CRS Manual - Superior, controlled, previous and subsequent agency

Superior agency

Definition

A superior agency is an agency that is, or has been, immediately above and directly controls another agency in the administrative hierarchy.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to place the agency being described within its immediate administrative context. Superior agencies will exercise the same functions as the controlled agency, but often with a broader perspective, for example, policy formulation as opposed to administration of case work. A superior agency does not necessarily share the same title as the agency or agencies it controls. In some cases the superior agency will have an administratively important but, in practice, a very limited oversight role, though nonetheless a controlling role. Knowledge of these relationships can be important for retrieval of records. Indicating superior agency relationships is also important in grouping agencies (and information about their records) for management purposes.

Relative importance

This field should be completed for all agencies that have a superior agency, to provide essential administrative context (category2).

Sources of information

Sources include records of the agency being described, plus secondary sources such as Commonwealth Government Directories.

Standards for content

There may be one or more superior agencies in chronological sequence or, occasionally, at the same time. Each entry consists of agency number and title, start and end dates of the period of relationship and comments (optional). For example, for the National Archives of Australia, Central Office, the superior agencies from 1974 to 1977 would be shown as follows:

Superior agency
07 Mar 1974 - 22 Dec 1975: CA 1490 Department of the Special Minister of State, Central Office
22 Dec 1975 - 20 Dec 1977: CA 1964 Department of Administrative Services [II], Central Office

Amendments

Amendments to the entry may be required if an administrative change occurs.

For data input purposes both agencies in a superior/controlled relationship will be updated automatically and simultaneously.

Application notes

Where one agency reports to another, show the agency to which it reported as the superior agency.

In respect of their functional responsibilities, there are several Commonwealth bodies at the top of the administrative hierarchy that do not have a superior agency as such, for example, Departments of State, Royal Commissions, Parliamentary Departments, principal offices of courts and tribunals.

Within the Commonwealth of Australia (CO 1), where an agency reports directly to a Minister of a department or a junior Minister responsible for an aspect of a department, and not through another agency, do not show a superior agency linkage - complete the Minister Responsible entry or entries only.

The central office of a Department of State is assumed to report directly to its Minister (its 'superior' agency). Therefore, in practice, the registration for a departmental central office is viewed as that of its Department of State, and the Minister Responsible reference is shown as CA 1, Governor-General for control purposes (see Minister Responsible entry procedure above). As a consequence of this practice, a superior agency reference is not appropriate for central offices of Departments of State. Leave the Superior Agency field blank for such agencies.

Record the agencies (if any) which were immediately superior to the agency being registered over the date range of the agency. There may be multiple superior agencies at the same time or, more likely, a number of successive superior agencies during an agency's existence. For management purposes, an entry for the most current superior agency or agencies should get priority.

Period of relationship

The period that an agency and its superior agency are related should be indicated to help users identify relevant agencies. This period should be based on the agency date range, that is, a relationship can only begin once both agencies have been created.

All dates in predetermined date fields are subject to validation to facilitate searching, sorting, validations and consistency in reports. It is not necessary to enter day, month and year if the full date is not known. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt. (Unless notes are kept to indicate the part or parts of the date to which a qualifier applies, the use of the qualifier can be misleading, especially when just year ranges and qualifiers are presented in reports).

Date range conventions

Start date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

Start date

1952

May 1952

23 May 1952

End date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

End date

1978

Nov 1978

23 Nov 1978

Comments

The Comments entry may be used to indicate the particular part of a superior agency that controlled the agency. Comments can also be used to indicate the function for which a superior agency is responsible when there are concurrent superior agencies. The comment should be succinct and, if possible, match a term from the CRS Thesaurus (the function itself should appear in lower case), eg

Comments: for tourism

However, because of the reciprocal linkages in RecordSearch, where the one comment is concurrently applied to both agencies in this relationship (one as superior agency, the other as agency controlled), it is preferable to use the Agency Descriptive Note for such information to avoid confusion, unless the comment is clear and unambiguous for both situations.

Relationship to ISAAR(CPF): 2.1.8

Agency controlled

Definition

'Agency controlled' refers to an agency that is or has been immediately below and directly controlled by another agency in an administrative hierarchy. (In another, more general, sense an agency controlled can be any agency that is subordinate to another one, regardless of its level in the administrative hierarchy.)

