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Records and Information Management Policy

Section 1 - Audience

(1) This policy applies to all University staff, contractors, volunteers, conjoints, students, work experience placements, members of advisory and governing bodies, as well as staff of controlled entities of the University.

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Section 2 - Executive Summary

(2) The University of Newcastle’s (University) records and information provide evidence of business activity and are a vital information asset. They drive collaboration and communication, preserve knowledge, provide the foundation to support business activity, support decision making, document rights and entitlements, make up the corporate memory of an organisation, and provide stakeholders with transparency and accountability for University operations.

(3) Having the capacity to securely store records and information in a way that can be readily and efficiently managed, retrieved and re-used is essential to the effective operation of the University.

(4) The University is committed to the principles set out in relevant legislation and whole of government policies.  The University has responsibilities for record and information management under the State Records Act 1998. This policy is directly aligned with the principles outlined in Standard No 12:Standard on Records Management, issued under the State Records Act 1998 and AS ISO 15489.1:2017,Records Management Standards.

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Section 3 - Purpose

(5) This policy identifies the University's obligations under the State Records Act 1998 and the principles of the Standard No 12: Standards on Records Management; and establishes a framework by which the University will govern the management of records and information (including research data).

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Section 4 - Policy Scope

(6) This policy applies to records and information in any format that is created, received or maintained by the University, that document research, deliberation, advice and actions undertaken in the course of carrying out a University function or activity (called herein ‘University Records’).

(7) University Records may include, but are not limited to, paper based records, emails, electronic documents, microfilm, tape, photos, camera footage, web pages, social media sites, and structured data held in databases.

(8) This policy does not apply to records and information that only have a limited or incidental relevance to performance of a University function.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(9) In the context of this document:

  1. “high value records” means those University Records that have been identified as supporting high risk or high value business operations including those records which if not controlled present a high risk to the University;
  2. “Vital Records” means those University Records that have been identified as essential for the ongoing business of the University, without which the University could not continue to function effectively or protect its interests;
  3. “University function or activity” means any decisions, actions, risk assessments undertaken by or on behalf of the University to further its statutory objectives, including but not limited to research, research administration, teaching, strategic and business planning, ensuring the health and safety of staff and students, student administration, alumni administration, human resource management, financial management, governance and administration of the University, and commercial activities;
  4.  “State Archives” means those University Records that are appraised by the University in accordance with the statutory framework as having historical, long term continuing value, and that the State Archives and Records Authority has control of under the State Records Act 1998, (commonly referred to as permanent records of the State). Examples of State Archives include, but is not limited to;
    1. master sets of by-laws and rules and policies;
    2. master sets of Senate, Council, Health and Safety and similar governing bodies meeting papers;
    3. Annual reports;
    4. registers of graduates, scholarships, and final academic transcripts;
    5. final approved curricula;
    6. records of ownership of intellectual property;
    7. research project final reports’, and,
    8. strategic plans;
  5. “disposal” refers to a range of processes associated with implementing records and information retention, destruction or transfer decisions which are documented in disposal authorities;
  6. “University Records Management System” is an approved information system managed by Records Governance Services;
  7. “University Approved Information Systems” are those systems that are supported by the University and have been assessed by Records Governance Services for suitable recordkeeping functionality, and Information Technology for acceptable security functionality. Refer to ‘Information Security Policy – Systems Acquisition,Development and Maintenance’ for more information.    
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Section 6 - Principles

University Records and Information Management Program

(10) The University's records and information management program will satisfy the requirements of the State Records Act 1998 NSW and any associated standards, policies and guidelines.

(11) The program, including policies, procedures, people and the systems required to manage records and information will be monitored and evaluated so that there is continuous improvements and assurance that the needs of the University and regulatory requirements are met.

Creation and Management of University Records and Information

(12) Information owners shall assess, document and review those University Records that they are responsible for in accordance with this policy.

(13) Information owners shall ensure that those University Records they are responsible for are created, stored and protected for operational, accountability and compliance purposes within a University Approved Information System.

(14) Information owners shall ensure sensitive, personal and confidential University Records are protected against unauthorised access and are not retained for any period longer than the purpose for which they were collected.

(15) Prior to entering into arrangements to store and manage University Records with third party providers outside of NSW, University Records must be assessed to ensure they can be stored in accordance with the requirements outlined in NSW State Records NSW State Archives and Records GA35 - Transferring Records out of NSW.

(16) Email folders, shared folders, personal drives, or external storage media shall not be used to permanently store University Records as these lack the necessary functionality to protect and manage University Records. University Records held in these systems must be incorporated into a University Approved Information system or the University’s Record Management System.

Retention and Disposal of University Records and Information

(17) Retention periods for records and information are set by the State Archives and Records Authority of NSW in the NSW State Archives and Records - Retention and Disposal Authorities.  Disposal Authorities are legislated under the State Records Act 1998.

