National Archives of Australia, 2013
The National Archives of Australia (the Archives) is an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
As required by s 8(1) of the FOI Act, this Agency Plan describes how the Archives complies with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) established by the FOI Act.
The Archives recognises that public sector information is a national resource managed for public purposes.
The purpose of this Agency Plan is to:
The objectives of this Plan are to outline how the Archives:
The Archives' Strategic Planning and Governance Section (SPG) section maintains the Archives' compliance with the IPS. The Assistant Director-General, Executive and Information Services Branch, has overall responsibility.
SPG liaises with all Archives branches to:
Members of the public may contact the Archives' FOI contact officer with comments on the IPS information holdings, particularly where documents are found not to be discoverable, understandable or machine-readable.
The Archives arranges for IPS documents which are not available on the Archives' website to be made available upon request.
The Archives may charge a person for accessing any IPS document which it is impracticable to publish online:
The Archives' IPS information holdings are published on the Archives' website under the following headings:
Under Subsection 8(2) of the FOI Act, the Archives has established the IPS, promoting a pro-disclosure culture across the agency.
In accordance with the FOI Act, the page contains information about the Archives that has been published under the scheme. In promoting the culture and recognising that public sector information should be treated as a resource the information provided seeks to assist the public to have a better understanding of how the Archives administers its program and makes decisions.
The Archives was established under the Archives Act 1983 (Cth) (Archives Act). It is a budget-funded agency within the Office for the Arts portfolio, and is an Executive Agency under Section 65 of the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth).
The head of the Archives is the Director-General, a statutory position created under Section 7 of the Archives Act. The Director-General is appointed by the responsible Minister, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC. Section 10 of the Archives Act establishes the Archives' Advisory Council. The Council has up to 13 members, including a Senator chosen by the Senate, a member of the House of Representatives chosen by the House, and 11 other members appointed by the Minister.
In accordance with the objects of the Archives Act, our mission is to identify the archival resources of the Commonwealth; preserve and make publically available the archival resources of the Commonwealth; oversee Commonwealth record-keeping by determining standards and providing advice to Commonwealth institutions; and to impose record-keeping obligations in respect of Commonwealth records.
The roles and responsibilities of the Archives are set out in the Archives Act. In that context, the Archives are funded by the Australian Government to achieve one outcome:
To promote the creation, management and preservation of authentic, reliable and usable Commonwealth records and to facilitate Australians’ access to the archival resources of the Commonwealth.
The Archives aims to achieve the intended results of its outcome via the following strategies.
The Government Information Assurance and Policy Branch, is responsible for activities associated with delivering Outcome 1, including providing advice and practical assistance to agencies in records and information management, particularly promoting integrated digital management of information, and implementing the disposal provisions of the Archives Act. Australian Government agencies face challenges in managing records in a rapidly changing digital information environment. With increased demands for openness and new ways of creating, storing and accessing information, the Archives assists agencies to build their digital records and information management capability and better equip them to meet their obligations under the Archives Act in appropriate, contemporary and cost-effective ways.
The Collection Management Branch is responsible for activities associated with delivering Outcome 1, including arranging transfer of archival records from agencies, documenting, describing, indexing and storing these records, as well as preserving and conserving records at risk of deterioration. The Archives protects records of national archival value by transferring them from agencies to appropriate custody for secure storage and preservation to support continued use by the government and the public. The Archives also preserves records at risk of significant deterioration, prioritising those most likely to be affected within the next five years.
The Access and Communication Branch is responsible for activities associated with delivering Outcome 1, including research facilities, websites, exhibitions, programs and events that help the public access, research and interpret the records held by the Archives. The Archives provides access to, promotes, interprets and communicates the national archive. It provides timely and appropriate access through the national reference service and the national network of reading rooms. The national archive will also be accessed through the Archives’ websites and the National Digitisation Service making the national archives more accessible by increasing the on-line records pages on the Archives’ website. The Archives also fosters engagement with Australians to assist them to learn about their heritage and democracy, and the role of the Archives.
Our Outcome is supported by the Executive and Information Services Branch and the Corporate Services Branch to ensure the Archives has effective governance and financial management frameworks in place to ensure the financial sustainability of the agency and consistently display organisational excellence. The organisational chart provides additional information about the Archives structure.
Details of the resources available to the Archives through Government funding can be obtained from the Portfolio Budget Statements. The Archives reports on its achievements in its Annual Report. Plans and priorities for the future are outlined in the Archives' Corporate Plan.
Section 5 of the Archives Act provides that the Archives' functions include:
Under Sections 5 and 6 of the Archives Act, the Archives has decision making powers that can potentially affect members of the public in relation to the following matters:
The following documents provide useful background information about the Archives generally, and the framework within which access to records is managed:
The following policies and procedures that are used by the Archives:
The Archives prepares an Annual Report for the Minister who tables the Annual Report in Parliament.
On 3 December 1998 the Senate adopted a recommendation of the Finance and Public Administration References Committee that varied the tabling requirements under the Senate Continuing Order No. 5 (the Harradine motion). Under the varied Order, agencies are now required to publish lists of files created, at half yearly intervals.
Through its disclosure log, the Archives publishes information contained in documents that has been provided under the FOI Act.
The FOI Act requires agencies to report whenever an agency administers or establishes a public consultation arrangement in the course of developing a specific policy proposal, including how and to whom a comment may be submitted by members of the public.
Separately from the above requirements of the FOI Act, the Archives engages with stakeholders on a regular basis.
The Archives holds consultative forums in each state and territory.
The Archives also engages specifically with Indigenous stakeholders.
Under the FOI Act, agencies are encouraged to publish more than just the required categories of information. Therefore, consistent with advice from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Archives also publishes:
Routine reporting of the following information is a requirement of the government:
In addition, the Archives publish fact sheets which outline many of the Archives' policies, standards and services.
Some Archives documents are impracticable to publish online, such as pre-1999 Annual Reports.
A person seeking access to any of these, or other documents not discussed above, may contact the Archives' FOI contact officer to arrange access.
Charges may be imposed for making that information available. Charges will be consistent with charges in the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982 (which generally apply to access requests under Part III of the FOI Act).
For copies of records accessed under the Archives Act please see Copying Charges.
If you would like to contact us about anything related to the Information Publication Scheme, contact details are below:
National Archives of Australia
PO Box 4924
Kingston ACT 2604
Tel: +61 2 6212 3498