Purpose

The purpose of the field is to place the agency being described within its immediate administrative context by showing its controlling relationships with subordinate agencies.

Relative importance

This field should be completed where applicable, to provide essential administrative context (category 2). The references to unregistered controlled agencies should be included in the State/Regional structure subheading in the Agency Descriptive Note.

Sources of information

Sources of information include records of the agency being described, plus secondary sources such as the Commonwealth Government Directory, Administrative Arrangements Orders and Parliamentary Papers.

Standards for content

There can be one or more agencies controlled. Each entry consists of agency number and title, start and end dates of the period of relationship, and comments (optional). For example, for Commonwealth Office of Education, Central Office (CA 590):

Agency controlled

10 Apr 1947- 30 Jun 1967: CA 1411 Australian National Advisory Committee for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation)
01 Jul 1947- 31 Dec 1967: CA 593 Commonwealth Office of Education, State Office, Brisbane

Amendments

The entry may need to be amended if an administrative change occurs.

Whenever updating Agency Controlled information, check any unregistered agencies controlled to determine whether they have subsequently been registered - if so, delete the unregistered linkage and update the registered agency controlled linkage.

Both agencies in a superior/controlled relationship will automatically be updated simultaneously.

Application notes

For registered agencies, this entry is made in RecordSearch as part of the superior/controlled agency relationship.Check for existing links before adding a new one to a registration.

Comments

A comment, which would rarely be included, should be restricted to information about the relationship between the two agencies. Comments should be succinct and make sense in reports for each of the two linked agencies, eg

Comments: youth employment function only
Period of relationship

The period of relationship is expressed as a date range covering the start date and end date that the agency came under the control of the superior agency. This period should be based on the agency date range, that is, a relationship can only begin once both agencies have been created.

All dates in predetermined date fields are subject to validation to facilitate searching, sorting, validations and consistency in reports. It is not necessary to enter day, month and year if the full date is not known. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt. (Unless notes are kept to indicate the part or parts of the date to which a qualifier applies, the use of the qualifier can be misleading, especially when just year ranges and qualifiers are presented in reports.)

Date range conventions

Start date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

Start date

1952

May 1952

23 May 1952

End date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

End date

1978

Nov 1978

23 Nov 1978

Documenting unregistered agencies controlled

A decision to record a link with an unregistered agency should be restricted to cases where knowledge of the unregistered agency provides important context, but for some reason it cannot yet be registered, or the agency itself is outside the Archives' sphere of operations. Unregistered links are documented in the Unregistered Link Note. Instructions for data entry of unregistered links are in the RecordSearch help text.

Relationship to ISAAR(CPF): 2.1.8

Previous agency

Definition

A Previous agency is an agency which directly passed or transmitted administrative functions to the agency being described.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to help staff and clients trace changes in responsibility for an administrative function over time.

Relative importance

This field should be completed for significant registrations; and may be completed in other cases (category 4).

Sources of information

The most useful sources in establishing the previous agencies are the agency's records and its predecessors' records, Administrative Arrangements Orders, legislation abolishing or creating agencies, Government Directories, Federal Guides, Commonwealth Gazettes, and reports by the agencies.

Standards for content

There can be one or more previous agencies. Each entry consists of agency number and title, transmission date, and comments (optional). For example, for Department of Communications and the Arts, Central Office (CA 7872):

Previous Agency
30 Jan 1994: CA 7663 Department of the Arts and Administrative Services, Central Office - for matters relating to the arts and the management of government records
30 Jan 1994: CA 7852 Department of Communications [II], Central Office

Amendments

The entry may need to be amended after administrative changes.

Whenever updating Previous agency information, check any unregistered previous agencies to determine whether they have subsequently been registered - if so, delete the unregistered linkage and update the registered previous agency linkage. Both agencies in a previous/subsequent relationship will automatically be updated simultaneously.

Application notes

Agencies, such as the central offices of Departments of State, often receive many functions and may have numerous previous agencies. The nature of the function(s) transferred should be included in the Comments field.

In general, a Previous Agency entry should only be completed for those agencies which  directly passed or transmitted functions to the agency being described. The entry should therefore not list agencies which transmitted functions through an intermediary agency or third party.

In a few cases it is permissible to include as a previous or subsequent agency an agency that carried out an identical or near identical role but at a considerably different time and without a direct administrative link, for example, Royal Visit agencies; EXPO agencies; and parliamentary committees, Royal Commissions, and judicial inquiries which cover the same subject area or topic. Note that an agency such as a Royal Commission is not to be considered previous or subsequent to another Royal Commission simply because they were both Royal Commissions.

