The Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) Manual


5.5. Agency - Linkages

On this page (1 of 2) :

5.5.1.  Agency function
5.5.2.  Organisation controlling
5.5.3.  Minister responsible
5.5.4.  Persons associated with agency

Go to:  Agency linkages - page 2

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5.5.1.  Agency function

See also 5.9.  CRS Thesaurus

Definition | Purpose | Relative importance | Sources of information | Standards for content | Amendments | Application notes | Relationship to ISAAR(CPF) | Last updated

5.5.1.1.  Definition

A term selected from the National Archives of Australia CRS Thesaurus that describes a major function normally undertaken by an agency in its operations.

5.5.1.2.  Purpose

To allow users to retrieve information about agencies and their records of archival value by searching for their broad governmental or particular core business functions (rather than common administrative/housekeeping functions undertaken by most agencies) linked in time to record series through agencies, such that changes in government functions are traceable over time.

5.5.1.3.  Relative importance

This field must be completed where applicable, to provide essential context or facilitate management (category 2).

5.5.1.4.  Sources of information

Information can be found in the CRS Thesaurus and existing agency registrations for superior, previous, subsequent or related agencies.

External sources include:

5.5.1.5.  Standards for content

Enter the function exactly as it appears in the thesaurus, with the appropriate date range for that function.

5.5.1.6.  Amendments

It will be necessary to add a function to an agency which has assumed another functional responsibility and enter end dates for functions when an agency loses a functional responsibility.

5.5.1.7.  Application notes

Each agency registration should include at least one function term and, desirably, all applicable terms.

5.5.1.7.1.  Procedures for allocating functions to agencies
5.5.1.7.2.  Expression of dates
5.5.1.7.3.  Changing functions over time
5.5.1.7.4.  Agencies retaining functions but moving departments
5.5.1.7.5.  Differing functions between national and regional offices

5.5.1.7.1.  Procedures for allocating functions to agencies

The research involved in allocating functions for agencies varies with the importance of the agency.

For new Departments of State or other high level agencies, external sources such as Administrative Arrangements Orders, Commonwealth Directories and any relevant legislation may need to be consulted to determine the functions of the new agency. This research would normally be carried out as part of the agency registration procedure.

For lower level agencies, such as regional offices of a Department of State, registrations for superior and related agencies, such as other State or regional offices of the same superior agency, are valuable sources of information. Information supplied by the agency itself as part of the registration process can also be used. The functions allocated to the superior agency can be searched through the identification module of RecordSearch and transferred to the subordinate agency if appropriate.

Identify and read relevant sources, selecting terms that describe the function of the agency. These may include functions retained from previous agencies or functions allocated when the agency was established. Controlled agencies and legislation administered can also provide a guide to the functions of the agency.

Once a function has been identified for the agency:

The following example of allocating a function from the CRS Thesaurus is given for agency CA 8770 HMAS Jervis Bay (II), a catamaran based in Darwin.

Function Broad and narrower terms for this term Agency examples
Navy BT - Defence forces

NT - Navy administration 

Scope note: Centralised policy making area

NT - Navy commands: no scope note
CA 46 Department of Defence (III)

 

 

 

Navy Commands BT - Navy

NT - Maritime Commands (Navy)

Scope note: All commissioned ships and shore based operations

NT - Navy support

Scope note: Includes all commissioned and non-commissioned shore based establishments
CA 4793 

Navy commandant of South Australia

CA 5607 

Navy officer commanding Western Australia area
Maritime Commands (Navy) Scope note: All commissioned ships and shore based operations CA 8322

HMAS ANZAC (II)

CA 7025

HMAS Darwin

If a function administered by the agency is not listed in the thesaurus, determine whether there are any alternative terms in the thesaurus that may adequately describe the function of the agency. When a suitable term cannot be identified, ask for assistance from a supervisor, rather than allocating a  function term that is not entirely appropriate.

Re-read the registration to ensure consistency between:

Enter the function as it appears in the thesaurus into the agency registration. For more explanation on using a thesaurus see CRS Thesaurus. It is important to keep the function date range in line with the date range of the agency, where the period of the function coincides with that of the agency. A function may be with an agency for only a portion of the agency’s life, but cannot go beyond the start or end date of the agency.

5.5.1.7.2.  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
5.5.1.7.3.  Changing functions over time

The functions of a department or agency can change over time. Such changes occur when agencies are restructured, new functions are assigned to them or functions are moved to other agencies. It is important that the date ranges for the functions are consistent and that the range given for a function does not extend past the date when functions were removed, even if the agency itself continues to operate, eg

Agency title: Senate Legislative Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Agency date range: 10 Oct 1994 -

Agency function:

10 Oct 1994 Communications
10 Oct 1994 Cultural affairs
10 Oct 1994 Environment
10 Oct 1994 – 20 Oct 1998 Recreation

It is also possible for an agency to lose a function and then regain it in another change. It is particularly important that the date range is correct in these instances.

Agency title: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Agency date range: 12 Mar 1971-

Agency function:

12 Mar 1971Audit
12 Mar 1971Cabinet
12 Mar 1971Ceremonial functions
12 Mar 1971Public service
12 Mar 1971-19 Dec 1972Royal Commissions
12 Mar 1971-Governor General
19 Dec 1972-20 Dec 1977Arts
20 Dec 1977-Royal Commissions

When the function lost is part of a broad term, use of the broad term is no longer applicable and must be discontinued. The appropriate narrower terms should be used instead. For example, if the broad term Social welfare is used and the agency later loses responsibility for pensions and benefits then Social welfare is no longer appropriate and must be replaced by the relevant narrower terms, eg

Agency function:

12 Jan 1972 - 15 Oct 1979Social welfare
16 Oct 1979Community services
16 Oct 1979Health insurance

Conversely, when a new function is gained, review existing functions to check whether a broad term may now be suitable.

