed by Records and Archives Services, will require authorisation before they may be destroyed.

Destruction as part of Normal Administrative Practice (NAP)

University records may be destroyed without any further authorisation provided they fall within the category of Normal Administrative Practice. NAP allows for the disposal of:

  • working documents used to assist in the preparation of other records such as reports and statistical tabulations
  • drafts, the content of which has been reproduced and incorporated into the university's record keeping system
  • additional copies of documents, emails and publications maintained for reference purposes.

Before destruction of records under NAP consider:

  • is there any further administrative need to retain the record?
  • are others still using the record?
  • if you believe it is just a copy, are you sure that an authorised version has been kept?

NOTE: The Crimes (Document Destruction) Act 2006 and the associated Evidence (Document Unavailability) Act 2006 create formal and specific penalties for destruction of documents that are known to be reasonably likely to be required in evidence, where the destruction is intended to prevent the documents from coming into court, in situations where no litigation has actually commenced.

Confidential destruction of records

Records destruction refers to the rendering of records as unreadable and irretrievable. PROS10/13 Guideline 3 Destruction requires that all records should be destroyed with the same level of security maintained during the life of the records. Destruction may be carried out after records due for destruction have been documented and approved. (see above)

Physical records

Once approved, confidential destruction of hardcopy records, and of microfilm, x-ray, and video or audio tapes, can be arranged through Buildings and Property Division.

Electronic records

Simply deleting electronic records does not equal destruction. Destruction of records must be done by professionals using specialised software. When electronic records are destroyed, all existing copies of the records should be located and destroyed, including system backups and those in offsite storage.

References