(18) Disposal Authorities determine how long records and information need to be kept before they can be disposed. The University uses a number of General and Functional Disposal Authorities to manage retention requirements.

(19) Destruction of University Records prior to completion of minimum retention periods is prohibited under the State Records Act 1998.

(20) The University has assigned authority for the disposal of records and information in its delegation register.

(21) Disposal of records must be authorised, secure, timely and documented to support compliance with the State Records Act 1998 and Privacy Legislation.

University Records and Information Management Systems

(22) University Approved Information Systems used to capture and manage High Value Records and Vital records must satisfy the NSW State Archives and Records Standard No 12: Standard on Records Management or be linked to the approved University Records Management System.

(23) University Approved Information Systems must include minimum metadata requirements to support identification, usability, accessibility and context of records and information in accordance with NSW State Archives and the Standard No 12: Standard on Records Management.

(24) Appropriate documentation on system design and maintenance must be created and maintained by the relevant Information owner for the particular University Approved Information System to assist with monitoring, auditing and ensuring records and information management systems operate as expected.

Access to University Records and Information

(25) The relevant information owners for a University Approved Information Systems shall ensure that the University Records are protected from unauthorised access, disclosure, modification, loss or damage. Particular attention must be given to restricting access, securing sensitive, personal and confidential records and information.

(26) Staff are required to comply with the Information Security PolicyPrivacy and Information Access Policy and Privacy Management Plan when accessing records and information.

(27) Access to research data/primary material must follow the Research Data and Materials Management Guideline.

Security of University Records and Information

(28) University Approved Information Systems must have appropriate security mechanisms including access and user permissions to protect records and information wherever they are located.

(29) Security classifications are based on sensitivity, risk and potential impact on the University in the event that the records and information is disclosed, misused, misinterpreted or lost. Security classifications must be applied to records and information in accordance with the Information Security Data Classification and Handling Manual.

(30) Security for physical storage of University Records must be in accordance with the Standard on Physical Storage of State Records.

Out-sourcing University Records and Information

(31) The Information owner shall ensure that any out-sourced information systems are assessed prior to their use to ensure recordkeeping, requirements and risks are managed in accordance with Standard No 12: Standard on Records Management and the University's Risk Management Framework. This will enable the University to meet regulatory and compliance obligations.

State Archives - Transfer of University Records and Information

(32) University Records that are State Archives are required to be transferred to the NSW State Archives and Records Authority when they are at least 25 years old.  

(33) Digital State Archives must be migrated to the University’s Records Management System in a suitable long term format so that they are preserved prior to being transferred to NSW State Archives and Records Authority.  This will ensure compliance with the NSW State Archives and Records - Digital Records Preservation Policy.

Migration and decommissioning of IT Systems

(34) Decommissioning of information systems must be planned and documented and the plan must take into account retention and disposal requirements in line with the Disposal Authorities.

(35) Records and information migration and conversion processes must be planned, documented and tested to ensure that any University Records that are migrated and or converted remain accurate, reliable, useable and that metadata remains associated with records. This will support the requirements under the GA48 Source Records that have been migrated.

Risk and Business Continuity

(36) The University will ensure its Business Continuity Plans for critical processes will identify risks to Vital Records  and will provide processes to monitor and manage these risks, in line with the University's Business Continuity Management Framework.

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Section 7 - Roles and Responsibilities

All staff

(37) All staff are responsible for the management of University Records in University Approved Information Systems in accordance with this policy. Additional responsibilities for certain staff are listed below.

Vice-Chancellor

(38) The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for ensuring the overall management of University records and information is in compliance with the requirements of the State Records Act 1998.

Senior Staff

(39) Senior staff are responsible for the visible support, direction of, and adherence to this policy by promoting a culture of compliant records and information management, and that record and information management programs meet the requirements of the University functions and activities.

Records Governance Services

(40) Records Governance Services is responsible for overseeing the management of University Records at the University, consistent with the requirements described in the policy, including the provision of advice, training, approving the disposal of records and information, and assessment of proposed new information systems.

Chief Information Officer

(41) The Chief Information Officer is responsible for maintaining the technology for the University's business records and information systems in accordance with State Records legislation and this policy. This includes routine testing or audit of systems to ensure that there are no issues affecting information integrity, usability, confidentiality or accessibility.

Managers and Supervisors

(42) Staff who have responsibility for the management or supervision of divisions, units, teams or other employees are responsible for ensuring they maintain a detailed understanding of this policy, and that their staff including contract staff, are aware of and are supported to follow the records and information management principles defined in this policy.

Information Owners

(43) Information owners must ensure that records and information management requirements are identified and managed and that the development and implementation of any new University Approved Information System that they are responsible for is managed in accordance with this policy.

Contract Staff

(44) Contract staff should create and manage records and information in accordance with this policy to the extent specified in the contract.