CRS Manual - Organisation controlling and Minister responsible

Organisation controlling

Definition

'Organisation controlling' refers to the organisation (whole government, learned society, church or company) to which the agency being described belongs or has belonged.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to place the agency within its broadest administrative context.

Relative importance

This field must be completed for all registrations (category 1).

Sources of information

Information sources include government directories, other secondary sources, legislation, agency staff or records.

Standards for content

This entry consists of several elements: organisation number, organisation title, start date, end date, start date qualifier, end date qualifier, and comments (optional).

Expression of dates

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

Multiple entries can be made because an agency can have more than one organisation controlling.

Amendments

The entry will need to be amended if the agency is abolished or moves from one organisation to another.

Application notes

On selecting the appropriate option on the screen, where the agency is wholly controlled by the Commonwealth of Australia, the system will automatically enter the appropriate attributes, based on the date range of the agency.

Control by multiple successive organisations

Determine the organisations controlling over the date range of the agency. For example, CA 785, Collector of Customs, Sydney  has had several organisations controlling it over time.

1827 - 1852: CO 12, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
1852 - 1901: CO 2, Colony of New South Wales
1901 - : CO 1, Commonwealth of Australia

In the next example, the Commonwealth gained responsibility for certain aspects of navigation, including lighthouses in 1915. Therefore, the controlling organisations for CA 1261, the Lighthouse at Cape Du Couedie, 1909-1959, were:

1909 - 1915: CO 26, State of South Australia
1915 - 1959: CO 1, Commonwealth of Australia
Joint organisations controlling

If control of an agency is shared by one or more organisations at the same time, then an entry should be completed for each organisation controlling showing the organisation number, the dates of control and using the Comments entry to detail the division of functions and responsibilities between the organisations if relevant. For example, Duntroon Public School (CA 1398) was jointly controlled by the Commonwealth (CO 1) and New South Wales (CO 24). The comments could be completed as follows:

For the Commonwealth relationship to the school:

Comments: for finance and facilities

For the NSW relationship to the school:

Comments: for administration

More information about the division of functions and responsibilities between the organisations should be given in the Agency Descriptive Note.

Relationship to ISAAR(CPF):

Minister responsible

Definition

The Minister responsible is the Minister of a Department of State of the Commonwealth who has been or is responsible for the agency being described.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to place the agency within its relevant Commonwealth Department(s) of State over the date range of the agency and to document a link between records and the Minister responsible for the exercise of various provisions of the Archives Act.

Relative importance

This field must be completed for agencies that report directly or indirectly to a Minister of a Department of State of the Commonwealth of Australia, to provide essential context or facilitate management (category 2).

Sources of information

Secondary sources should provide this information, for example, Administrative Arrangements Orders, Commonwealth Government Directories or Federal Guides, Commonwealth Gazettes, Commonwealth Parliamentary Papers.

Standards for content

There can be one or more Ministers responsible for an agency over a period of time, or occasionally at the same time. Each entry consists of agency number and title (usually the central office of the relevant Department of State), start and end dates of the period of relationship and comments (optional).

Expression of dates

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

Amendments

The entry should be amended if ministerial responsibility moves following administrative change.

Application notes

Some Commonwealth institutions that are not Departments of State (notably the Governor-General and Parliamentary Departments) may be included in the Minister Responsible entry. Therefore it is essential that at least one Minister Responsible entry and, desirably, all relevant entries are made.

Control by successive Departments of State

Agencies may be controlled by a succession of Departments of State. An example of this is the National Archives of Australia itself, which has been part of numerous departments since its inception.

Joint Ministers responsible

If responsibility for an agency is shared by two or more Ministers, an entry should be completed for each Minister responsible, showing the agency number, the dates of responsibility and using the comments area to detail the division of functions and responsibilities between them.

Period of relationship

The period that an agency and its Minister responsible are related should be indicated to help users identify relevant agencies. This period should cover the agency date range. 

Central offices of Departments of State

Commonwealth Departments of State are ultimately controlled by the Governor-General (CA 1) (see s. 64 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia). A central office of a Department of State is assumed to report directly to its Minister. In practice, the registration for the central office of a Department of State is viewed as that of the Department of State, and the Minister Responsible reference is shown as CA 1, Governor-General (for control purposes) with a reference in the Comments entry to the principal Department of State through which control was exercised.

Historically, this control has been exercised through the following:

1901 - 1911: CA 7, Department of External Affairs [I]
1911 - 1971: CA 12, Prime Minister's Department
1971 - : CA 1401, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Reference to the appropriate department should be included in the Comments entry in the following way:

Comments: (Through CA 12, Prime Minister's Department)

However, this comment is superfluous for the Prime Minister's Department itself. Where the relationship spans a change in Prime Minister's Departments, also indicate the period involved. For example, for CA5, Attorney-General's Department:

Minister responsible:
01 Jan 1901 - : CA 1 Governor General - (Through: 1901-1911: CA 7, Department of External Affairs [I]; 1911-1971: CA 12, Prime Minister's Department; 1971- : CA 1401, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet)
Royal Commissions and judicial inquiries

For the purposes of the Archives Act (see s. 22(5)), the Minister administering the Royal Commission Act 1902 is deemed to be the responsible Minister in relation to the records of a Royal Commission. Therefore, Royal Commissions have been controlled by:

1902 - 1910: CA 7, Department of External Affairs [I]
1910 - 1971: CA 12, Prime Minister's Department
1971 - 1972: CA 1401, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
1972 - 1975: CA 1490, Department of the Special Minister of State [I]
1975 - 1977: CA 1964, Department of Administrative Services [II]
1977 - : CA 1401, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Most judicial inquiries are similarly controlled by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet or its predecessors. If the inquiry was controlled by another department, give the correct agency reference.

Where the secretariat for a Royal Commission or judicial inquiry is provided by a body other than the Minister Responsible, mention can be made as a comment (and not as an additional entry) in the following way:

Minister responsible:
25 Mar 1971- 30 May 1972: CA 1401, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet - Secretariat provided by CA 1964, Department of Administrative Services [II]

The comment in this example is part of the CA 1401 Minister Responsible entry and does not form a second, separate entry within this element.

Parliamentary committees

Parliamentary committees should be shown as responsible to the Department of the House of Representatives (CA 691) or the Department of the Senate (CA 692) as appropriate. CA 691 and CA 692 may be regarded as Ministers Responsible for retrieval purposes.

Seek authoritative advice from the agencies before nominating a 'Minister Responsible' or 'Superior Agency' for joint committees. The Joint House Department does not currently control parliamentary committees. Some current joint committees are controlled and serviced by the House in one session and by the Senate in the next.

Courts and Tribunals

The Minister Responsible entry for the principal office of a Commonwealth court is deemed to be:

CA 1, Governor-General

This reflects the status of courts within the Commonwealth.

Other subordinate offices of courts should not be given a Minister Responsible entry. They will be linked to their principal office as agencies controlled.

In some cases, a Minister may be answerable to Parliament for tribunals and other judicial bodies that report directly to them. Only in these cases should an appropriate Minister Responsible entry be completed, otherwise it should remain blank.

Non-departmental agencies

A comment should be added to a Minister Responsible entry to indicate that an agency reports directly to a Minister, rather than through the central office of a department, eg

Comments: Minister

If such a distinction is not made to illustrate the relationship, it can lead to confusion. 

Relationship to ISAAR(CPF):