Last updated:

Normal administrative practice

Public records may be destroyed by a public sector employee without any authorisation from PROV provided that they fall within the category of normal administrative practice (NAP).

NAP allows for the disposal of:

  • working documents, such as notes or calculations, used to assist in the preparation of other records
  • minor drafts and transitory documents, where the content is reproduced elsewhere and the information will not be needed to show how the work has progressed or actions approved
  • minor updates of content, such as those in databases, which will not be needed to show actions, decisions or approvals
  • communications for the purpose of making minor arrangements
  • duplicate copies
  • periodic backups of records, information, data, software and settings for recovery in case of technical failure and/or catastrophe and are duplicate copies of official business records/data that is held elsewhere on a managed system.


Who authorises the destruction?

The decision to destroy records under NAP is the responsibility of the government agency.

The following factors should be considered:

  • is there any further administrative need to retain the record?

  • are others still using the record?

  • if you believe it’s just a copy, are you sure that an authoritative version has been kept?

The agency is responsible for ensuring that all staff understand NAP and can apply it correctly in their day-to-day work, for instance, in the management of email records.



Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples