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About this step-by-step

The step-by-step information below will guide you through the process of developing a Retention and Disposal Authority (RDA).

RDAs are Standards issued by the Keeper of Public Records under the Public Records Act 1973 which authorise the disposal of public records.

  • specify the records which must be retained permanently as State Archives
  • set mandatory minimum retention periods for records
  • authorise destruction of records once minimum retention periods have been met.

For further information about RDAs see Retention and Disposal Authorities (RDAs).

  1. STEP 1 - Determine disposal requirements

    The first step for agencies is to assess their state of disposal authorisation coverage in consultation with PROV. Some agencies may employ an external service provider to undertake this preliminary investigation for them.

    Please refer to our Document Library for all current RDAs. PROV staff can also advise which current disposal authorities may be used by your agency.

    All agencies can use PROS 07/01 Common Administrative Functions RDA. Further general (non-agency specific) RDAs, such as PROS 16/02 Non-Accredited Training Function RDA may also be applicable to your agency.

    Before authorising the development of a new RDA specifically for your agency PROV will consider whether the scope of an existing RDA(s) could be expanded to include your agency. You can also request that the scope of an existing RDA be expanded upon to include your agency by submitting a justification to PROV.

    This approach helps to reduce costs and red-tape for government, streamlines process and supports consistency of disposal arrangements. A new RDA should be developed only if the existing disposal authorisation for your agency is determined to be insufficient to meet ongoing needs.

    In the planning stages also consider the possibility of working in collaboration with other agencies performing similar or complementary functions. Joint projects can reduce costs and effort, foster a broader approach to appraisal, encourage networking and realise many other benefits.

    Agency actions:

    • begin to research and document the functions performed and relationships with agencies performing a similar or closely related function
    • research current disposal authorisation, see our Document Library 
    • submit a request outlining the justification for the scope of an existing RDA to be expanded upon to include your agency (if required, PROV will supply you with an appraisal mapping tool to document the request)
    • consider and explore the opportunity to work in collaboration with another agency(s).

    PROV actions:

    • provide guidance about existing disposal authorisation and opportunities for joint projects
    • expand scope of existing disposal authorisation (if applicable).


    Document Library

    STEP 2 - Determine the scope of the appraisal and disposal project

    Once the need for a new RDA has been established, you need to define and document the scope of the disposal project in the project scoping report. PROV can provide you with the report template.

    The report must cover the functions and key administrative responsibilities within project scope, possible records of continuing value and/or high risk business activities, project resourcing, relevant stakeholders and their interests in the records.

    Once developed by your agency and endorsed by PROV, the scoping report is submitted to the Public Record Advisory Council (PRAC) Appraisal Subcommittee for their review and advice on appraisal considerations and proposed stakeholder consultation. This process allows stakeholder views to be considered at the commencement of the appraisal process; issues (if any) and subsequent risks of delays in the RDA approval process can also be minimized.

    Generally the Appraisal Subcommittee aims to provide feedback via email within a fortnight post submission. Please note the Subcommittee may request a meeting with PROV and agency representatives to discuss the proposed project scope. PROV staff will advise you if the Subcommittee would like this to occur.

    You will also need to determine how the project will be resourced, ensuring that adequate resources are available to complete the project. Many agencies choose to procure a service provider to research and develop an RDA on their behalf, budget may be required. Alternatively experienced staff could be reallocated from operational tasks to focus on the RDA development.


    Agency actions:

    • start to consider and document appraisal issues such as the identification of key functions, legislative requirements, high risk business processes, the value of records over time, and your agency's intersects with similar and closely related functions and agencies of government
    • identify relevant stakeholders - i.e. persons and organisations (internal and external to government)  that rely on or have an interest in your records, this may include research interests and community groups
    • plan and possibly commence stakeholder engagement—recording all stakeholder details in the Stakeholder Engagement Template
    • determine resourcing
    • submit a scoping report to PROV for PRAC Appraisal Subcommittee review
    • incorporate feedback from the Appraisal Subcommittee on the intended scope and approach of the project and the proposed stakeholder consultation process.


    PROV actions:

    • provide scoping report template 
    • provide advice and feedback on project scope
    • endorse scoping report
    • submit project scoping report to PRAC
    • liaise with the PRAC Appraisal Subcommittee and share their feedback with you.



    Scoping Report for PRAC template (will be provided on request). See this example from the Emergency Services Functions RDA, which illustrates typical content that is required for the scoping report.

