Step 1: Appraising your records

Records can possess different types or degrees of value to a public records body, and these values affect how records are managed and how long they need to be kept. This applies to records in all formats and media.

This process of ‘appraising your records’ is primarily focused on identifying key departmental records which are needed for ongoing administrative, legal or fiscal purposes. Understanding the value of such collections will:

  • assist efficient and effective administration
  • enable decision making and policy development based on current information
  • allow organisations to be accountable in terms of the management of resources, as well as legal and financial scrutiny

Appraisal should also help public records bodies understand which records are likely to have wider historical value, and should therefore be kept indefinitely. The National Archives’ records collection policy describes which records are likely to hold this kind of value, and therefore need to be managed in a way that ensures long term survival.

More information on defining appraisal and developing a framework for routinely identifying the value of records can be found in our guidance: What is Appraisal? below.

Further guidance on appraisal

What is appraisal? (PDF, 0.11 Mb)

Best practice guide for appraising and selecting records for The National Archives (PDF, 0.28Mb)

Appraisal Report template (DOC, 0.12Mb)

How to compile an appraisal report (PDF, 0.18Mb)

Background paper: Grigg, appraisal and beyond (PDF, 0.12Mb)

Machinery of government changes: Guidance on transfer of records, information and knowledge (PDF, 0.49Mb)

Find out more about disposing of records.

Go to the next stage: Selecting your records

Appraisal should also help public records bodies understand which records are likely to have wider historical value, and should therefore be kept indefinitely

Disposal scheduling is an important aspect of establishing and maintaining control of corporate information and record resources.