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Physical records transfer

Transfer is a process that results in Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) taking custody, but not ownership of public records from a Victorian government agency.

The step-by-step information below will guide you through the process of transferring physical records to PROV.

Note: this guide can be printed using your browser's print functionality.


  1. STEP 1 – Confirm records are eligible for transfer

    PROV only accepts records which were created or received by Victorian Government agencies in the course of their work or business (i.e. public records) which are of permanent value, and are to be retained as Victoria State archives.

    Records eligible for transfer to PROV are those that have been identified as permanent using the appropriate Retention and Disposal Authority (RDA) and are no longer needed by the agency for administrative purposes (i.e. the records are no longer being added to or updated, and are not accessed frequently). 


    Agency actions:

    • confirm records are classed as permanent under an appropriate RDA
    • confirm records are no longer needed for administrative purposes
    • confirm adequate resources are available to plan and execute the transfer project.


    PROV actions:

    • respond to any queries seeking confirmation that specific records are eligible for transfer to PROV.



    Retention and Disposal Authorities (RDAs)



    Once records have been transferred into PROV custody you can still access or retrieve them, but they cannot be added to or updated.


    STEP 2 – Submit proposal

    In this step you will complete and submit a PRO 21A Proposal to Transfer Permanent Records Form which will initiate the transfer project with PROV. By completing this form you are confirming:

    • the records are classified as permanent under a current RDA
    • the records are no longer required for administrative purposes
    • the agency is prepared to allocate appropriate resources to complete the transfer (i.e. staff, time, space and budget)
    • the high level description of the records (including date range, format and quantity).


    Agency actions:

    • identify if there are related permanent records already in PROV custody by searching PROV’s online catalogue.
    • if you have not undertaken a transfer project before, or if the transfer is complex (i.e. large quantities of records, multiple record types or creating agencies), you should contact us providing information on the proposed transfer prior to completing the PRO 21A Proposal to Transfer Permanent Records Form.


    PROV actions:

    • assign a Transfer Archivist as your primary PROV contact during the transfer project
    • review and agree on the transfer proposal, time frames and scheduling
    • the Transfer Archivist will also provide advice on the record series which will inform step 3.



    Search the collection (via search box at the top of the web page)



    PRO 21A Proposal to Transfer Permanent Records Form



    Don’t start processing the records yet, as there will be specific requirements to follow. You don’t want to have to re-do your work later!

    STEP 3 – Identify and describe the record series

    In this step you will identify and describe each new record series proposed for transfer, each existing series to which records will be added and the proposed access arrangements. The following types of series information will need to be provided:

    • purpose – why was the record series created?
    • content – what type of information do the records contain?
    • system of arrangement and control – how were the records managed?
    • date range of the series
    • record creators - government agency/agencies that have been involved in creating or adding information to a record series over time.


    Agency actions:

    • complete a PRO 21B Series Report: New Series Form or PRO 21B Series Report: Subsequent Consignment Form for each record series proposed for transfer, and submit directly to your assigned PROV transfer archivist
    • propose access arrangements, i.e. open to the public; or closed to the public under a particular section of the Public Records Act 1973.




    PROS 10/13 FS1a Archival Principles, Series and Consignment Fact Sheet

    PROS 10/13 FS1b Brief Overview of the Records Transfer Process Fact Sheet

    PROS 10/13 FS1c Describing Series: Series Arrangement and Control Records Fact Sheet

    PROS 10/13 FS1d Describing Series: Common Series in Government Fact Sheet

    PROS 10/13 FS1e Describing Series: Series Date Range Creation Fact Sheet

    PROS 10/13 FS1f Identifying Records Creators Fact Sheet




    PRO 21B Series Report: New Series Form

    PRO 21B Series Report: Subsequent Consignment Form 

    STEP 4 – Finalise access arrangements

    Before records can be transferred, access arrangements are negotiated between the transferring agency and PROV. Under the Public Records Act 1973 records transferred to PROV are open to the public unless specifically closed by both the Minister responsible for the transferring agency and the Minister responsible for PROV. 

