What is privatisation?

Privatisation is the permanent transfer of part or all of the functions of a government agency close agency Definition Any department, agency or office of the Government of Victoria to a ‘private organisation’.

Private organisations can be:

  • a body corporate
  • a sole trader
  • a partnership
  • an incorporated or unincorporated association
  • a trust.

 

How should public records be dealt with under privatisation?

The records and privatisation close privatisation Definition The transfer of entire functions and activities of an agency, or part thereof, to the private sector. step-by-step procedure below provides useful guidance on how public records should be managed before, during and after privatisation.

  1. STEP 1 - Develop a privatisation plan

    When government functions are privatised, the public records which are created as part of those functions must be managed appropriately as part of the privatisation process.

    Up until the date of privatisation, all records created or held by the agency remain public records.

     

    Prior to your agency’s functions being privatised, you should develop a plan for the management of the records under its responsibility before, during and after privatisation (‘privatisation plan’).

     

    To develop the privatisation plan, your agency should first:

    • Conduct a risk assessment for records under your care. This will help identify potential risks and values associated with particular types of records, and in turn, inform how the records should be treated.
    • Undertake an appraisal of the records and identify temporary and permanent value records in accordance with the appropriate Retention and Disposal Authority (RDA).

     

    For any records that do not already have a relevant disposal class, please complete a PRO 46A Request for Disposal Authority (Single Instance) and PRO 46B Request for a Disposal Authority – Appraisal Report.

     

    The privatisation plan may identify:

    • the records that will be affected by privatisation
    • relevant disposal actions and transfer arrangements (see further Step 2)
    • responsibilities among the parties involved for implementing actions in the plan.

    STEP 2 - Determine how to treat the records

    How different records might be treated as a result of privatisation will depend upon a range of factors.

    All original permanent records must be retained by government. For temporary records, your agency should exercise greater levels of caution and risk mitigation measures in determining the treatment of records that are identified as being of high risk and/or high value.

    See the following table for guidance:

    Record type Treatment options
    Permanent records
    • Transfer to PROV if no longer in administrative use
    • your agency continues to hold records of functions that it  retains (where only partly privatised)
    • transfer remaining records to another Victorian agency
    • copies may be transferred to the private organisation (must meet Victorian legislative requirements e.g. privacy)
    • private organisation may request access to the records.
    Temporary records
    • dispose (i.e. destroy) records which are time expired and no longer required for business use by government
    • your agency continues to hold records of functions that it  retains (where only partly privatised)
    • transfer remaining records to another Victorian agency
    • copies may be transferred to private organisation (must meet Victorian legislative requirements e.g. privacy)
    • upon approval from the Keeper of Public Records, your agency can transfer records identified as low value, low risk to the private organisation.
    • upon approval from the Keeper of Public Records, your agency can organise temporary loan arrangements for records to the private organisation.

     

    STEP 3 - Obtain approval

    Any transfer or temporary loan of public records to the private organisation must be approved by the Keeper of Public Records.

     

    Your application should provide evidence that a risk assessment has been conducted and proposed measures for managing assessed risks.

    The application should also include a description of the records intending to be transferred or loaned to the private organisation. Approval may subject to conditions, such as storage and security arrangements.

    STEP 4 - Negotiate records management provisions

    The instrument executing privatisation (e.g. contract) should clearly articulate transfer and ownership arrangements for records.  As records may be considered assets, their disposition and ownership should be dealt with explicitly.

    Records created by the private organisation are owned by the private organisation. However, if the private organisation is performing a function or service on behalf of government, then the privatisation instrument should contain appropriate recordkeeping clauses for these records.

    STEP 5 - Dispose or Transfer Records

    Undertake disposal and transfer of records in accordance with the relevant RDA and the type of treatment outlined in the privatisation plan.