    RDA Development Guide 1 - Skills and resources

    RDA Development Guide 2 - Stakeholder consultation

    RDA Stakeholder Engagement Template

    STEP 3 - Develop the RDA

    This is the most intensive part of the process as it takes significant time and effort to comprehensively research and document functions, draft disposal classes and provide justification for appraisal decisions.

    Drafting is an iterative and collaborative process. Drafts are submitted to PROV through a web-based application, Online Retention and Disposal Application (ORDA), which is designed to support the online development, submission, issuing and ongoing management of RDAs.

    PROV will review the draft(s), and then provide feedback, proposed revisions and questions to you via the ORDA workflow. This process is repeated until the draft is acceptable to all parties.


    Agency actions:

    • document functions using ORDA
    • develop disposal classes and document appraisal justifications using ORDA 
    • align any permanent classes with the characteristics for State Archives outlined in the Appraisal Statement for Public Records required as State Archives
    • liaise with stakeholders to determine appropriate retention and document the results
    • liaise with PROV to discuss and review drafts
    • revise and resubmit as required.


    PROV actions:

    • register RDA in ORDA and provide log in details to agency 
    • review submitted drafts and provide feedback in ORDA
    • liaise with agency staff to discuss and review drafts.



    RDA Development Guide 3 - Drafting RDAs with rolled up classes

    Appraisal Statement for Public Records Required as State Archives Policy 

    ORDA Guides

    ADRI Glossary of Disposal Triggers

      STEP 4 - Undertake further consultation

      Once the draft has progressed to the point that it is acceptable to both PROV and the agency, a final round of stakeholder consultation is required. Consultation includes public and specialist consultation via the PROV website and with PRAC via the Appraisal Subcommittee.

      The draft RDA, along with a report summarising the background and appraisal issues, is published on the PROV website and promoted via PROV’s social media networks. You will be required to contact stakeholders to promote this consultation period.

      Feedback is gathered via PROV’s Agency Queries email account, usually for a four week period. Once the public consultation period is closed, the feedback is considered and any suggestions will be discussed with you and changes made to the draft RDA  (if required).

      The Appraisal Summary Report is then submitted to the Appraisal Subcommittee for endorsement (usually a two week period). Their feedback is considered, changes or further stakeholder may be required.

      Once the Appraisal Subcommittee has endorsed the Appraisal Summary Report, it is submitted to all PRAC members for a final opportunity for comment. If no further issues are raised at this point, the RDA is ready for final approval.


      Agency actions:

      • advise specialists and other stakeholders that consultation period is open
      • answer questions resulting from consultation
      • record stakeholders and feedback into the RDA Stakeholder Engagement Template
      • liaise with PROV if RDA editing, further research or consultation is required.


      PROV actions:

      • submit RDA for public consultation by publishing on PROV website and promote via networks
      • collate feedback and respond
      • liaise with agency if RDA editing, further research or consultation is required 
      • produce and submit Appraisal Summary Report to the Appraisal Subcommittee and to PRAC
      • liaise between agency and PRAC. 



      RDA Development Guide 2 - Stakeholder consultation

      Appraisal Summary Report. See this example from the Emergency Services Functions RDA, which illustrates typical content that is required for the appraisal summary report.

      RDA Stakeholder Engagement Template

      STEP 5 - RDA is approved and issued

      Upon completion of the final consultation and PRAC endorsement the draft RDA is ready for agency concurrence (if applicable) and Keeper’s approval.

      (If the RDA is applicable to a single or a small number of agencies you may be asked to arrange for the head of your agency to sign the RDA to signify formal concurrence prior to submission to the Keeper of Public Records. Please note this step does not usually occur for broader functional based RDAs which are applicable to multiple agencies.)

      PROV staff submit the RDA to the Keeper of Public Records, who approves and upon signing, issues the RDA as a Standard under the Act. The RDA then applies from the date of issue and is published on the PROV website in our Document Library of Standards, Policies and Retention and Disposal Authorities. 

      Once the RDA is approved records may then be disposed of in accordance with its provisions without further approval from the Keeper of Public Records. Records specified for permanent retention as State Archives may be transferred to PROV in accordance with the PROV transfer program.


      Agency actions:

      • arrange for the Head of Agency to endorse the RDA (if applicable).


      PROV actions:

      • present RDA to the Keeper of Public Records for signature 
      • issue the RDA
      • promote the new RDA including publication on the PROV website in the Document Library and promotion via social media networks. 


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