    If the records proposed for transfer may be made available to the public, your agency’s responsible officer is required to sign a PRO 7A Access Authority form acknowledging the records’ open access status.

    If PROV and your agency agree that the records should be recommended for closure to protect sensitive and confidential information:

    • PROV prepares the PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority form specifying the records to be closed, the grounds for closure, and closure periods
    • your agency seeks the Minister’s approval to close the records by outlining the grounds for closure, and the recommended closure period
    • the Minister indicates approval by signing the PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority
    • PROV then seeks final approval from its responsible Minister for the same arrangements.


    Agency actions:

    • provide to PROV details of the records’ contents and advice on the sensitivity of the records
    • for records to be open to the public once transferred, submit the signed PRO 7A Access Authority form to PROV
    • for records that are to be closed to the public, prepare a Ministerial brief and submit along with the PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority form to their responsible Minister for approval.


    PROV actions:

    • provide assistance with access decisions based on the Public Records Act 1973 and any relevant precedents
    • prepare any PRO 7A/B/C/E Access Authority forms that require signatures from an agency’s responsible officer or Minister
    • prepare a Ministerial brief to submit along with any PRO 7B/C/E Access Authority to the PROV Minister.



    Access categories: Open and closed records



    PROS 11/10 FS1 Closure of Public Records Under Section 9 Fact Sheet

    PROS 11/10 FS2 Closure of Public Records Under Section 10 Fact Sheet

    PROS 11/10 FS3 Closure of Public Records Under Section 10AA Fact Sheet



    Records that are closed to the public may still be retrieved by the responsible agency.

    STEP 5 – Prepare records for transfer

    In this step records will be listed, labelled and physically prepared for transfer. During this step you will work closely with your PROV Transfer Archivist to ensure the records are prepared and documented ready for accession by PROV.


    Agency actions:

    • if you have not completed a Record Description List (RDL) before, PROV recommends that you fill out the RDL template for a sample of the records and send it to your PROV Transfer Archivist for feedback
    • complete and submit the RDL template, your PROV Transfer Archivist will check the list and let you know if there are any issues or revisions required
    • attach the labels supplied by PROV to the records, in compliance with the specific instructions provided. The PROV Transfer Archivist may also arrange a visit to your agency to conduct a final check to confirm the physical preparation, labelling and listing has been completed correctly
    • pack the records ready for physical transfer to PROV.


    PROV actions:

    • provide you with the Record Description List (RDL) template.
    • check your RDL(s) and let you know if there are any issues or revisions required
    • print and provide you with PROV labels and specific instructions detailing how they must be attached
    • confirm the records’ physical preparation is correct. 




    PROS 10/13 FS2a How to Complete a Records Description List (RDL) Fact Sheet

    PROS 10/13 FS2b How to List Records in a Records Description List (RDL) Template Fact Sheet

    PROS 10/13 FS2c Packing and Labelling Physical Records Fact Sheet



    STEP 6 – Deliver records to PROV

    Once the records are fully prepared, described and labelled, and access arrangements have been finalised, PROV will contact you to schedule a date and time for the physical uplift.  PROV can also provide information on requirements for the delivery of records and assistance in locating a suitable carrier or delivery service. The agency or carrier service is responsible for delivering the records to the agreed repository address and placing them in sequential order on allocated shelving at PROV. 


    Agency actions:

    • complete a PRO 21C Uplift Notification Form and submit to your PROV transfer archivist
    • organise a suitable carrier or delivery service.


    PROV actions:

    • acknowledge receipt of the PRO 21C Uplift Notification Form and arrange a mutually convenient delivery date and time
    • provide information on requirements for delivery of the records
    • on uplift day, PROV’s collection management team will check and accession all the records delivered to PROV.



    PRO 21C Uplift Notification Form

    STEP 7 – Close transfer project

    Your PROV transfer archivist will notify you once the records have been accessioned, and the transfer project has been completed and closed.

    At this time, information about the record series will be available via PROV’s online catalogue and your agency will be able to order the records.



    Ordering and collecting for government users

    Search the collection (via search box at the top of the web page).

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