1. Introduction

We issue general disposal authorities to help organisations decide what to do with common information and records.

General disposal authorities provide ongoing authorisation for the disposal of non-core business information and records that are common across organisations. These are information and records that relate to administration, corporate services, human resources, and finance. Such information and records are common, transitory, and of low value.

General disposal authorities specify retention periods and note which types of information and records can be destroyed and which must be kept as public archives.

General disposal authorities do not cover information and records that relate to an organisation’s primary core business functions, duties and responsibilities. Those information and records may be covered by an organisation–centric or sector-based disposal authority.

However, where information and records may be covered by either general disposal authorities or an organisation-centric or sector-based disposal authority the latter will negate the general disposal authorities.

Public offices must use the general disposal authorities. They do not need any further authorisation from the Chief Archivist.

Local authorities can use the general disposal authorities for best practice information and records management.

2. Benefits of using general disposal authorities

An organisation gains direct benefit from using a general disposal authority to dispose of its information and records. These include savings in space and time, making the most of the information discovered, and improved compliance with the relevant legislation.

  • Saving costs by freeing up space: Information and records that have reached their minimum retention period will be disposed of, negating the need to pay for storage.

  • Saving time: Information and records of continuing value that are easier to find and retrieve will mean an organisation needs to recreate less information and fewer records.

  • Making the most of the information discovered: By disposing of its information and records regularly, an organisation can easily find current information and records. In particular, it will easily find information and records critical to any dispute resolution, legal change, and evidential purpose. Improved compliance: Legislative compliance allows organisations to dispose of information and records in line with the Public Records Act 2005.

3. General Disposal Authority 6: Common corporate service public records

General Disposal Authority 6 (GDA6) has been developed for organisations to use when disposing of common corporate public records legally. Organisations may use GDA6 without further authorisation from the Chief Archivist.

3.1 What GDA6 covers

GDA6 covers generic classes of records created through business functions that are common to most organisations.

3.2 What GDA6 does not cover

GDA6 does not cover records that relate to an organisation’s primary core business functions, duties and responsibilities. GDA6 also does not generally cover any records that are facilitative, transitory or have short-term value. General disposal authority 7 (GDA7) (see below) is the disposal authority for these records.

4. General Disposal Authority 7: Facilitative, transitory and short-term value records

An organisation uses GDA7 to legally dispose of records that are facilitative, transitory, or have short-term value. GDA7 is used to develop guidance for general staff to perform the disposal actions, in line with the recordkeeping requirements under sections 17 and 18 of the Public Records Act 2005. An organisation can use GDA7 without further authorisation from the Chief Archivist.

4.1 What GDA7 covers

GDA7 covers generic classes of records of any format that have a short-term, minor role in preparing a more complete public record. Such records are not required for evidential or legal purposes. These records are created through routine administrative and business processes common to most organisations for their primary core business functions, duties and responsibilities.

4.2 What GDA7 does not cover

GDA7 does not cover:

  • records that relate to an organisation’s primary core business functions, duties and responsibilities

  • common corporate services public records.

These are covered by GDA6