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What is appraisal?

Appraisal, within an information management context, is about enabling decisions. It is the process of analysis used to evaluate functions, activities, information and records to determine appropriate management of those records over time, the period of retention and disposal actions. 

When should appraisal happen?

Ideally appraisal should occur at time of creation. When appraisal is carried out early it is possible to optimise management over the whole life of the record, and ensure timely disposal, maximising the benefits. The process can be repeated should the environment, business or societal expectations or context of the records change.

For public offices, appraisal is a precursor to obtaining disposal authorisation under the Public Records Act  and is guided by the Appraisal Statement , the evaluation of the records is expressed in the form of an appraisal report and a retention and disposal schedule.

Appraisal may also happen when:

•    a public office has been involved in administrative change and functions have moved
•    a Disposal Authority requires refreshing and/or amendment due to structural or legislative change
•    a local authority wishes to dispose of Protected records 

Benefits of appraisal

Appraisal, as part of a pro-active and well managed records management programme along with the creation of retention and disposal rules, and sensible metadata supports normal prudent business practice.

It also allows:

•    Efficient use of resources: records are not maintained and stored for longer than necessary and digital records are not migrated, when they could be destroyed
•    Maximises information discovery: The identification of vital or high value records and information for immediate business needs
•    Time saving: The improved ability to locate and retrieve records of continuing value amongst many and less need to recreate information
•    Government to be held accountable for its actions and decisions by ensuring the right information is kept for the right length of time
•    Identification of information: for ongoing use and re-use
•    Preservation of New Zealand’s historical and cultural heritage
•    Optimize management and preservation in line with retention requirements
•    Legislative Compliance: It allows public offices to dispose of records in accordance with the Public Records Act 2005 

The appraisal process

To begin the appraisal process, contact Archives New Zealand:

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