Archives and Records Management
Guidelines on the retention and disposal of school records.
You are required to keep some records. The retention of many records, however, is optional, although in many cases highly recommended.
Certain records are retained or archived to meet legal and fiscal requirements or future administrative needs, or because of historical significance.
The retention period for some records is determined by legal or system requirements. For other records retention periods are determined by practice, precedent or accountability.
A document retention schedule should consider:
- The types of records to be kept
- The length of time for which the records should be kept
- Suggested methods of disposal and destruction of records.
Matters to consider:
- Records created and stored in digital formats are available for the specified period of retention
- Appropriateness of destroying records
You may encounter difficulties in cases of litigation if important and relevant records have been unnecessarily destroyed.
The Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) makes it a criminal offence to knowingly destroy or conceal or authorise or permit another person to destroy or conceal a document or thing that is, or is reasonably likely to be, required as evidence in a legal proceeding. “Reasonably likely” is not an expression that is defined. It could include where there is a litigious history or student/employee complaints. Each situation would need to be looked on its own facts. Destruction also includes rendering illegible, making undecipherable or otherwise making incapable of identification. Contravention of the Act is a criminal offence. Courts can award a penalty of 5 years imprisonment or a fine up to $62,886 for individuals and a fine up to $314,430 for corporations.
- Vic DET: School Policy and Advisory Guide – Archives and Records Management (Note: This resource is useful but not all advice is relevant to Independent schools)
- ‘Records Retention for Non-Government Schools’ is available for purchase from the Australian Society of Archivists
- Public Record Office of Victoria: General Disposal Schedule for School Records