5.5.1.7.4.  Agencies retaining functions but moving departments

Agencies can move between different controlling departments without this affecting the functions for which they are responsible. The National Archives of Australia, for example, has moved between four different departments while its functions have remained constant.

5.5.1.7.5.  Differing functions between national and regional offices

While national and regional offices usually carry out the same functions, occasionally different terms may be used to describe these functions. This may occur where the central office has broad responsibility for the function and the regional offices specialise in narrower areas. This is illustrated in the registrations below where the central office uses the broad term Social welfare to describe some of the functions it performs while the regional office takes two narrow terms, Community services and Pensions and benefits, thus eliminating some of the functions performed by the central office.

Agency title: Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency, National Office

Agency date range: 01 Jul 1997

Agency function:

01 Jul 1997   Education
01 Jul 1997   Social welfare

 

Agency title: Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency, Regional Office, Hobart, Tasmania

Agency date range: 01 Jul 1997 -

Agency function:

01 Jul 1997   Community services
01 Jul 1997   Education
01 Jul 1997   Pensions and benefits

Generally, however, the research required to determine these differences is extensive and unnecessary in most cases. Only distinguish the functions of regional offices from central offices when they are extensive, obvious or important.

See also 5.9.  CRS Thesaurus

5.5.1.8.  Relationship to ISAAR(CPF): 2.1.6 (2nd ed. : 5.2.5)

5.5.1.9.  Last updated: 24 September 2004


5.5.2.  Organisation controlling

Definition | Purpose | Relative importance | Sources of information | Standards for content | Amendments | Application notes | Relationship to ISAAR(CPF) | Last updated

5.5.2.1.  Definition

The organisation to which the agency being described belongs or has belonged.

5.5.2.2.  Purpose

To place the agency within its broadest administrative context such that records produced by agencies can be linked to the administrative structure as a whole and placed accurately in their historical context.

5.5.2.3.  Relative importance

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

5.5.2.4.  Sources of information

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

5.5.2.5.  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).

5.5.2.5.1.  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.

5.5.2.6.  Amendments

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

5.5.2.7.  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.

5.5.2.7.1.  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

5.5.2.7.2.  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.

5.5.2.8.  Relationship to ISAAR(CPF)1.6, 2.1.8 (2nd ed. : 5.3)

5.5.2.9.  Last updated:  24 September 2004

5.5.3.  Minister responsible

Definition | Purpose | Relative importance | Sources of information | Standards for content | Amendments | Application notes | Relationship to ISAAR(CPF) | Last updated

5.5.3.1.  Definition

The Minister of State (represented by the relevant Department of State agency registration) who has been or is responsible to Parliament for the agency being described.

Refer s. 64 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK).

5.5.3.2.  Purpose

(i) To place the agency within its relevant Ministerial portfolio(s) (represented by the relevant Department(s) of State agency registration(s)) throughout the existence of the agency; and

(ii) To document a link between records and the responsible Minister for the exercise of various provisions of the Archives Act 1983.

5.5.3.3.  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).

5.5.3.4.  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.

5.5.3.5.  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).

5.5.3.5.1.  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

5.5.3.6.  Amendments

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

5.5.3.7.  Application notes

5.5.3.7.1.  Control by successive Departments of State
5.5.3.7.2.  Joint Ministers responsible
5.5.3.7.3.  Period of relationship
5.5.3.7.4.  Central offices of Departments of State
5.5.3.7.5.  Royal Commissions and judicial inquiries
5.5.3.7.6.  Parliamentary committees
5.5.3.7.7.  Courts and Tribunals
5.5.3.7.8.  Non-departmental agencies

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.

5.5.3.7.1.  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.

5.5.3.7.2.  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.

5.5.3.7.3.  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. 

5.5.3.7.4.  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)
5.5.3.7.5.  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.

5.5.3.7.6.  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.

5.5.3.7.7.  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.

5.5.3.7.8.  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. 

5.5.3.8.  Relationship to ISAAR(CPF)1.6, 2.1.8 (2nd ed. : 5.3)

5.5.3.9.  Last updated:  24 September 2004


5.5.4.  Persons associated with agency

Definition | Purpose | Relative importance | Sources of information | Standards for content | Amendments | Application notes | Relationship to ISAAR(CPF) | Last updated

5.5.4.1.  Definition

The Commonwealth persons with whom the agency being described had some form of official relationship, eg associated employees, Members of Parliament, Ministers, etc.

5.5.4.2.  Purpose

To provide a link to the Commonwealth persons with whom the agency had a major or close association, regardless of whether there are related personal records in custody.  This linkage assists in the identification and analysis of the records created by the person as well as records created by the agencies with which the person was associated.

The Persons Associated with Agency data element of an agency registration has a reciprocal relationship with the Agencies Associated with Person data element of a person registration.

5.5.4.3.  Relative importance

Category 3 - should be completed, where applicable, to provide additional context.

5.5.4.7.  Application notes

The data for the Persons associated with Agency linkages are only entered as Agencies associated with Person linkages in the relevant person registration.

See Agencies associated with Person descriptive element.

5.5.4.8.  Relationship to ISAAR(CPF):  1.6, 2.2.8 (2nd ed. :  5.3)

5.5.4.9.  Last updated: 24 September 2004

 


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