Class B Places of Deposit (POD) Program Review:
Outcomes of Community Feedback Forums
Updated: 23 February 2018
Class B PODs are approved to hold original public records not considered to be permanent but which are of local interest. These are classified as ‘temporary records’. Class A PODs located in Beechworth, Bendigo and Geelong are accredited to hold permanent public records.
Public records transferred to PODs remain in the custody and control of the Keeper of Public Records and must be made available to the public upon request free-of-charge and within a reasonable period of time.
Since the program began in the mid-1980s, 151 Class B PODs have been accredited by the Minister. Many of those appointments have expired.
Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) is finalising a review of the Class B POD program to ensure that the mechanisms, structures and business activities support an efficient and sustainable program into the future. The review included a survey completed by representatives from 90 PODs (with a 60% response rate) and a number of face-to-face consultations.
Community consultations have been held to provide POD representatives with the review findings and to discuss the review’s draft recommendations. Consultations were held in:
• Bendigo and Morwell in December 2017, and
• Melbourne and Ballarat in February 2018.
The consultations were attended by approximately 50 people representing around 40 PODs.
Key review recommendations
• The POD program should be limited to those organisations holding public records.
• Accreditation as a POD should only expire if an organisation no longer meets the appointment conditions.
• An online attestation process should be introduced with a requirement that this be completed every two years.
• A number of information resources should be produced for PODs and activities undertaken to promote the program to government agencies and the wider community.
• An internal PROV audit of all PODs should be undertaken.
Click here for more information.
Findings from the community feedback forums
Findings of the community feedback forums were in alignment with those of the POD review. Specific feedback included:
• There was wide understanding and overall acceptance of the POD review's recommendations and understanding of their rationale behind them.
• No negative views were expressed regarding the recommendation to limit appointment as a POD to those organisations holding (or guaranteed of holding) temporary public records.
• Attendees accepted the proposed biennial online attestation process.
• PODs are very good facilities that are not being used to their full potential. Accordingly, efforts should be made to improve awareness of the POD program among government agencies in local communities with the aim of increasing the use of POD facilities to store these agencies’ temporary public records. Some participants expressed frustration that government agencies were reluctant to transfer temporary public records to PODs. It was noted that this may be because the agency needs to retain records for administrative purposes.
• An online forum could be established to connect PODs with a view to sharing ideas on areas of interest and to discuss common problems and solutions. PROV could also conduct an annual forum for participating organisations.
• There is a lack of awareness regarding POD responsibilities and administrative matters such as the status of a POD’s appointment, and including what to do if a POD was to close.
• Some disappointment was expressed regarding the lack of direct contact from PROV over recent years.
• PROV should look at improving regional networking connections as, for example, people are time and resource poor and need to prioritise what activities they can attend.
• PROV’s communications to PODs need to improve – emails were seen as effective and can include links to relevant online information. It is important that contact information is kept up to date. With this in mind, PODs are reminded to advise PROV of any changes in the organisation’s contact details.
• An improved POD page on the PROV website was suggested. The current POD map needs to be updated; this webpage could also include an alphabetical POD list.
• Many smaller historical societies would never be in a position to receive public records. However it was noted that they can still access PROV’s online information and receive advice and support.
PROV thanks the attendees at the consultation forums for taking the time to participate in this important part of the POD review. We also thank those people who provided feedback to the review through other channels.
PROV is now undertaking an audit of all PODs to confirm whether or not they hold public records and, if so, the nature of these records. This will include contact with each POD. Once this audit has been completed the review will be finalised and recommendations made to the Special Minister of State for the continuation of a revised and enhanced program.
Any questions about the POD program can be made via https://prov.vic.gov.au/contact-us
Our network of community archives preserving Victoria's history
Community archives, or officially Places of Deposit (PODs), are community facilities such as mechanics’ institutes and historical societies that preserve public records of local significance.
State Government records held in a Place of Deposit ( POD ) remain under the control of Public Record Office Victoria. Agencies wishing to place records into PODs must first obtain approval from Public Record Office Victoria.
Click here to view a full list of PODs and their locations on a larger map.