Access directions - requesting a review
The State Records Act provides an internal review mechanism for decisions made by public offices to close or open records to public access. It helps ensure that public offices are accountable and answerable for decisions that affect your entitlement to access records in the open access period.
Museums of History NSW can request a review of an access direction. The State Records Act does not provide a specific mechanism for an individual to appeal against a Closed to Public Access (CPA) direction.
In circumstances where you disagree with a decision made by a public office, it is appropriate to write to Museums of History NSW and the responsible office or its Minister seeking reconsideration of that decision.
Museums of History NSW may request a review of an access direction, if after advice and negotiation with a public office, a direction remains:
- inconsistent with the spirit of the access provisions of the State Records Act, including the presumption that most records should be opened after 20 years,
- contrary to the Attorney General's guidelines on making access directions, or creates an inconsistent framework of public access to State records across government.
The request is made to the Minister responsible for the public office that authorised the direction. The Minister must finalise the review in three months. The review may be carried out in consultation with Museums of History NSW.
The Minister finalises a review by either:
- confirming the original access direction, or
- directing the public office to revoke the access direction and replace it with another specified access direction.
The public office must comply with the Minister's direction within 14 days. The public office can comply by revoking and authorising an access direction in accordance with the Minister's review.
If the public office does not comply within 14 days the access direction is revoked. The revoked direction cannot be given again without the permission of the Minister or Museums of History NSW.
The State Records Act establishes a general entitlement to access to State records that are at least 20 years old
State records are open to public access after 20 years unless the record is subject to an early access authorisation or a closed to public access direction
This register lists access directions to State records under the State Records Act 1998
Advice and procedures for access to State records