Agencies are registered during development of a Records Disposal Schedule (RDS) or when transferring permanent records, in order to:

  • document who created or maintained the records (agency recording), and who is now responsible for the records (agency responsible)
  • enable the loan of records by linking them to the agencies that are responsible for them
  • provide a greater understanding of records by establishing the organisational context in which the records were created
  • assist researchers to interpret the context and significance of the records to their research.

Before we register a new agency we search the ArchivesSearch catalogue to see whether the agency has already been registered.

We allocate a Government Agency (GA) number when we register an agency.

If you need an agency to be registered

If you need an agency to be registered you need to provide us with as much information about the agency including:

  • when the agency was established, and abolished (if not a current agency)
  • legislation that established the agency or which was administered by the agency
  • functions carried out by the agency
  • whether another agency performed the same function before or after this agency
  • relationships to other agencies, including any reporting relationships that may exist
  • people or events of significance in the life of the agency
  • location of the agency, if it is of significance to the function of the agency.

It is especially important to be able to document the sources used to document the agency history, which may include legislation, annual reports, government gazettes, published materials, or even the records themselves.

When the agency is registered in the archival database, a Government Agency (GA) number will be issued.

If you are unsure about whether an agency should be registered, contact the Archive Team.

What is an agency?

An agency is a distinct and recognisable body, which has responsibility for carrying out administrative functions and usually:

  • an identifiable head with decision-making authority
  • a legal instrument or some form of delegated authority which establishes its basis for existence and sets out its functions; and
  • its own recordkeeping system.

State Records registers many types of agencies including:

  • State Government departments and units
  • public schools, gaols, police stations etc
  • statutory bodies, created by an Act of Parliament
  • local councils
  • Ministers' offices
  • courts and tribunals
  • the Governor
  • other bodies established for a public purpose.

Agencies and administrative change

When an agency changes its name, it does not necessarily mean that it needs to be registered as a completely new agency.

When a name change or administrative change occurs, contact the Archive team.

Relationships between agencies and series

To understand what records were created by an agency we link series to the agency recording.

Inventory of series - We show all of the series of records we hold that were created by an agency

Relationships between different agencies

We also document relationships between agencies.

Superior Agencies - If a registered agency was a business unit of another registered agency we can show the parent agency which was its superior

Subordinate Agencies - If we have registered the business units of an agency we can show the units which were subordinate 

Related Agencies - There may be other significant relationships between registered agencies that we want to document

The series system

The series system is an Australian method of describing records and the agency contexts in which they were created and managed over time (Describing Archives in Context: A guide to Australasian practice, p2).

This ensures that archives can be understood in their administrative context, and also provides a means by which an archive can track records.