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1. Introduction

Appraisal is the analysis of an organisation’s business context, business activities and risks, to determine:

  • what information and records to create

  • what information and records are high-risk, high value, or both

  • how long an organisation must manage information and records for to meet business and community needs and expectations.

Under section 17 of the Public Records Act 2005 (PRA), public offices and local authorities must create and maintain full and accurate records of their business activities. When an organisation appraises the purpose and value of its business activities, the organisation can define its key information and records requirements. This enables an organisation to meet its statutory obligations and support its business needs.

2. Benefits of doing appraisal

Appraisal is an essential part of effective information and records management. Along with regular, authorised disposal, it supports normal prudent business practice. The reasons for doing appraisal may vary, but will directly influence the scope of analysis. These can include:

  • an organisation losing or gaining business functions, business activities, or both changes to the regulatory environment

  • the introduction of new systems or system upgrades

  • changing perceptions of risk or priorities.

The benefits of appraisal may include:

  • making efficient use of resources –information and records are not stored for longer than necessary, or migrated when they could be destroyed

  • maximising discovery – information and records that are high risk, high value, or both, are identified and managed for immediate and ongoing business needs

  • saving time – information and records are easier to locate and retrieve, and to use, reuse and share

  • enabling public accountability – organisations are accountable for their actions and decisions because information and records are kept for the appropriate length of time

  • complying with the law – organisations manage the disposal of information and records in line with the Act and other relevant legislation

  • preserving New Zealand’s historical and cultural heritage.

3. Uses for the appraisal results

The appraisal results have a range of uses, such as:

  • developing policies and procedures for creating and managing information and records

  • designing and implementing information and records systems incorporating information and records requirements in new or redesigned work processes or systems

  • defining metadata requirements

  • developing disposal authorities, access settings and permissions rules

  • identifying information and records requirements as part of a migration strategy.