The purpose of the Guideline is to provide analysts and archivists with criteria concerning when a direct transfer of records not covered by a Records Disposition Authority should be accepted and when it should be deferred for the development of a Records Disposition Submission within the Multi-Year Disposition Plan (MYDP) process. This Guideline does not include direct transfers of records that are covered by a valid Records Disposition Authority (including the GRDS), as the acceptance of such transfers are entirely the responsibility of GAD and VSA. On a related matter, this Guideline also revisits the transfer of records of defunct programmes and institutions.
The reason for having these criteria for direct transfers of records not covered by a valid Records Disposition Authority, when they were first formulated in 1990, was to ensure that the planned approach to records disposition is not undercut by departments using the "direct transfer route" to avoid having to prepare submissions and obtain authorities for their records. As well, "direct transfer" appraising means that archivists get repeatedly called to review over the years similar sets of records, in a piecemeal approach, according to departmental priorities, rather than appraising the records once, comprehensively, using the macro-appraisal methodologies, and issuing a continuing authority based on archival priorities. Even for one-shot transfers of large bodies of records, where an Authority is not needed, it is often desirable to plan such work within an MYDP, so that both the department and the archivist can get credit for and plan the use of major resources, such as boxing and listing 800 metres of paper files or 20,000 photographs. When such large transfers are foreseen and made part of the MYDP, they are termed "planned direct transfers". This Guideline primarily addresses "unplanned direct transfers", that is, those that come up after an MYDP has been established. Conversely, while respecting all these still-valid points, there is no desire by this Guideline to put a lot of red tape in the path of departments and archivists and force them to use MYDP's and formal Authorities when these are not necessary.
Unplanned Direct Transfers of archival records should be accepted directly into GAD or VSA if all the following criteria are met:
The vast majority of the records possess archival value, and
If the above four criteria are not met, and the records are not at risk, then either a Records Disposition Submission should be developed covering the records or a planned direct transfer target within the MYDP for the institution should be established, unless very few resources are involved to effect their transfer. Such exceptions require RDD concurrence.
If the records possess archival value and are clearly at risk of being lost or destroyed, the records should be transferred immediately as an unplanned direct transfer even if the above criteria are not met. RDD and VSA/GAD make such "risk" decisions jointly, no matter from where within the NA or the creating department the risk is first perceived.
AGRB's BMC is on record that all unplanned direct transfers into GAD and VSA shall be coordinated through the MGIH contact point in the institution, rather than going quietly out the back door to the NA, and that the RDD chief and analyst shall be informed of each such unplanned transfer, so the NA's team speaks with one voice and the MYDP process can be adjusted to be more sensitive to front-line realities.
MYDP's document the commitments for both the NA and client departments by identifying priorities and resources to be involved is planning and processing disposition activities. Planned direct transfers will be included in the Plan when they are negotiated as a natural part of the MYDP process.
In situations where the need for direct transfer of records becomes apparent after the MYDP is in place, a direct transfer can be made as an unplanned activity provided that the work involved will not detract significantly from planned activities. If the direct transfer constitutes a major effort on the part of either the institution or the National Archives, the MYDP should be amended to account for this increased work.
Any potential unplanned direct transfers will be brought to the attention of the RDD analyst and the appropriate departmental contact notified (usually the principal contact official). Analysts will ensure that the principal contact is briefed on the situation. Analysts and archivists should records the reasons for any decision taken according to these Guidelines and send it to the Disposition Secretariat for filling under the 6237 block by government department name.
Treasury Board Secretariat issued in 1992 a "Guide for Winding-up Amalgamating and Restructuring Organizations - Key Steps". This guide suggests that subject matter specialists in the organization would communicate with counterparts in central or common service agencies, including the National Archives when the organization goes defunct.
The guide provides specific advice on Records Management; a copy is attached (Attachment 1). Note as part of clause #4, the affected records manager should contact the Director, Disposition and Evaluation, now the Director, Records Disposition Division.
National Archives will provide guidance and procedures based on the National Archives Act and Treasury Board's policy on the Management of Government Information Holdings.
The analyst and archivist should investigate each case and decide what needs to be done in accordance with the attached Procedural Guidance for Analysts and Archivists (Attachment 2). Records of defunct programs become the property of the National Archives. If the records have archival value as designated in a valid Records Disposition Authority, they are transferred to GAD or VSA from the Ottawa-Toronto-Montreal regions, or to the archival holdings within the FRC's in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Halifax. If the records do not have archival value, they are retained in a Federal Records Centre until their retention period expires. If the archival value of the records is unknown, they are retained in a Federal Records Centre until an appraisal of their archival value can be made as part of GAD and VSA's planned custodial work. To avoid a glut of records arriving at the centres, however, every effort should be made to determine archival value before transfer to the FRC involved.