Corporate Policy Statement

ACNC staff are permitted under law to use a concept known as Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) to delete or destroy certain low-value, duplicated, reference copy, or short-term information once the business use has ceased and where there is a low level of risk.

Individual staff, contractors, and outsourced providers are responsible for the decisions they make about what low-value business information can be destroyed using NAP and when it can be destroyed. As staff are personally responsible for ensuring that they apply the NAP policy and processes appropriately they must take note of when NAP can and cannot be used.

Principle 1: Normal Administrative Practice will only be used for certain types of information

Principle 2: ACNC staff will use this policy to decide when NAP can be used to destroy information

Principle 3: the ACNC will follow the NAA NAP Exceptions list to ensure only appropriate records are destroyed using NAP

Context

  1. The purpose of this policy is to clarify what information may be routinely destroyed in the course of normal ACNC business under NAP.

Overview - Normal Administrative Practice

  1. Section 24 of the Archives Act 1983 (Cth) (Archives Act) provides that Commonwealth records can only be deleted or destroyed:
  • with the permission of the National Archives of Australia (NAA), for example, in accordance with the requirements of a records authority
  • as required by any law, for example, in accordance with the requirements of the Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990 (Cth) (Data Matching Act), or
  • in accordance with a NAP.
  1. While records authorities are the primary tool for disposing of Commonwealth records, NAP allows staff to routinely delete or destroy low-value information and records which are not needed as evidence of the agency’s business and do not form part of its corporate record.
  1. NAP is only used for information and records of a short-term, facilitative, or transitory nature that help an action or a process move forward in a specific period of time, but do not in themselves have any long-term value and are not needed to understand the action or process.

Scope

  1. NAP is only used for information and records of a short-term, facilitative, or transitory nature that help an action or a process move forward in a specific period of time, but do not in themselves have any long-term value and are not needed to understand the action or process. The concept of NAP applies to certain low-value business information including documents, email, voice messages, audio-visual materials, and data in business systems (for example, websites, social media applications, databases).
  1. The ACNC's NAP policy and operational procedure apply to all ACNC staff and contractors and all formats of information. NAP processes used by the ACNC do not require the NAA’s approval. However, staff must cease any practice that the NAA has given the agency notice it disapproves of.
  1. NAP cannot be used to destroy information created or received as part of ACNC business that is or may be required:
  • for regulatory or accountability purposes
  • for the ongoing efficient administration of agency business
  • for future reference
  • to protect rights and entitlements of individuals, groups, or the Government
  • because of its cultural or historical value, or
  • to meet community expectations.

This type of information is used to meet business needs and is, or should be, covered by a records authority. Information that is covered by a records authority must be kept or destroyed in accordance with the requirements of the records authority.

  1. NAP also cannot be used:
  • when NAP Exceptions apply
  • when an official Records Disposal Freeze or Records Retention Notice for the information is in force, and/or
  • to destroy information where there is a gap in records authority coverage.
  1. This document contains guidance and basic examples of what can be destroyed under NAP. Operation Procedure: 2014/06 Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) for disposing of low value records provides detailed information about NAP.
  1. The ATO has its own NAP Policy. ACNC staff who work with ATO records will manage them in accordance with the ATO’s policies.

Definitions

  1. The following terms are used throughout this document and any reference to them should be read with the following meaning:
  • disposal (records disposal) - the destruction, transfer of custody or ownership, or damage or alteration of records.
  • disposal freeze - a device used to suspend the NAA’s permission to destroyrecords, similar to a records retention notice.
  • NAA - National Archives of Australia.
  • NAP - Normal Administrative Practice.
  • NAP Exceptions - information and records that are expressly excluded from being destroyed under NAP.
  • records authorities - legal instruments that define the retention requirements for Commonwealth records, they are used to determine the minimum retention period and subsequent action to destroy or transfer custody of records.
  • records disposal freeze / retention notice - a mechanism used by the NAA to prevent the destruction of records relating to nominated controversial or prominent issues, or judicial proceedings. The NAA issues a statement that describes the issue and suspends its permission to destroy related records. The statement overrides existing records authorities and prohibits the destruction of records related to certain events or circumstances until the freeze is lifted or the notice withdrawn.
  • records retention notice - a device used to suspend the NAA’s permission to destroy records, similar to disposal freezes.

Principles

Principle 1: Normal Administrative Practice will only be used for certain types of information

  1. Records considered for destruction using NAP can be arranged into five broad groups.

Facilitative, transitory, or short-term items
This includes general appointment diaries and calendars (but not those used to record important matters such as interagency meetings or belonging to Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners), blank ‘with compliments’ slips, circulation copies of agency material (but not master copies), unsolicited letters offering goods or services, email that has been captured in business or record-keeping systems, messages from email chains where the final email has been captured into a records management system, and spam email.

