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Access examination statistics

Created: 27 May 2016


Statistics on access examination from the Annual Reports of the National Archives of Australia.

You can click on a trace in the legend to hide/show it. See below for the raw stats. Years may not be directly comparable because the way in which the statistics were collected changed in 2011-12.

And as percentages:

Annual Report 1998–99

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/1998-99/index.aspx

p. 32:

Access status of record items examined

  1996–97 1997–98 1998–99
Items opened without exemption 59,768 137,892 111,803
Items opened with partial exemption 1,627 1,528 1,423
Items wholly exempt 165 103 227
Items containing no open period material 170 197 671
Total 61,730 139,720 114,124

Annual Report 1999-2000

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/1999-2000/index.aspx

p. 50:

Access status of record items examined

  1997–98 1998–99 1999–2000
Items opened without exemption 137,892 111,803 123,108
Items opened with partial exemption 1,528 1,423 2,845
Items wholly exempt 103 227 172
Other (eg closed period) 197 671 506
Total 139,720 114,124 126,631

Note the change from ‘Items containing no open period material’ to ‘Other (eg closed period)’.

Annual Report 2000–2001

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2000-01/index.aspx

p. 60:

Access status of record items examined

  1998–99 1999–2000 2000–2001
Items opened without exemption 111,803 123,108 213,674
Items opened with partial exemption 1,423 2,845 4,041
Items wholly exempt 227 172 159
Other (eg closed period) 671 506 1,213
Total 114,124 126,631 219,087

Annual Report 2001–2002

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2001-02/index.aspx

p. 51:

Access status of record items examined

  1999–2000 2000–2001 2001–2002
Items opened without exemption 123,108 213,674 110,390
Items opened with partial exemption 2,845 4,041 3,511
Items wholly exempt 172 159 123
Other (eg closed period) 506 1,213 1,840
Total 126,631 219,087 115,866

Annual Report 2002–2003

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2002-03/index.aspx

p. 54:

Access status of record items examined

  2000–2001 2001–2002 2002–2003
Items opened without exemption 213,674 110,390 112,026
Items opened with partial exemption 4,041 3,511 3,979
Items wholly exempt 159 123 739
Other (eg closed period) 1,213 1,840 2,797
Total 219,087 115,864 119,541

Annual Report 2003–2004

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2003-04/index.aspx

p. 31:

Access status of record items examined

  2001–2002 2002–2003 2003–2004
Items opened without exemption 110,390 112,026 435,143
Items opened with partial exemption 3,511 3,979 4,160
Items wholly exempt 123 739 345
Other (eg closed period) 1,840 2,797 1,112
Total 115,866 119,541 440,760

Note the addition of explanatory notes to the table:

 Table from Annual Report

Annual Report 2004–2005

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2004-05/index.aspx

p. 32:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2002–2003 2003–2004 2004–2005
Wholly released 112,026 435,143 240,927
Partially released 3,979 4,160 4,343
Withheld from public access 739 345 171
Other (eg closed period) 2,797 1,112 0
Total 119,541 440,760 245,441

Note that I’ve kept the format the same as previous years, even though as you can see from the image below, the printed layout has changed. The labels have also changed.

Note change in layout as several previously separate tables are now all munged together:

 Table

Annual Report 2005–2006

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2005-06/index.aspx

p. 25:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006
Wholly released 435,143 240,927 217,765
Partially released 4,160 4,343 4,277
Withheld from public access 345 171 245
Other (eg closed period) 1,112 0 0
Total 440,760 245,441 222,287

Note on the ‘wholly released’ total:

‘A decrease occurred because the record series examined and cleared in 2004–05 and 2005–06 comprised fewer individual records than the series examined and cleared in 2003–04.’

Annual Report 2006–2007

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2006-07/index.aspx

p. 42:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007
Wholly released 240,927 217,765 286,211
Partially released 4,343 4,277 4,732
Withheld from public access 171 245 299
Total 245,441 222,287 291,172

Note that the ‘Other’ category has disappeared completely.

