Developing and Applying Template Records Retention Schedules

For PDF see Developing and Applying Template Records Retention Schedules


This procedure details the steps to develop and apply a retention schedule to your area.   Once agreed, your area’s schedule, together with related procedures, will enable the performance of disposal actions and will support consistent, transparent, and accountable recordkeeping practices.

Step 1: Develop a Records Retention Schedule for Your Area

The template records retention schedule is in MS Excel format. Each numbered line relates to a records series (see Definitions), described in the ‘Scope and Content’ field.  For each line work through the following steps (all changes should be highlighted):

  1. If the records series does not apply in your area mark it for deletion and move to the next line.
  2. Scope and Content: amend the description for the series if it does not match the records you hold.
  3. Retention period: amend the time period if it does not seem adequate to you. Is it too long? Too short? Why? Record your reasons for change.
  4. Disposal: amend the proposed action if you believe it is not correct (destroy, archive, review). Record your reasons for change.
  5. Change the master system if different from the template (eg, Nas, paper, Agresso)

Consult with people in your area regarding these changes, and prepare a final review version.

Step 2: Approve the Records Retention Schedule

The head of area must review and approve the final review version of the retention schedule.  This approved version, once lodged with the University Archives, becomes the records retention schedule to be used in your area.

Step 3: Record the Records Retention Schedule

Send a copy of the approved version, signed by the head of area, to the University Archives.

The University Archivist may contact your area with any queries arising.

The University Archives will maintain the master set of all records retention schedules, and of superseded schedules, for record purposes and to log approved changes.

Step 4: Apply the Records Retention Schedule

It is best to trial implementation in a limited manner at first, eg, focus on a few record series. Set aside some time for implementation, eg, an ‘Action Morning/Afternoon/Day’. Extend to all current records. Legacy records may be addressed over time.

Set up a shared folder structure to reflect the schedule, as per Procedure for Arranging Unstructured Data

Review your records against the retention schedule, and note and list those liable for destruction, or other action.

For destruction/deletion, use the Destruction of Records procedure and complete the related destruction-deletion forms.

For Review, see Guidance on Review of Records for Disposal Purposes

A procedure for archival transfer of digital records is in development. For hard copy archives, please contact the University Archives (Ext. 2753,

Supporting Procedures




Record series

A grouping of records which relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific type of transaction, or have some other relationship. Records within a series are scheduled for the same retention periods and disposal actions under the retention schedule. Eg, annual leave records, invoices and purchase orders, and committee minutes may form part of distinct records series. Records series are set out in Records Retention Schedules


Records retention schedule (RRS)

Control document that defines the length of retention and the disposition actions that are authorised for specified records, grouped into records series. The University’s retention schedules include a business classification scheme, linking records to the context of their creation, and other supporting information, including the Data Owner and access classification for each records series.

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