Ministerial Order 1359 Explained

What it means for Archives and Recordkeeping in Independent & Catholic Schools in Victoria.

Following the publication of the ‘Final Report Volume 13 – Schools’ by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (RCIRCSA) in 2017, it became a commonwealth imperative for educational institutions to retain records related to child sexual abuse – including allegations – for an extended period of time.

This was further reinforced by Ministerial Order 1359 – issued by the Victorian Minister for Education on 31st January 2022 – which obliges all Victorian schools to maintain a variety of child safety & wellbeing records in accordance with Public Record Office Victoria Recordkeeping Standards, including minimum retention periods.

The order noted that the average delay for the reporting of an allegation of abuse was 23 years. As such PROV and DET have responded by significantly increasing retention periods for child safety related records to 75 years to ensure comprehensive protection of these crucial documents.

Summary of the changes

Which Schools does this Ministerial Order affect?

All Victorian Schools, including catholic and independent schools

What retention periods have changed?

Any record relating to child safety and wellbeing needs to be kept in accordance with PROV guidelines, specifically the 22/06 Retention and Disposal Authority. 

This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Camp and Excursion records
  • Wellbeing and Health Records
  • Records documenting care and control of children while not under parental or school supervision
  • Volunteer Program Records
  • Teacher placements
  • Visitor Logs

Why have these changes been made?

These changes are part of the broader Child Safety Framework which aims to reduce the risk of child abuse in schools and boarding premises.

How can we ensure records retention times and changes are managed accurately?

As per the Ministerial Order schools need to ensure they have processes in place to meet Public Record Office Victoria Recordkeeping Standards. This includes ensuring records are securely cataloged and stored, records can be accessed in a timely fashion, and the minimum retention periods are being adhered to.

What are the most common archiving mistakes made around document retention?

The main issue we come across in schools is a lack of knowledge surrounding what needs to be kept and for how long. This, coupled with a lack of systematic processes, leads to records being misplaced or destroyed.

How we can help

Smart Records Group, an industry leader in archive management for schools, can help you implement a solution to ensure educational institutions meet compliance requirements for child safety records while guaranteeing efficient, secure and systematic retention.  

Given the sensitive nature of child safety records, maintaining confidentiality and preventing unauthorised access or alteration is paramount. We employ storage controls and software, guaranteeing that only authorised individuals can access these critical records.

Please reach out if you have any questions pertaining to your archives. Whether it is in relation to the Ministerial Order 1359, retention dates or archiving in general. We are always here to assist you.



Please reach out if you have any questions pertaining to your archives. Whether it is in relation to the Ministerial Order 1359, retention dates, or archiving in general –  we are always here to assist you!

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