Some agencies do not have a previous agency, including a number of wartime agencies. This happens when an agency is created to administer an entirely new function. For example, CA 2076, the Pipeline Authority, was created when the Commonwealth began to transport hydrocarbon fuels by pipeline for the first time.

Transmission date

The transmission date is the date that a function (or functions) was passed from one agency to another.

All dates in predetermined date fields are subject to validation to facilitate searching, sorting, validations and consistency in reports. It is not necessary to enter day, month and year if the full date is not known. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt. (Unless notes are kept to indicate the part or parts of the date to which a qualifier applies, the use of the qualifier can be misleading, especially when just year ranges and qualifiers are presented in reports.)

Transmission date conventions

Transmission date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

Transmission date

1952

May 1952

23 May 1952

The purpose of the transmission date is to indicate when a function ceased to be administered and documented by one agency and commenced in another. If the transmission date is not included, while users will be aware that a previous/subsequent relationship existed between the agencies, they will not know whether a function was transmitted during the life span of an agency or upon creation or abolition of an agency. They will have to determine when the transmission occurred themselves. When determining the transmission date, remember that the relationship between the agencies cannot pre-date the existence of the later agency. The transmission date is also used as a basis for sorting, where there are multiple entries in the Previous Agency field.

Omit the transmission date in cases where a significant gap exists and the transmission date would cause considerable confusion to users. Explain the gap in the series descriptive note.

In RecordSearch there is a reciprocal linkage of previous/subsequent agency relationships. This means that recording a relationship between Agency B and its previous agency, Agency A, will automatically cause Agency B to be given as a subsequent agency to Agency A.

Comments

Use the Comments field to indicate the significant function(s) being transmitted between previous and subsequent agencies. Do not refer to functions that were not transferred between the agencies.

Some analysis will be required to determine the nature and extent of the relationship between the agencies, and to supply a brief comment. In some cases a comment will be unnecessary because the nature of the functions or activities documented is clear from the agency titles.

Where all functions documented in one agency are subsequently documented by another, do not enter a comment, since its meaning can be ambiguous if the subsequent agency covers more functions than just those transmitted. Where there is a need to record the transmission of functions between agencies use the following format:

Comments: for interstate transport

In general, the function terms used should be broad ones drawn from Administrative Arrangements Orders, agencies' program statements, Government Directories and the Archives CRS Thesaurus. Ensure that an indication of the functions administered by the agency is also included in the Agency Descriptive Note.

Where a comment is made, it will need to apply to both agencies and not be ambiguous, since the links are reciprocal in RecordSearch. To test the effect of any comments, read each of the registrations affected as they would appear to users of the finding aids. Make amendments if the comment for one or both of the related registrations is inappropriate. In some cases it may be best to omit the comment and explain the situation in the Agency Descriptive Note.

Documenting unregistered previous agencies

Document a link with an unregistered agency only where knowledge of the unregistered agency provides important context, but for some reason it cannot yet be registered, or is outside the Archives' sphere of operations; for example, a State Government agency that is previous to a Commonwealth Government agency, but which remains with the State Government.

Do not use Unregistered Links entries to save time or avoid the registration process for agencies that should be registered according to the Archives' policies. Nor should the unregistered linkage entries be used for information that is unconfirmed: a more appropriate area for this sort of information is the Agency Descriptive Note, where an explanation may be given. Unregistered links should be documented in the Unregistered Link Note.

Relationship to ISAAR(CPF): 2.1.8

Subsequent agency

Definition

A Subsequent agency is an agency which directly received or inherited administrative functions from the agency being described.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to help staff and clients trace changes in responsibility for an administrative function over time.

Relative importance

This field should be completed for significant registrations; and may be completed in other cases (category 4).

Sources of information

The most useful sources in establishing subsequent agencies are the agency's records and its successor's records, Administrative Arrangements Orders, legislation abolishing or creating agencies, registration sheets for possible previous agencies, Commonwealth Government Directories, Federal Guides, Commonwealth Gazettes, and reports by the agencies.

Standards for content

There can be one or more subsequent agencies. Each entry consists of agency number and title, transmission date, and comments (optional), eg

Subsequent agency
1957: CA 591 Commonwealth Office of Education, State Office, New South Wales

Amendments

The entry will need to be amended after administrative changes.

