Queensland: State Archives and Crimes and Corruption Commission Join Forces

Get ready Local Government Queensland. The Queensland State Archivist has partnered with the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) to develop a joint Guideline for the Local Government Sector*.

The new Guidelines relate to the management of Public Records and it introduces some significant changes. The Guidelines contain 3 Requirements for the management of Council records. These recordkeeping requirements are further supported by the Local Government Act 2009 (LGA), and the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (CCA) and the Public Records Act 2002 (PRA).

These new Guidelines represent a dramatic shift for Local Government. The State Archivist has always had the power to investigate breaches however they have been joined by the CCC. It is clear that the CCC’s jurisdiction has been extended into the realm of Public Records Management.

Overview of 3 Recordkeeping Requirements

Requirement 1 – Council employees, mayors and councillors are aware of and fulfil their recordkeeping obligations under the PRA.

Councils have a responsibility for their recordkeeping obligations under the PRA and LGA. Inadequate management of public records can now constitute ‘corruption’, which can result in dismissal and/or civil action against individuals and organisations involved.

Note that individuals can now be charged with Criminal Offences. They can also be charged civilly, which exposes their own home and assets.

Requirement 2 – (Part A) employees, mayors and councillors must make full and accurate public records.

Under the PRA, responsibility for recordkeeping in local government rested with the Council’s CEO. However, the recordkeeping responsibilities outlined in the PRA have been extended to include anyone who creates or receives public records, including council employees, the mayor and councillors.

Requirement 2 – (Part B) Management of records in email, text or app-based communications

Emerging technologies provide opportunities to conduct business more efficiently. Regardless of format, communication by councillors, the mayor or Council employees about the administration of business, are public records that must be both documented and captured.

This includes messages sent and received via email, text messages, social media posts (and related comments) on channels such as Facebook or Twitter. It includes chats or direct messages through messaging apps such as Facebook and Messenger.

Note: Using Private Email and Social Media Accounts to do Council business can been seen as “Corrupt Conduct”.

Requirement 3 – Public Records must be retained for as long as they are lawfully required to be kept

The Local Government Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule and the General Retention and Disposal Schedule establish the retention requirements for Public Records.

Examples of Records that must be retained permanently include:

  • a master set of council and committee meeting minutes and agendas
  • diaries of mayors
  • a speech made by a mayor or councillor on an occasion of historical significance

Examples of Records that are only required to be retained temporarily include:

  • audio recordings of council meetings (once the minutes are confirmed)
  • mayor or councillor representation on external committees

In summary, these new requirements represent a major change in the records management landscape across Queensland. All eDRMS Professionals are advised to update and protect themselves and their organisations.

More details about these important recordkeeping and records management changes can be found at:
http://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/corruption-prevention/council-records-a-guideline-for-mayors-councillors-ceos-and-council-employees

*The Guideline is called – Council Records: A guideline for mayors, councillors and council employees.

END
Recordkeeping Investigations Story