Procedure for Disposing of Public Records
Note: Under the Exchequer and Audit Act 69:01- Financial Regulations (Subsidiary) Section 137 (2), the Government Archivist is the only public officer who can authorize the destruction of Government Records.
1. Find out if you have a valid Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (Sample Records Retention and Disposition Schedule ).
2. A Schedule is valid if:
(i) It was approved within the last five (5) years.
(ii) The Ministry or Department has the same, or nearly the same functions, filing systems, or recordkeeping practices as it did when the authority was signed.
(iii) There is no new legislation that affects the use or retention of your records.
(iv) It has not been revoked by the Government Archivist.
3. If you have a valid Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, you should divide the records according to what action is applicable to each record or class of records, under the schedule.
4. Possible Disposal Actions:
(A) Transfer the record to secondary storage (e.g. the Government Record Centre)
(B) Transfer control of the record to the Government Archivist
(C) Destroy the record
(A) Procedure for Transferring Records to the Government Record Centre
1. Identify the records for transfer based on an approved Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.
2. If no schedule is available, contact the Government Archivist for guidance in preparing a schedule for your division.
3. “Title of Records” on the Records Transfer Form and on the Records Retention and Disposal Schedule must be identical.
4. Inform the National Archives of the proposed transfer so that arrangements can be made for space, staff availability and a transfer date.
5. Place records in standard archival storage boxes in the order that they were filed during active use. All records sent to the Records Center are to be packed in standard one cubic foot records storage boxes. Its dimensions of 15" x 12" x 10" require one to file legal-size paper upright alongside the 15" side of the box. Letter-size materials are filed upright along the 12" side of the box. Please contact the National Archives for information on packaging oversized items and other media.
6. Label each box accurately and legibly with a waterproof bold black marker.
7. Label must include:
(i) Agency Code:
(ii) Consignment Number:
(iii) Box Number:
(iv) Record Group:
(vi) Inclusive Dates:
8. Complete the Records Transfer Form in triplicate (One each for the box, the Record Centre and the issuing office).
9. All material sent to the Records Centre is considered restricted and is not available to others without the department’s permission.
(B) Procedure for Transferring Control of Records to the Government Archivist
If the material you wish to transfer is scheduled for immediate removal to the National Archives please complete steps (A) 3-7 and contact the Repository for preparation of a Transfer/Donor Agreement.
(C) Destruction of Public Records
1. Identify the records for destruction based on an approved Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.
2. If no schedule is available, contact the Government Archivist for guidance in preparing a schedule for your division. View the Sample Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for an introduction to the process.
3. Submit a letter to the Government Archivist requesting permission to destroy the selected records. Please include a list of the records and a copy of your approved Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.
4. Once approval is granted, arrange for the SECURE destruction of the relevant records.
5. A record of the items destroyed and the approval must be retained by the agency.