Whenever updating Subsequent agency information, check any unregistered subsequent agencies to determine whether they have subsequently been registered - if so, delete the unregistered linkage and update the registered subsequent agency linkage. Both agencies in a previous/subsequent relationship will be updated simultaneously.

Application notes

In general, the Subsequent Agency entry should be completed only for agencies which directly received functions from the agency, that is, those agencies which performed a function or activity immediately after the agency ceased performing the same function. This field should not list agencies which received the relevant function through an intermediary agency or third party.

In a few cases it is permissible to include as a previous or subsequent agency an agency that carried out an identical or near identical role but at a considerably different time and without a direct administrative link; for example, Royal Visit agencies; EXPO agencies; and parliamentary committees, Royal Commissions, and judicial inquiries which cover the same subject area or topic. Note that an agency such as a Royal Commission is not to be considered previous or subsequent to another Royal Commission simply because they were both Royal Commissions.

Some agencies do not have a subsequent agency, either because their function ceased to exist when they were abolished, or because they were created to perform a highly specific function of limited duration.

Transmission date

The transmission date is the date that a function (or functions) was passed from one agency to another.

All dates in predetermined date fields are subject to validation to facilitate searching, sorting, validations and consistency in reports. It is not necessary to enter day, month and year if the full date is not known. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt. (Unless notes are kept to indicate the part or parts of the date to which a qualifier applies, the use of the qualifier can be misleading, especially when just year ranges and qualifiers are presented in reports.)

Transmission date conventions

Transmission date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

Transmission date

1952

May 1952

23 May 1952

The purpose of the transmission date is to indicate when a function ceased to be administered and documented by one agency and commenced in another. If the date is not included, while users will be aware that a previous/subsequent relationship existed between the agencies, they will not know whether a function was transmitted during the life span of an agency or upon creation or abolition of an agency. They will have to determine when the transmission occurred themselves. When determining the transmission date, remember that the relationship between the agencies cannot pre-date the existence of the later agency. The transmission date is also used as a basis for sorting, where there are multiple entries in the element.

Omit the transmission date in cases where a significant gap exists and the transmission date would cause considerable confusion to users. Explain the gap in the Agency Descriptive Note.

In RecordSearch there is a reciprocal linkage of previous/subsequent relationships. This means that recording a relationship between Agency B and its previous agency, Agency A, will automatically cause Agency B to be given as a subsequent agency to Agency A.

There is one transmission date field to cover the previous/subsequent relationship.

Comments

Use the Comments field to indicate the significant function(s) being transmitted between previous and subsequent agencies. Do not refer to functions that were not transferred between the agencies.

Some analysis will be required to determine the nature and extent of the relationship between the agencies, and to supply a brief comment. In some cases a comment will be unnecessary because the nature of the functions or activities documented is clear from the agency titles.

Where all functions documented in one agency are subsequently documented by another, do not enter a comment, since its meaning can be ambiguous if the subsequent agency covers more functions than just those transmitted.

Where one of several functions documented by an agency is subsequently documented by another agency, an appropriate comment would be:

Comments: for interstate transport

In general, the function terms used should be broad ones drawn from Administrative Arrangements Orders, agencies' program statements, Government Directories and the Archives CRS Thesaurus. Ensure that an indication of the functions administered by the agency is also included in the Agency Descriptive Note.

Where a comment is made, it will need to apply to both agencies and not be ambiguous, since the links are reciprocal in RecordSearch. To test the effect of any comments, read each of the registrations affected as they would appear to users of the finding aids. Make amendments if the comments for one or both of the related registrations are inappropriate. In some cases it may be best to omit the comment and explain the situation in the agency descriptive note.

Documenting unregistered previous agencies

Document a link with an unregistered agency only where knowledge of the unregistered agency provides important context, but for some reason it cannot yet be registered, or is outside the Archives' sphere of operations; for example, a private corporation that inherits a function of a Commonwealth Government agency.

Do not use unregistered links entries to save time or avoid the registration process for agencies that should be registered according to the Archives' policies. Nor should the unregistered linkage entries be used for information that is unconfirmed: a more appropriate area for this sort of information is the Agency Descriptive Note, where an explanation may be given.

Relationship to ISAAR(CPF): 2.1.8