General Disposal Authorities

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What is a General Disposal Authority?

A General Disposal Authority (GDA) provides the State Records rules for appraising records for retention or disposal. GDAs identify the functions and activities of an organisation, describe the types of records associated with those functions and activities, and prescribe a disposal action. Actions range from permanent retention as a State Record (e.g. exam papers) to define a period of retention before destruction is allowed.

For example, see below the most common GDAs used at SCU.

State Records rules and record-keeping procedures for Universities: University records resources.

For further information on recordkeeping, contact the Corporate Records Unit at SCU.


The administration and management of students from application for admission to completion or discontinuation.

The activities involved in conveying knowledge.

The activities involved in investigating or enquiring into a subject or area of interest in order to discover facts, principles etc.

The establishment and management of the institution and related corporate entities.

The function of managing non-teaching related services to students, ex-students, staff etc. Includes the management of alumni associations, accommodation, health and  other services.

The commercialisation of services and products and the provision of services on a commercial basis.
Note: records relating to the provision of training or other educational services as part of a consultancy, such as student records, curricula, etc., should be dealt with in the same way as standard teaching and student administration records in this disposal authority.

The activities associated with the management of internal, external or inter-agency committees, task forces, working groups or parties, etc. Includes the committee's establishment, appointment of members, terms of reference, proceedings, minutes, reports, agendas, etc.

The function of establishing rapport with the community and raising and maintaining the organisation's broad public profile. Includes marketing, advertising, media liaison, exhibitions, celebrations, ceremonies, speeches, official representation at functions and participation in community activities. Also includes relationships with professional organisations and industry, the management of customer services, handling reactions to those services, customer consultation and feedback.

The function of providing compensation to personnel and visitors injured while proceeding to or from work, during working hours or on the organisation's premises or compensation to members of the public suffering personal injury, loss of or damage to property as a result of the organisation's actions. Includes the rehabilitation of injured workers and compensation for damage to property where such damage is claimed as the organisation's responsibility. Also includes insurance and claims for professional indemnity.

The activities involved in arranging, procuring and managing the performance of work or the provision of services by an external contractor or consultant, or by using external bureau services or shared services (provided by another organisation). Sometimes referred to as outsourcing.

The function of acquiring, supplying, maintaining, repairing and disposing of equipment and stores stocked and used by the organisation. Items of equipment include instruments, implements, tools, machines, plant, furniture and furnishings. Stores include chemicals, hardware, homeware items, kitchen/cleaning items, medical supplies and stationery.

The function of establishing and changing the organisational structure through establishing and reviewing positions. Includes classification and grading of positions and the preparation of organisational charts.

The function of managing the organisation's financial resources. Includes establishing, operating and maintaining accounting system controls and procedures, financial planning, framing budgets and budget submissions, obtaining grants and managing funds in the form of allocations from the Consolidated Fund and revenue from charging, trading and investments. Also includes the monitoring and analysis of assets to assist the delivery of economic and social services to government, industry and the community.

The function of acquiring, managing, maintaining, repairing and disposing of vehicles. Vehicles are any means of conveyance owned or used by the organisation to transport people or items.

The establishment and management of corporate entities, such as companies and corporations and of governing bodies such as boards, trusts, councils, commissions, etc. Includes compliance with legislative registration requirements, management of the nomination, appointment and separation of governing body members, administration of meetings of governing bodies or formal subcommittees established by them. Also includes arrangements for travel, leave entitlements, allowances and remuneration for duties performed.

The function of administering the formal relationship between the organisation and those processes of government not covered by other general administrative or functional keywords. Includes the organisation's relationship with Ministers and Members of Parliament and the political processes of Government; liaison with bodies carrying out investigations and participation in formal inquiries and investigations such as Royal Commissions, and inquiries by Parliamentary Committees and the Ombudsman; and relationships with other Local, State, Commonwealth or overseas governments.

The function of establishing formal relations with the organisation's employees and their representatives to achieve a harmonious workplace. Includes negotiations conducted to obtain determinations, agreements or awards, industrial disputes settled within the organisation or by an external arbiter and reports of the state of industrial relations within the organisation.

The function of managing the organisation's information and knowledge resources. Includes creating, capturing, registering, classifying, indexing, storing, retrieving and disposing of records and developing strategies to manage records. Also includes the acquisition, control and disposal of library and other information products, items kept for reference purposes, and the provision of services to internal and external customers, based on information resources. Knowledge management initiatives, the management of archival records and requests for access under relevant legislation, such as Freedom of Information (FOI), records and privacy legislation, are also covered under this function.

The function of providing legal services to the organisation. Includes the interpretation and provision of advice to the organisation regarding legal matters, the drawing up of legal agreements and the handling of legal action and disputes. Also includes legal advice received from in-house consultants and external sources including the Crown Solicitor's Office.

The function of implementing and coordinating work health and safety and associated legislation throughout the organisation. Includes developing safety policies and monitoring safe work practices, procedures and preventative measures. Also includes the establishment of committees to investigate and advise on health and safety issues in the workplace.

The function of managing all employees in the organisation. Employees include Ministerial, permanent and temporary employees, volunteers and people working under scholarships, traineeships, apprenticeships and similar relationships. Also includes the management of statutory appointees such as members of Tribunals and Commissions etc.

The function of managing land and working, storage or living space within premises, and of acquiring, constructing, fitting-out, managing, maintaining, protecting and disposing of property. Includes buildings and land allotments owned, rented or leased by the organisation, such as office blocks, repositories and workshops. Also includes energy and environmental management, the removal of pollutants and waste and the management of grounds including landscaping, roads and pathways.

The function of having works, irrespective of format, issued for sale or general distribution internally or to the public. Includes drafting of internal publications, manual or electronic production (design, layout, typesetting, printing, web publishing etc) and the marketing and supply of internal and external publications and promotional materials by the organisation. Publications include multi-media publications, CD ROM and online information services.

The function of encouraging staff to develop their skills and abilities (through activities, programs and events) to maximise their potential and increase their productivity. Includes identifying and implementing all aspects of training needs and programs (internal and external) available to employees.

The function of applying broad systematic management planning for the organisation. Includes the activities involved with the development, monitoring and reviewing of business plans, strategic plans, corporate plans, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) plans, Ethnic Affairs Policy Statements (EAPS) and agreements, and other long-term organisational strategies, such as frameworks for the management of intellectual property. Also includes the development of the corporate mission, objectives, continuous improvement processes, quality assurance and certification, and the formulation and amendment of legislation which provides the legislative basis for the organisation.

The function of developing or acquiring, testing and implementing hardware infrastructure, and applications and databases to support the business needs of an organisation to capture, store, retrieve, transfer, communicate and disseminate information through automated systems. Includes the evaluation of software and hardware and the acquisition, tendering, leasing, licensing and disposal of systems. Also includes communication network systems such as video conferencing, voice mail and electronic mail and the technical aspects of the Internet, Intranet and websites.

The activities involved in receiving and assessing tenders, of making offers for and finalising contract arrangements for the supply, sale or purchase of goods and services.