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One of our focus areas over the last few years has been to develop a work programme ensuring that our regulatory approach is fit for purpose in an increasingly digital environment. In 2018 we shared some of our initial thinking about what this might look like through our engagement on the Regulatory Programme. Findings from this engagement supported looking at improving the existing approach for disposal authorisation.

Why do we need a new approach?

Disposal authorities (DAs) are usually agency specific and agencies develop their own DA. Many agencies have common core functions and create similar records like the District Health Boards (DHBs) and Crown Research Institutes (CRIs). Sometimes this creates inconsistency in assessing the value of records of the same function, such as varied retention periods and disposal actions for the same type of records.

Development of a DA often takes one to two years and it is not unusual to be drawn out over several years, depending on available resources in agencies and to make this easier we are exploring ways of streamlining to create a sustainable process for agencies and ourselves.

So, what is the current thinking?

  • Transitioning from traditionally structured DA’s to broader classes

  • Transitioning to a ‘one instrument, many agencies’ approach by developing disposal authorities that:

  • are less likely to be impacted by administrative change (s.23 PRA) * cover non-corporate functions that can be used by other public offices that have the same or similar functions and do not have a disposal authority

  • Continuing disposal authorities will have a review date rather than an expiry date.

What are the benefits?

We anticipate that implementation will be easier and more flexible for public offices. This will also help reduce administrative burden for public offices to get disposal authorisation.

The DHB pilot

The pilot project working group aimed to put the current thinking into something easy to use.

What were the key tasks for the pilot?

  • Consulting with stakeholders (e.g. IM practitioners, health sector practitioners, archivists, NGOs) throughout the pilot

  • Researching other jurisdictions appraisal process and disposal authorisation

  • Review and gap analysis of DHBs General Disposal Authority (DA262)

  • Rolling-up classes into broader classes by the same retention period and disposal action

  • Public notification

  • Disposal authorisation from the Chief Archivist

  • Evaluating the pilot and lessons learned by monitoring implementation

A new form of DA and process for authorisation was proposed. This new form of DA is based on functions, not by the DHBs organisational structure and it is expected to be used by public offices that have same functions once it is agreed by Archives New Zealand.

We have called this new DA a Functional Disposal Authority or FDA.

There are three broad FDAs:

  • FDA1 – Clinical Health Care

  • FDA2 – Health Administration

  • FDA3 – Populations Health and Wellbeing

The intention is that FDAs will cover high level functions carried out by and/or common to more than one agency, but not all-of-Government. Public offices will be able to construct their disposal coverage by selecting from a range of FDAs and if needed still create an agency specific disposal authority for functions unique to their agency.