Annual Report 2007–2008

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2007-08/index.aspx

p. 46:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008
Wholly released 240,927 217,765 286,211 132,339
Partially released 4,343 4,277 4,732 4,064
Withheld from public access 171 245 299 448
Total 245 441 222 287 291,172 136,851

Note on ‘wholly released’:

‘Fewer whole series were opened to public access than in previous years.’

Note that it’s now a four year comparison.

Annual Report 2008–2009

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2008-09/index.aspx

p. 38:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009
Wholly released 217,765 286,211 132,339 181,525
Partially released 4,277 4,732 4,064 3,316
Withheld from public access 245 299 448 267
Total 222,287 291,172 136,851 185,108

Note that a distinction is made for the first time between ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ access examination.

Simple access examination is managed within the Archives.

Complex access examination generally requires referral to other departments or agencies for expert advice on exemptions. This category includes material with ongoing national security, defence and international relations sensitivities.

There was also a review of access procedures (p. 4):

The Archives Act provides a general right of access to most government records. Records are examined for public access in response to a request from a researcher or as part of our program of proactive examination of records. A significant risk associated with this is the inadvertent release of exempt information, especially that which retains ongoing national security, defence or international relations sensitivities.

To address this, during the year we commissioned an external review of our access examination processes. This review, together with a previously commissioned review, resulted in recommendations to reduce this risk. The majority of recommendations were implemented, including the establishment of a new business unit dedicated to the access examination function, construction of a secure accommodation area, and installation of a dual-site local area network to manage highly classifi ed and sensitive information. Further, an interdepartmental committee on the public release of classified and sensitive archival records was established to oversee the development of whole-of-government access examination processes.

p. 169 – definition of ‘Access Examination’:

The process of examining records to i dentify any exempt information they may contain.

Annual Report 2009–2010

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2009-10/index.aspx

p. 38:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010
Wholly released 286,211 132,339 181,525 303,383
Partially released 4,732 4,064 3,316 4,027
Withheld from public access 299 448 267 250
Total 291,172 136,851 185,108 307,630

Annual Report 2010–2011

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2010-11/performance.aspx

p. 28:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011
Wholly released 286,211 132,339 182 525 303 383 170 616
Partially released 4,732 4,064 3,316 4,027 4,732
Withheld from public access 299 448 267 250 289
Total 291,172 136,851 185,108 307,630 175,636

Note there’s now a 5 year comparison.

Annual Report 2011–2012

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2011-12/index.aspx

p. 39:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012
Records wholly released 303,383 170,616 102,778
Records partially released 4,027 4,732 4,703
Records withheld from public access 250 289 285
Total 307,630 175,636 107,766

Includes a note on the totals for this year:

For 2011–12 all data was sourced from the reference and access module of RecordSearch. In previous years a combination of different electronic databases was used to collate the statistics.

Annual Report 2012–2013

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2012-13/index.aspx

p. 38:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013
Records wholly released 170,616 102,778 212,243
Records partially released 4,732 4,703 4,376
Records withheld from public access 289 285 239
Total 175,636 107,766 216,858

From 2011–12 all data was sourced from the Reference and Access module of RecordSearch. In previous years a combination of different electronic databases was used to collate the statistics.

Annual Report 2013–2014

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2013-14/

p. 26:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014
Records wholly released 102,778 212,243 414,453
Records partially released 4,703 4,376 5,641
Records withheld from public access 285 239 659
Total 107,766 216,858 420,753

Significant resources were committed to improve the timeliness of examination and to resolve a backlog of approximately 20,000 applications. The Archives undertook extensive consultation with researchers and agencies, and with their support an access examination taskforce was established in October 2013 to target the backlog. The taskforce released records relating to more than 7457 applications. In addition, the taskforce globally opened 357,434 records not requiring examination. A backlog of 12,543 applications remained at 30 June 2014, and will continue to be addressed by the Archives.

Annual Report 2014–2015

http://annualreport.naa.gov.au/2014-15/index.aspx

p. 28:

Access decisions resulting from examination

  2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015
Records wholly released 212,243 414,453 429,423
Records partially released 4,376 5,641 9,824
Records withheld from public access 239 659 1,026
Total 216,858 420,753 440,273

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