Department of Education




Telecommunications Use


Appendix A Guidelines

Those creating or receiving email messages need to decide whether a message is a record and therefore to be preserved. This requires the same judgement as that applied in determining whether to retain and file paper records.

Table 1 will assist users to determine the value of and retention requirements for email messages.

Type of message Value Retention
Transactions that provide evidence of business activities, e.g. directives, development of policy issues Transactions that provide evidence of business activities, e.g. directives, development of policy issues

To be retained in accordance with the approved retention and disposal schedules.

These records must be included in a records keeping system.

Information messages with a business context but not part of a business transaction, e.g. notification of a meeting, a message containing an attached document or personal or social messages. Records of ephemeral value Destroyed when not required.
While retained on the Department's electronic mail system, they are subject to legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act and legal processes.


Based on Email is a record! Archives advice 20. Australian Archives. Reproduced by permission of the Australian Archives.

A.1 Security and privacy

Although it gives the illusion of being private, caution is needed when dealing with email. Even after a user deletes an email from the system it may still exist on disk or back-up facilities. Email messages can be saved indefinitely on the receiving computer and copies can easily be made and forwarded to others, either electronically or in paper form.

The security and authenticity of records communicated through email systems may be maximised by using:

A.1.1 Password protection

  • Restrict access to a system or application to authorised users, and choose passwords that are difficult for people or computer programs to guess (see Annex B to ICT Security Standard 1.2 User ID and Password); and

A.1.2 Security labels

  • Attach labels such as 'urgent', 'confidential' or 'acknowledgment requested' to alert recipients to the need for special privacy and handling requirements.

For more information in relation to security, password protection and the classification of information, staff are advised to refer to the Information Privacy and Security (2000) policy and ICT Security Standards.

Telecommunications Use

All contents copyright Government of Western Australia, unless otherwise stated.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this site may contain images of people who are deceased.

Copyright material available on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence
Exclusions may apply: