What is an agency?
The State Records Act defines an agency as:
(a) the Governor; or
(b) a Minister of the Crown; or
(c) a court or tribunal; or
(d) a person who holds an office established by an Act; or
(e) an incorporated or unincorporated body—
(i) established for a public purpose by or under an Act; or
(ii) established or subject to control or direction by the Governor, a Minister of the Crown or any instrumentality or agency of the Crown; or
(f) a department or other administrative unit of the public service; or
(g) the police force; or
(h) a municipal or district council; or
(i) a person or body declared by the regulations to be an agency,
and includes a former agency and an agency that ceased to exist before the commencement of this Act, but does not include -
(j) a House of Parliament or a committee of the Parliament or a House of Parliament; and
(k) a present or former officer of a House of Parliament; and
(l) a present or former member of a House of Parliament (other than a Minister in respect of records made or received in his or her capacity as a Minister); and
(m) a present or former member of the staff of a House of Parliament or the joint parliamentary service
(State Records Act, 1997, s3)
An agency will usually have:
• a person with decision-making authority at its top hierarchical level and
• a legal instrument or some form of delegated authority which establishes its basis for existence and sets out its functions and
• its own recordkeeping system.
Why register an agency?
By registering agencies we are able to:
• provide a greater understanding of records by establishing the administrative context in which the records were created and
• enable the loan of records by linking record series to the agencies that are responsible for them and
• assist researchers to interpret the context and significance of the records to their research.
Which agencies need to be registered?
The agency relationships that are most important for providing context to records are ‘agency recording’ and ‘agency responsible’.
Agency recording is the agency that created a series, or continued to document a series having inherited it from another agency.
Agency responsible is the agency that is currently responsible for some or all of the functions or legislation documented in records within a series.
It is not expected that all agencies that exist or have ever existed will be registered. An agency should be registered if it is to be recorded as either an ‘agency recording’ or an ‘agency responsible’ for a series.
If you are unsure about whether an agency should be registered, contact the Archive Team, providing details about the agency/ies, relevant legislation and Government Gazette notice references, and information about the related records. Advice will be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Agency name and administrative change
When an agency changes its name, it does not necessarily mean that the newly named agency is required to be registered as a completely new agency. When a name change or administrative change occurs, contact the Archives team, providing details of the change. Advice will be provided on a case-by-case basis.
How to register an agency
Before you complete an agency registration form, search the online archival catalogue, ArchivesSearch, to see whether the agency has already been registered.
Information to include on an agency registration form, as applicable:
• date of creation of the agency
• predecessor and successor agencies
• legislative framework – legislative establishment of agency, legislation administered by agency, legislative abolishment of agency
• role of the agency and the functions carried out by the agency
• superior and subordinate relationships to other agencies, including any reporting relationships that may exist
• date of abolition of the agency
• events of significance that occurred during the life of the agency
• location of the agency, if it is of significance to the function of the agency.
When the agency has been registered in the archival database, a Government Agency (GA) number will be issued.