State Records Act 1997 - An Introduction

The State Records Act 1997 sets out the requirements and responsibilities of agencies in the management of official records.

The term 'agency' includes all South Australian state government agencies (including ministerial offices), local government authorities and universities.

The State Records Act includes the following Objects:

(a) to establish the office of State Records

(b) to ensure that official records of enduring evidential or informational value are preserved for future reference; and

(c) to promote the observance of best practices by agencies in their management of official records; and

(d) to ensure that each agency is afforded prompt and efficient access to official records in the custody of State Records for which the agency is responsible; and

(e) to ensure that members of the public have ready access to official records in the custody of State Records subject only to exceptions or restrictions that

(i) would be authorised under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 or Part 5A of the Local Government Act 1934; and

(ii) are required— 

• for protection of the right to privacy of private individuals or on other grounds that have continued relevance despite the passage of time since the records came into existence; or 
• for the preservation of the records or necessary administrative purposes. 

State Records has a wide range of mandated responsibilities under the State Records Act, including:

  • being the 'principal repository for official records that are no longer required for current administrative purposes'
  • preserving official records of enduring value regardless of format to ensure their security, integrity and authenticity
  • providing public and agency access to official records in the custody of State Records
  • providing information and records management advice and assistance to agencies
  • issuing standards and promoting the observance of information and records management best practice by agencies

The Information Strategy 2019-2022 and the Information Management Standard set the overarching direction for the management of information. 

A wide range of policies are in place to support agencies meet their responsibilities.

Agencies and the State Records Act 

To meet their responsibilities under the State Records Act 1997 agencies must ensure official records in their custody are:

  •  maintained in good order and condition
  •  not destroyed without appropriate authority

To achieve these requirements, agencies need to have a governance model in place that includes:

  • an information management plan
  • defined resources, roles and responsibilities
  • policy and procedures
  • risk and value assessments
  • disposal determinations
  • complaint systems
  • information asset audits
  • security and privacy protections
  • self assessment and reporting
  • access and discovery schemes

State Records has developed policies to support agencies meet their responsibilities under the State Records Act.