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Records Management - Physical Records Storage Procedure

Section 1 - Summary

(1) Under the Public Records Act 1973, Victoria University is considered a public office and must comply with the standards set by the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). The PROV standards around disposal, known as Retention and Disposal Authorities (RDAs), provide authorisation for Victoria University to dispose of records once the minimum retention periods have been met. Until minimum retention periods have been met, it is the responsibility of the head of each business area to ensure the records created are safely and securely stored, and that storage areas meet health and safety requirements. Records and Archives Services can provide advice and assist in assessing storage locations.

(2) Information about how to dispose of records, including how long different records need to be kept, can be found in the Records Management - Disposal of Records Procedure.

(3) This Procedure outlines how records should be stored based on the status of the record, if it still needs to be accessed regularly, and how long it needs to be retained. It is important that records are stored appropriately and not just placed anywhere there is room. As far as reasonably practicable, records need to be protected from environmental hazards, including vermin, fire, damp and flooding. All VU storage areas must be inspected and assessed at least annually to ensure they meet the requirements listed in these Procedures.

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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(4) HESF: Standard 7.3 Information Management.

(5) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Cth): Standards 6 and 8 and Schedule 5.

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Section 3 - Scope

(6) This Procedure applies to:

  1. physical records only. This Procedure does not apply to storage of electronic records in University systems;
  2. records identified as having temporary value only, as permanent records are to be transferred to the University Archives when no longer required for business use. See the Records Management - Disposal of Records Procedure for more information about transferring permanent records to the Archives.
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Section 4 - Definitions

(7) Nil.

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(8) See Records Management Policy.

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Records and Archives Services 
a. Responsible for monitoring overall (University wide) compliance with records management legislation, policies and procedures.
b. Responsible for training staff in records management.
c. Assisting departments and colleges to implement good recordkeeping practices.
d. Maintaining VU's permanent records in the University Archives.
Responsible for monitoring compliance with records management legislation, policies and procedures within their organizational areas.
Manager, Records and Archives Services
Responsible for establishing the framework for records management at VU, including university wide policies, procedures and systems for managing records.

Part B - Storage in Office Areas

(9) Records stored in office areas should primarily be those still required for ongoing use by the area. Only records or files in active use should be kept on staff desks. To prevent unauthorised access to records in active use, staff must ensure that they are safely stored away at the end of their work day. All other records in office areas should be stored securely in filing cabinets, drawers, cupboards or shelves. In general, records are stored in office areas because ongoing access to them is required.

(10) Student Records should not be stored by colleges or departments, but should be sent to Student Records Management within Records and Archives Services for filing as soon as they have been actioned. A list of documents that are kept on the central student record, and instructions for sending them to Student Records Management, can be found on the Student Records intranet page.

(11) Determine a logical order to keep the records, to assist with retrieval. Examples of ways to order records include:

  1. Staff or student surname, then first name
  2. Student number
  3. Case number
  4. File number
  5. Course or subject code

(12) Assess the records for personal, private or confidential information, and determine who requires access to them.

  1. Records often contain personal, private or confidential information and should not be accessed by all staff or left in open areas. In these cases, it may be necessary to separate these records and store them securely, for example, in a locked filing cabinet rather than on open shelves.
  2. Ensure staff who require access to these records have access. This may take the form of providing appropriate staff with keys, or designating one staff member to provide access to others as required.

(13) Track records as they are used, to ensure you know who has accessed them, and where they are. The easiest way to do this is to register the records on RecFind, the University's records management system.

  1. Whenever a record is moved, use the "move" function in RecFind to update the location.
  2. Records should either be located with an individual (using the "move to person" function in RecFind) or else located in a storage area (using the "move to space" function in RecFind).

(14) Determine when the records are no longer required for ongoing, regular access.

  1. Records should continue to be stored in office areas until they are not required for ongoing access (for example, at the end of a semester, or a financial year).
  2. Records should be assessed for access requirements once a year, as there are many records which do not need to be available for ongoing reference. Some areas may wish to base this on calendar year, others may choose end of financial year or end of teaching time.