Appendix 5 –
ISBN 0 642 34449 3
? Commonwealth of Australia 2010
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National Archives of Australia DIRKS manual – Appendix5 – Organisation context APPENDIX 5
ORGANISATION CONTEXT DOCUMENT
Use this form to consolidate information about the organisation gathered during
Step A – Preliminary investigation.
The source number against each question is a cross-reference to question 22, the
register of sources.
1. Who is responsible for managing this project in your organisation?
Show details of the senior officer in charge of the project.
Name Position Phone number
Identifying the organisation and its administrative context
2. What is the name of the organisation?
Include all names that the organisation is known by, including acronyms, registered
business names, and names of business units (eg shopfronts).
3. What type of organisation is it?
For example, department, statutory body, non-statutory body, corporation, university,
etc. If your organisation is registered show relevant details.
Type Australian Company Number (ACN) or Source
other registration number (if number appropriate)
National Archives of Australia DIRKS manual – Appendix 5 – Organisation context 4. What are the defining characteristics of the organisation?
Comment on reporting arrangements (eg to parent department, directly to portfolio
minister), unique characteristics (eg the organisation’s autonomy, budgetary status, etc),
and indicate whether the organisation is the ‘lead agency’ responsible for administering
legislation which affects most government organisations.
5. What is the history of the organisation?
Provide a chronological overview of the establishment of the organisation and major
changes and events, including major losses or gains in functions and/or restructuring.
Also name earlier organisations and indicate the date range of their existence.
Date Comments Source
6. What is the structure of the organisation? Where are the various units located
if there is more than one, and what is the business activity carried out by each?
All units of the organisation need to be clearly identified so that the full range of work
carried out by the organisation is taken into account. If there are numerous units they
should be grouped into types of units that carry out the same types of work (eg overseas
posts may be grouped together). Alternatively, attach a detailed current organisational
Office-holder responsible for the organisation, eg secretary, director-general List units and their location Source Business activity number
7. Does the organisation have any administrative links to other organisations?
For example, your agency may have strong links with statutory authorities, councils,
boards of management, committees etc that are defined as separate organisations. See
A.5.2. Note the name of the organisation and the relationship to your organisation.
Name of organisation Relationship Source
National Archives of Australia DIRKS manual – Appendix5 – Organisation context Identifying the legal and regulatory framework
8. What is the official basis of the organisation and why was it established?
Identify and document the establishment of the organisation and the purpose for which it
was established. Indicate if there have been any major changes to the establishing
Establishment of the organisation Source
9. What legislation is administered by the organisation?
List legislation administered by the organisation. This may include legislation referred to
in earlier questions, and repealed legislation that was administered by the organisation
in the past. Agencies (particularly portfolio departments) with a long list of legislation
should distinguish between those they substantively administer and those for which they
have an oversight or other minor role.
Source name (short title) Source
10. What legislation affects the role or the operation of the organisation?
Indicate what legislation affects the operations of the organisation, excluding the
enabling legislation in the previous question and common administrative legislation that
underpins the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority. For example, laws on the
use and handling of chemicals may affect scientific research organisations.
Source name (short title) Business activity Source
11. Has the organisation contracted out any aspects of its business activity to
government or non-government organisations?
For example, some government agencies contract-out service provision to Centrelink.
Note specific legislative provisions and/or contractual arrangements that govern these
relationships. This information is available from annual reports.
Contracting-out details Source
National Archives of Australia DIRKS manual – Appendix 5 – Organisation context 12. Are there standards that have been imposed on or adopted by the
List mandatory and voluntary standards (or parts thereof) including best practice,
technical, or industry standards, to which the organisation adheres, such as ISO or
Australian standards. Indicate, where applicable, the regulatory body that is responsible
for monitoring compliance. Also list standards that are administered by the organisation,
for example the National Archives of Australia administers the AGLS metadata standard.
Name of standard and other details Mandatory, Source
voluntary or number
Identifying the business context
13. What does the organisation do?
List the general areas of business or the industry sector for which the organisation is
responsible (eg health, education, employment, scientific research) and major outputs,
services and products provided by the organisation.
Business activity Outputs, products or services Source
14. Are any of the business areas of your organisation’s operations subject to a
high level of litigation?
Include litigation where the organisation is either the defendant or complainant.
Comment on the nature, frequency, trends, risks and consequences of litigation. Show
different areas of business activity separately. Information on litigation is usually
available in annual reports.
Litigation details Business activity Source
15. Who are the organisation’s major stakeholders?
For ease of reference, list the stakeholders identified during the course of the preliminary
investigation and specify the nature of their interests. Stakeholders include groups that
express an opinion on the organisation’s products or services, community groups, clients
and customers, as well as the Minister, parent department, formal advisory groups etc.
Stakeholder Interest of stakeholder in the organisation Source
National Archives of Australia DIRKS manual – Appendix5 – Organisation context
Identifying the corporate culture
16. What is the current strategic focus of the organisation?
Look at the organisation’s strategic planning documents and recent executive statements.
These will identify the organisation's direction, changes in activities that are currently
carried out, or new activities.
Strategic focus Source
17. Has the organisation or any facet of its business been the subject of any recent
internal or external audits?
List any recent audits, indicating the business area involved. Note any adverse findings
including any comments on recordkeeping or information management. Basic
information on audits is available in annual reports.
Date Audit Business area Findings Source
18. Does your organisation have a formal compliance program or strategies
and/or procedures in place to ensure compliance to laws, standards, etc?
Indicate any measures in place to ensure that relevant laws, regulations, codes and
standards are not breached.
Details of compliance programs, strategies or procedures Source
19. Does your organisation have a formal risk management program in place?
Comment on the risks associated with the organisation’s business activity and the
strategies and/or procedures in place to deal with such risks. A recent government
initiative requires all agencies to prepare risk management plans.
Risk levels and risk management strategies in Business activity Source place number
National Archives of Australia DIRKS manual – Appendix 5 – Organisation context 20. How is recordkeeping managed in the organisation?
Comment on whether recordkeeping is centralised, decentralised or mixed, levels of staff
awareness, the management of paper and electronic records and whether there are
comprehensive, known policies and procedures. If there is a current disposal program,
indicate what disposal authorities are used.
Recordkeeping in the organisation Source
21. How is technology used in business systems and information management
systems, including recordkeeping and/or records management systems?
Comment on the technological capabilities of the organisation, referring to indicators
such as use of technology in business systems, work stations and work practices,
resources allocated to technology, and staff competence and training.
Technology and its use in the organisation Source
22. What sources have been used to undertake the preliminary investigation?
Compile a register of all documentary and oral sources used during the preliminary
investigation. Number each source to keep track of the sources in later steps. See
Appendix 1 – Guide to documentary sources, for advice on identifying and citing
? Commonwealth of Australia 2000