Recordkeeping - IS40

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Public authorities are required to make 'full and accurate records' of their activities in accordance with the Public Records Act 2002 (the Act). This Information Standard, managed and administered by Queensland State Archives, helps public authorities meet their recordkeeping obligations under the Act.

Recordkeeping practice should be a systematic part of the essential business activities of all public authorities. This enables records to be identified, captured and retained in an accessible and useable format, preserving their evidential integrity for as long as they are required. This Information Standard aims to foster continual improvement in recordkeeping practice across the Queensland public sector. The principles in this Information Standard underpin the principles of Information Standard 31: Retention and Disposal of Public Records.

Definitions for terms used in this Information Standard can be found in the Glossary of Archival and Recordkeeping Terms on the Queensland State Archives’ website.



Public authorities must ensure that their recordkeeping systems, including policies, procedures and business systems that hold records, comply with legal, administrative, cultural and business recordkeeping requirements. This will assist in ensuring that full and accurate records of Government business activities are adequately documented, preserved and made accessible.  There are seven mandatory principles in this Information Standard which are:

Principle 1:        Public authority recordkeeping must be compliant and accountable
Principle 2:        Recordkeeping must be monitored and audited for compliance
Principle 3:        Recordkeeping activity must be assigned and implemented
Principle 4:        Recordkeeping must be managed
Principle 5:        Recordkeeping systems must be reliable and secure
Principle 6:        Recordkeeping must be systematic and comprehensive
Principle 7:        Full and accurate records must be made and kept for as long as they are required for business, legislative, 
                       accountability and cultural purposes.


This Information Standard relates to the recordkeeping domain in the Information Policy Framework of the Queensland Government Enterprise Architecture (QGEA).  It applies to public authorities as defined in the Public Records Act 2002.

This policy is applicable across all technological, administrative and service delivery environments in which Government business is conducted. It encompasses:

  • records in all formats, including electronic and other technologically-dependent formats such as audio-visual
  • all public authorities, as defined under the Public Records Act 2002 
  • business activities including all forms of Government, organisational and community activity undertaken by public authorities, and
  • outsourced Government functions and activities, such as those delivered under contractual arrangements by 
    –      shared service providers
    –      contractors
    –      funded non-government organisations, and 
    –      Public Private Partnerships.

Issue and review

This Information Standard is issued under the authority of the State Archivist in s.25 of the Public Records Act 2002It is published within the QGEA and is managed by the Queensland Government Chief Information Office (QGCIO).

It was developed by Queensland State Archives and approved by the Director-General, Department of Public Works on 30 June 2009.  This version of the Information Standard includes elements of Information Standard 41: Managing Technology-Dependent Records which was repealed on 30 June 2009.

This QGEA Information Standard will be reviewed periodically. The next review date is June 2012.


The authority for implementation of mandatory principles for this Information Standard is primarily derived from the Public Records Act 2002.

This Standard was first issued in mid 2001. Full implementation of Information Standard 40 was to be achieved by December 2006 for State Government Departments and Local Governments and by December 2007 for Statutory Entities and Government Owned Corporations. Those agencies which are not yet fully compliant should continue to work towards attaining and maintaining recordkeeping compliance. Public authority structures and functions may be subject to change, and compliance with recordkeeping standards should be assessed if such changes occur. Information management reforms, such as those progressed through the legislation around information privacy and the Right to Information, provide additional impetus for the regular review of recordkeeping.

Guideline for Recordkeeping provides an introduction to recordkeeping and supports this Information Standard. Detailed policy advice is published by Queensland State Archives on a range of specific topics related to recordkeeping.

Queensland State Archives publishes a whole-of-Government Recordkeeping Policy Framework which identifies the key policies, advice, guidelines and tools relevant to Queensland public authorities.

IS40 implementation toolboxIS40 implementation toolbox

Mandatory principles

Principle 1 - Public authority recordkeeping must be compliant and accountable

Public authorities must comply with public records legislation and other legal and administrative requirements for managing records within the areas in which they operate.  At a minimum, public authorities must:

  • Document the business, administrative and legal environment in which they operate, and identify the records which need to be created and managed within those contexts
  • Implement a strategic approach to recordkeeping that is endorsed by the agency's Chief Executive.

Implementation advice

Principle 2 - Recordkeeping must be monitored and audited for compliance

Recordkeeping systems, procedures and practices must be periodically monitored, evaluated and revised to ensure compliance with cultural, business, legislative and accountability requirements.   At a minimum, public authorities must:

  • Incorporate an assessment of recordkeeping compliance and performance into internal audit and/or business improvement process reviews
  • Act upon any compliance issues identified by reviews or audit processes to improve records management within the agency

Implementation advice

Principle 3 - Recordkeeping activity must be assigned and implemented

Recordkeeping activities are essential business functions that must be assigned and implemented through responsible management by individuals and systems.  Making and keeping public records is a responsibility of all those involved in the conduct of Government business, including contract staff.  At a minimum, public authorities must:

  • Formally assign responsibility for recordkeeping activities to those conducting Government business
  • Communicate roles and responsibilities for records management across the organisation

Implementation advice

Principle 4 - Recordkeeping must be managed

Recordkeeping must be managed through an identifiable recordkeeping program that includes records in all formats; and be administered by appropriately skilled staff.  At a minimum, public authorities must:

  • Assign responsibility for recordkeeping to an appropriately skilled manager or senior administrative officer
  • Implement an identifiable records management program with documented policies, procedures and business rules

Implementation advice

Principle 5 - Recordkeeping systems must be reliable and secure

All systems that are used to create and maintain records must work reliably and be secure to ensure that records are credible and authoritative regardless of format.  At a minimum, public authorities must: 

  • Implement recordkeeping systems which are secure from unauthorised access, damage and misuse

Implementation advice

Principle 6 - Recordkeeping must be systematic and comprehensive

The creation, storage and maintenance of records must be implemented systematically and comprehensively.  All systems (both manual and electronic), that create and maintain records must be supported by accurately documented recordkeeping policies and assigned responsibilities.  At a minimum, public authorities must: 

  • Implement processes to ensure records are created, stored and maintained systematically
  • Ensure records document the complete range of business undertaken by a public authority

Implementation advice

Principle 7 - Full and accurate records must be made and kept for as long as they are required for business, legislative, accountability and cultural purposes

Full and accurate records are a combination of processes (such as the creation and capture of records) and essential attributes of records (such as being meaningful, inviolate and complete) which combine to provide necessary accountability.  They must be made and kept for as long as they are required for business, legislative, accountability and cultural purposes.  Full and accurate records are:

                      • created                            • adequate                              • authentic 
                      • captured                          • complete                               • inviolate 
                      • retained                           • meaningful                             • accessible, and 
                      • preserved                         • accurate                               • useable.

Special consideration needs to be given to electronic and technology-dependent records to ensure they are managed as full and accurate records.  This will support their evidential integrity, accessibility and useability for as long as they are required to be retained.  Any amendment or augmentation of electronic records must be made without affecting the evidential integrity of the record.  Disposal of records is covered in Information Standard 31:  Retention and Disposal of Public Records.  At a minimum, public authorities must:

  • Classify records in accordance with a Business Classification Scheme based on an analysis of the public authority's functions and activities
  • Manage the retention and disposal of records in accordance with Information Standard 31: Retention and Disposal of Public Records
  • Capture minimum recordkeeping metadata for all records in accordance with the Queensland Recordkeeping Metadata Standard

 Implementation advice