Records to be kept for 45 years

ACA NSW members will recall the 2021 NQF Review's proposal to increase record keeping from 25 years to 45 years. And members will know that, despite our collective concerns, such a change has commenced beginning 1 October 2023.

ACECQA's Updating Record Keeping Requirements to support Child Protection outlines the following:

  1. The change was made in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
  2. From pages 22-24 of the recommendations, the primarily to be kept are:
    • those relevant to child safety and wellbeing, incidents of grooming, inappropriate behaviour
    • the date(s) and time(s) of inceidences occured
    • the name(s) of the author who created the record(s)
    • the date(s) of the record(s) created
  3. All records should be maintained in an indexed, logical and secure manner. Associated records should be co-located and cross-referenced.
  4. Records of incident, injury, trauma and illness records  
  5. Individuals whose childhoods are documented should have a right to access them, unless contrary to law.

Please note that the abovementioned ACECQA information sheet also refered to:

  • Section 175 of the National Law
  • Regulation 177 of the National Regulations
  • records of evidence of fitness and propriety of staff members, volunteers and students

With this now much longer period of time for such records to be kept, a number of questions arise including:

  • Will the existing Approved Provider be responsible for another Approved Provider's service's records upon transfer should the records not be provided in full?
  • What happens to records if both the service and the Approved Provider no longer exist?
  • Is there a difference between records stored until the child is 25 years old versus records that are related to known/unknown child sexual abuse(s)?
  • Are records of staff members, volunteers and students also required to be kept for 45 years?
  • What are the penalties should records be found to be missing or has become physically compromised?
  • Over time, to which Approved Provider(s) are the penalties to be applied to and under what circumstances? 

Feedback and suggestions are welcomed as ACA NSW continues to engage the regulators.