Rough working papers or calculations
Routine or rough calculations, including documents that have been incorporated into correspondence or a separate final document.

Drafts not intended for further use or reference
Drafts of paper or electronic reports, correspondence, addresses, speeches, planning documents that do not contain significant or substantial changes or annotations, only minor edits for grammar or spelling.

Copies of material retained for reference purposes only
Printouts or duplicates of agency procedures, manuals, guidelines, plans other than master or authorised copies.

Published material which does not form an integral part of the agency’s record
This includes promotional and advertising material received by the agency that is not directly connected to the ACNC's core business activities.

  1. The ACNC's NAP policy allows preliminary research and drafts of some documents to be destroyed, but not others. If the documents show a change in direction, then the ACNC will retain early drafts to show this change and the reasons for it. If documents are simple work-in-progress drafts or have minor edits to fix spelling or change formatting, the ACNC is permitted to destroy them under NAP.
  1. ACNC staff will refer to the above list when considering if a record can be disposed of using NAP.

Principle 2: ACNC Staff will use this policy to decide when NAP can be used to destroy information

  1. Any decision to destroy a record as NAP will be made after considering the context of the business activity that it supports.
  1. ACNC staff will consider the following questions before disposing of records:
  • Is the retention or disposal of the record covered by any law or records authority? If not, is the record:
    • needed to clarify, support or give context to an existing record?
    • needed to show how the agency business was carried out?
    • needed to show how a decision was made?
    • needed because it indicates who made the decision or gave the advice?
    • needed to show when or where an event happened?
    • needed because it contains information on the rights or obligations of government or private individuals?
    • a formal draft of a Cabinet submission?
    • a draft of an agreement or legal document?
    • likely to form part of a record that will be needed to support legal proceedings?
    • subject to a NAP exception, official records disposal freeze, or records retention notice?
  1. If the answer to each of these questions is no, then ACNC staff will consider destroying the record as NAP. If the answer to any question is yes, the ACNC will retain the record until its disposal can be actioned under an appropriate records authority or law.
  1. Where an ACNC staff member is unable to answer any one of these questions, the information will be retained.

Principle 3: the ACNC will follow the NAA NAP Exceptions list to ensure only appropriate records are destroyed using NAP

  1. The following information will not be destroyed under NAP, as it falls under the NAA’s NAP Exceptions:
    • Information that is required to be kept by law (including in keeping with a records authority, records retention notice, or records disposal freeze).
    • Information that is required to be kept under an agency policy, procedure, or guideline.
    • Information that is a draft of an agreement or other legal document.
    • Information that is needed to document a significant issue.
    • Information that is needed to clarify, support, or give context to an existing record. Information that is needed because it indicates who made the decision or gave the advice.
    • Information that is needed to show how a decision was made.
    • Information that is likely to be required as evidence in current or future legal proceedings.
    • Information that is a draft of a Cabinet or ministerial submission.
    • Information that is needed to show when or where an event happened.
    • Information that is needed because it contains information on the rights, privileges, or obligations of government, organisations, or private individuals.
    • Information that is a draft or working paper that contains decisions, reasons, actions and/or significant or substantial information where this information is not contained in later documents or the document remains unfinished.
    • Research working papers.
    • Standards and guidelines working papers.
    • System logs which are used to show a history of access or change to data (for example, system access logs, internet access logs, system change logs and audit trails).
    • Records documenting the migration of records between electronic systems and from one electronic medium to another. Includes strategies for the migration and quality assurance checks to confirm accuracy of the migration process.

    Responsibilities

    1. This section defines the responsibilities of all ACNC employees to ensure that business information is appropriately destroyed under NAP:
    1. All staff and contractors will:
    • be familiar with the ACNC’s NAP policy and Operational Procedure
    • understand their personal obligations and responsibilities when using NAP
    • only destroy information that clearly meets the NAP policy criteria when it is no longer required for business purposes
    • ensure that where information is identified for destruction under NAP, the method of destruction employed is appropriate to the security classification of the content, and
    • seek guidance if there is any uncertainty over the use of NAP.
    1. The additional responsibilities of ACNC managers and supervisors, contract and MOU managers, IT staff, business system owners, and the Chief Information Governance Officer are described in the NAP Operational Procedure, 2014/06.

    References

    APS legislative framework and policies

    ACNC policies and procedures

    • ACNC Operational Procedure: 2014/06 Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) for disposing of low-value records
    • Information Governance Framework (to be developed)
    • Information Management Policy (to be developed)
    • Privacy Framework

    ATO policies and procedures

    • ATO NAP policy, available via myATO, search for "NAP".

    Version Control

    VersionDate of effectBrief summary of change
    Version 1 - Initial policy01/06/2019Initial policy to accompany the ACNC's Operating Procedure for NAP: 2014/06.