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Advice for Local Authorities

This page outlines resources to help with the management of local authority records and archives.

For a brief overview of the Public Records Act and how it relates to local authorities see our factsheet F16: Public Records Act 2005 (PRA) and Local Government.


Archives New Zealand offers three training courses to support records and archives management in local government:

The Public Records Act and Local Government Records and Archives
(2 days) introduces you to the key provisions contained in the Public Records Act as they apply to local authority records and archives.

Recordkeeping Metadata (1 day) introduces you the key requirements contained in the mandatory S8: Electronic Recordkeeping Metadata Standard and provides plenty of opportunity to work through real examples, and understand how you can implement the standard in your organisation.
Introduction to Digitisation (1 day) introduces you to the requirements contained within the S6: Digitisation Standard and provides plenty of opportunity to work through real examples, and understand how you can implement the Standard in your organisation.

See the Training offered page to find out more information and to register.

Factsheet 11 - Local Authority Disposal

The disposal provisions of the Public Records Act are different for local authorities than for public offices and relate specifically to local authority protected records.

Local Authority Disposal provides information about the disposal process as it applies to local authorities.

What are protected records?

Protected records are those categories of records that the Chief Archivist has declared, under section 40 (1) of the Public Records Act, to be ‘worthy of protection’ though robust records management systems. Therefore, local authorities must ensure that the protected records they hold are:

In order for a local authority to legally dispose of its protected records, it must have authorisation from the Chief Archivist. Authorisation is obtained by writing to the Chief Archivist and outlining which records you need to dispose of and how they will be disposed. The local authority will receive a reply from the Chief Archivist, which will either:

The primary disposal tool for disposal of protected records is the Local Government Schedule.

Local Government Schedule

The Local Government Schedule and Explanatory Notes aims to provide a consistent approach to the disposal of local authority protected records. It outlines those protected records that require authorisation from the Chief Archivist in order to be destroyed.

The Local Government Schedule does not cover all records created by a local authority; however it must be adhered to in order to meet Public Records Act compliance with disposing of local authority protected records.

Other records created by local authorities

Local authorities will have other records, which are not protected under the Public Records Act, which will require decisions about whether they should be retained or disposed of.

Some of these may be covered by other legislation. For example, s216 of the Building Act 2004 requires local authorities to keep records relating to a building at least for the life of the building. Records needed for legal claims like grievance cases or civil actions, or for information requests under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 also need to be retained.

If a local authority has records that aren't protected or needed for administration or legal purposes they can be destroyed or otherwise disposed of without notifying Archives New Zealand. Protected records and other records that are required for retention can be transferred to a local authority archive once they are no longer in current use or are at least 25 years old.

ALGIM toolkit - Implementation Schedule

The Association of Local Government Information Management Inc (ALGIM) and consultancy company SWIM Ltd has produced the Local Authority Information Management Toolkit.

The Retention and Disposal module within the toolkit is intended to complement the Local Government Schedule and the Explanatory Notes by providing more detail about the classes of protected records covered. It also provides retention and destruction advice for other records created by local authorities, incorporating the legislative requirements.

Subscription to the retention and disposal module of the ALGIM toolkit is provided by the Association of Local Government Information Management Inc. It is not required for a local authority to be able dispose of protected records legally under the Public Records Act.

Each local authority that has purchased the toolkit must send a notification to the Chief Archivist before applying the Toolkit Schedule. You do this using the notification template located in the appendix of the Retention and Disposal Schedule Guidelines. The Chief Archivist will send you a formal response.

The modules within the toolkit provide supplementary information management guidance to local authorities, and are consistent with Archives New Zealand’s products.

Contact the Archives New Zealand Appraisal Team with any questions:

Responsibilities under the Public Records Act

To find out more about the responsibilities that local authorities have under the PRA see the Public Offices’ and Local Authorities’ page.

Preservation and Storage

To find out more about preservation and storage see the Records preservation and storage page.

Contact us

For further advice on managing local authority records and archives, email