Author: Government recordkeeping

A New RDA for Victorian Government Schools
PROV and the Department of Education and Training are pleased to announce the approval and publication of a new Retention and Disposal Authority (RDA) for records of primary and secondary schools: PROS 22/06 Retention and Disposal Authority for Records of Schools

This RDA replaces PROS 01/01 RDA for School Records, which has been used by government schools since 2001.


RDA Development
The new RDA was developed over several years and was informed by extensive stakeholder consultation. A representative sample of government schools were consulted on early drafts, and all schools were alerted to the final draft out for comment through the Department’s email newsletter. Other stakeholders and the general public were also given opportunity to provide feedback. This process has produced a comprehensive RDA that covers contemporary school functions and strikes a balance between preserving a concise record of each of the 1500+ government schools as State Archives, meeting the business needs of schools, and personal needs of students, to reach a sustainable preservation outcome for the State and the community. 

The new RDA is divided into seven functions. Six of these functions cover records created within schools currently, while the seventh covers historical records that are no longer created but still exist in storage in schools across the state. Unlike PROS 01/01, the new RDA follows a ‘rolled-up’ structure, where each function contains only a small number of classes with short, medium, long term, and permanent retention periods. This will make the RDA simpler for school staff to implement, as there are fewer classes to apply and consistent retention periods across functions. 

 

New Appraisal
While the age and structure of the previous RDA made it a good candidate for review and replacement, it was the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the final report findings around recordkeeping that truly advanced its development. 

In response to these findings, records created by schools were reappraised, particularly those relating to the health and welfare of individual students. Both DET and PROV recognise that people may rely on gaining access to these records long after they have left the state school system, so a consistent 75-year retention period has been applied to records across several functions in the RDA to ensure that people can rely on these records being available throughout the majority of their life. 

 

Non-Government Schools
While PROV RDAs are usually not mandated for use outside the government sector, Ministerial Order 1359 requires that non-government schools also comply with the minimum retention requirements specified by the RDA for records related to child safety and wellbeing – excluding the transfer to PROV requirement. This will maintain consistency in the availability of these records for students and former students of all Victorian schools.

 

Ongoing Recordkeeping Support
DET will be communicating directly with schools about the requirements of the new RDA, and will provide recordkeeping guidance as required to all government schools. Staff managing their school’s records are encouraged to contact the Department’s Records Management Unit for any questions about the new RDA, re-sentencing requirements from PROS 01/01, and planning for permanent records transfers to PROV. Now that the RDA has been issued PROV and DET are planning the transfer of permanent value records from many schools to coincide with the 150th anniversary of free, secular and compulsory education in Victoria. 

PROV would like to thank everyone who worked on this project or who provided valuable feedback over the past few years. This has been an important project that will ensure that Victorians can rely on their schools, DET, and PROV to preserve and provide access to the records should they ever need them.
 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples.