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Department of Corporate and Information Services



The purpose of the Records Management Standards for Public Sector Organisations in the Northern Territory (NT) is to provide policy advice at a whole-of-jurisdiction level. Public sector organisations, as defined in the Information Act, must follow the standards to comply with good governance principles and the legislative requirements of the Act.

A public sector organisation is defined in the Act as any of the following:

  • an agency
  • a Government Business Division
  • a government-owned corporation
  • a local authority
  • a statutory corporation
  • a person appointed, or body established, by or under an Act or by the Administrator or by a minister
  • the Police Force of the Northern Territory
  • a person holding an office or position under an Act
  • a court of the Territory
  • a tribunal of the Territory
  • a person or body declared by the Regulations to be a public sector organisation. (1)

An objective of the Act is to promote efficient and accountable government through appropriate records and archives management by public sector organisations. (2) To accomplish this the Act further states that NT public sector organisations must keep full and accurate records of their activities and operations. (3)

The Act also provides members of the public with statutory rights of access to information created, received and maintained by NT public sector organisations (freedom of information). In addition, during the normal course of conducting their business, NT public sector organisations also collect personal information relating to individuals and this information needs to be protected and managed with due regard to the Information Privacy Principles in the Act.

Efficient records management enables the sharing and transmission of business information over time and space. It uses tools such as electronic document and records management systems, metadata and classification schemes to manage records and their links to the business context in which they were created. It also uses records disposal schedules to determine for how long records are to be retained in accordance with business requirements, the regulatory environment in which business is conducted, and broader community expectations.

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These standards are issued in accordance with Part 9 of the Information Act. This is the legislative framework from which the standards are derived and provides the authority for NT public sector organisations to implement the policy advice contained herein.

The NT Information Commissioner has endorsed the standards.

The Minister for Business has approved the standards via NT Government Gazette No. G31 of 4 August 2010. The standards take effect from this date.


In accordance with ss 131(1) and (2) of the Act, the chief executive officer of an NT public sector organisation is responsible for ensuring the organisation complies with Part 9 of the Act. This includes ensuring that the organisation's annual report includes a statement about compliance.

It is vital that the culture of the organisation reinforces the value and importance of good record keeping and that it is something that is a standard expectation of all staff. Such expectations need to be regularly articulated by the chief executive officer through line management channels. (4)

Section 134 of the Act outlines the responsibility of public sector organisations:

  • A public sector organisation must:
    • keep full and accurate records of its activities and operations
    • implement the practices and procedures for managing its records necessary for compliance with the standards applicable to the organisation
    • make arrangements for the records service and archives service to monitor the management of its record.

Consequently, all staff of NT public sector organisations are responsible for ensuring that adequate records of the business they conduct on behalf of the organisation are identified and captured for proper management into the approved corporate records management system as soon as possible after creation or receipt of the record.

The legislation also states the records service and the archives service must provide advice and training to assist public sector organisations to comply with Part 9 of the Act. The Records Management Standards for Public Sector Organisations in the NT, as well as other advice and guidelines produced by the respective services, assist organisations to fulfil their business and governance requirements with respect to managing records.

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Review of the standards and previous standards

In accordance with s 139 of the Act, these standards are to be reviewed at least once every three years.

These standards were issued following a review of the previous records management standards for the NT Government issued in October 2003. Consequently, the following standards have been superseded and no longer apply to NT public sector organisations:

  • Using the Records Management Standards
  • Planning and Implementing Records Management
  • Identifying and Capturing Records
  • Classifying and Titling Records
  • Records Security and Access
  • Records Disposal.

Basis for these standards

These standards are issued pursuant to ss 137 and 138 of the Information Act.

The standards are based on the principles and guidelines in Australian Standard AS ISO 15489:2002 – Records Management.

Other national and international standards that have been consulted in the development of these standards are:

  • AS/NZS 4360: 2004 – Risk management
  • AS 5037: 2005 – Knowledge management – a guide
  • AS 5090: 2003 – Work process analysis for recordkeeping
  • AS ISO 15801: 2006 – Electronic imaging – information stored electronically – recommendations for trustworthiness and reliability
  • AS/NZS ISO/IEC 17799:2001 – Information technology – code of practice for information security management
  • AS ISO 18492: 2006 – Long-term preservation of electronic document-based information
  • AS ISO 22310: 2006 – Information and documentation – guidelines for standards drafters for stating records management requirements in standards
  • AS ISO 23081.1: 2006 – Information and documentation – records management processes – metadata for records, Part 1: Principles
  • AS/NZS ISO 23081.2: 2007 – Information and documentation - records management processes – metadata for records, Part 2: Conceptual and implementation issues
  • HB 171: 2003 – Guidelines for the management of IT evidence
  • International Council on Archives, Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments, 2008.

Records and information standards from other Australian jurisdictions that have influenced the development of these standards are:

  • Information Standard IS40: Recordkeeping, Queensland State Archives, 2009
  • Adequate Records Management Standard, State Records of South Australia, 2008
  • Standard No.7: Standard on Full and Accurate Records, State Records NSW, 2004.

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Other legislation affecting records management

As well as the Information Act, other NT legislation that may affect records management in public sector organisations includes:

  • Audit Act
  • Criminal Code Act
  • Electronic Transactions (Northern Territory) Act
  • Evidence Act
  • Evidence (Business Records) Interim Arrangements Act
  • Financial Management Act
  • Inquiries Act
  • Limitation Act
  • Local Government Act
  • Procurement Act
  • Public Sector Employment and Management Act
  • Surveillance Devices Act
  • other legislation and industry regulations relevant to the unique functions and operations of each public sector organisation.

Other documents and publications consulted

Other documents and publications consulted during the development of these standards are:

  • NT Public Sector Principles and Code of Conduct
  • Australian Government Protective Security Manual, August 2005
  • NT Government ICT Policy, End User ICT Services, May 2009
  • NT Government ICT Strategic Intent (2010-2015), June 2009
  • NT Government Application Strategy (2010-2015), June 2009
  • NT Government Archives Management Standards
  • Information Act Guideline – Locating and Collating Records, Office of the Information Commissioner, January 2007
  • Information Act Guideline – Sufficiency of Search, Office of the Information Commissioner, January 2009.


The Records Policy Unit, Department of Corporate and Information Services, would like to thank staff from the following Northern Territory public sector organisations for their assistance in developing these standards:

  • Office of the Information Commissioner
  • NT Archives Service
  • PowerWater Corporation
  • Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Darwin City Council
  • CouncilBIZ.


  1. Information Act, s 5(1)
  2. <Information Act, s 3(1)(d)
  3. Information Act, s 134(a)
  4. Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments, Module 1 - Overview and Statement of Principles, International Council on Archives (2008), 4. Implementation issues, p 13

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