Digital Continuity 2020

Digital information and records management capability matrix

Digital Continuity is an approach to creating and managing information that can be trusted and used for as long as needed despite technological change.

Digital Continuity 2020 Policy

The Digital Continuity 2020 Policy is a whole-of-government approach to digital information governance. It complements the Australian Government's digital transformation agenda and underpins the digital economy. The policy aims to support efficiency, innovation, interoperability, information re-use and accountability by integrating robust digital information management into all government business processes.

The policy is based on three principles, and for each of them identifies what success looks like and the targets that agencies should reach by 2020. All Digital Continuity 2020 targets are expected to be achieved as part of normal business reviews and ongoing technology maintenance and investment cycles.

The principles

Principle 1 – Information is valued

Focus on governance and people

Agencies will manage their information as an asset, ensuring that it is created, stored and managed for as long as it is required, taking into account business requirements and other needs and risks. 
Case study – Parliamentary Budget Office

Principle 2 – Information is managed digitally

Focus on digital assets and processes

Agencies will transition to entirely digital work processes, meaning business processes including authorisations and approvals are completed digitally, and that information is created and managed in digital format. 
Case study – Federal Court of Australia

Principle 3 – Information, systems and processes are interoperable

Focus on metadata and standards

Agencies will have interoperable information, systems and processes to improve information quality and enable information to be found, managed, shared and re-used easily and efficiently. 
Case study – Opening government data with the NationalMap

View the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy.

Relationship with the Digital Transition Policy

The Digital Continuity 2020 policy builds on the Digital Transition Policy, which aims to transition agencies to digital information management. The new policy enables agencies to continue progress made under the Digital Transition Policy towards efficient digital information governance and management.

Targets and pathways

The Digital Continuity 2020 Policy identifies a number of key actions against each principle. To assist agencies to meet them, we have also identified a number of interim targets and pathways (pdf, 241kb). Agencies are expected to have reached targets set by the Digital Transition Policy by the end of 2015.

What success looks like

The new policy identifies what success looks like for each principle and recommends that agencies make digital information management improvements in the key areas of:

  • information governance
  • information interoperability
  • digital work processes
  • information management capabilities and professionalism.

Digital continuity will be achieved by 2020 if:

  • agency heads are accountable for information governance in their agency
  • information is created, stored, used and managed effectively, and accountably destroyed if it is no longer required
  • agencies have appropriately skilled and qualified staff responsible for information management
  • agencies have entirely digital work processes and keep information in an accessible digital form
  • agency information, systems and processes are interoperable and meet standards for short and long-term management
  • Australian Government processes incorporate information governance requirements and specifications to ensure that information remains findable, shareable and reusable.

National Archives Awards for Digital Excellence

The National Archives Awards for Digital Excellence, awarded annually, recognise and promote excellence and innovation in the management, use and re-use of digital information by Australian Government agencies.

Support from the Archives

The Digital Continuity 2020 policy will be phased in over the next five years with key targets to be achieved by 2020.

The Archives will continuously release supporting products, tools, strategies, standards and advice to assist agencies in the implementation of the policy.

Newly released products

Information governance guidance

Products under development

Minimum metadata standards

A key product that will identify the minimum metadata needed for an agency to manage digital information, including transfer to the Archives for long-term preservation and access. 

To be released by 31 December 2015.

Business systems assessment framework

Another key product based on the principles and outcomes of ISO 16175-3. The framework is risk-based and provides a simple mechanism for agencies to prioritise and assess systems to ensure they can successfully manage digital information. 

To be released by 31 December 2015.

Annual agency survey assessment tool

Currently Check-up Digital. A new version of the survey will be released in 2017.

Implementation resources

Principle 1 – Information is valued

Information governance NEW

Linking business to records

Roles and responsibilities

Compliance programs


  • 2016 – Check-up Digital
  • 2017 to 2020 – new version of the survey be released in 2017

Qualifications, skills and knowledge

Digital capabilities matrix

Principle 2 – Information is managed digitally

Reviewing business processes

Reducing paper stockpiles

Scanning incoming paper

Conducting an information review

Risks to digital continuity

Digitising a business process to eliminate 'wet' signatures

Types of digital records


Network drives


Social media


Principle 3 – Information systems and processes are interoperable

Using metadata to describe information and records

Recordkeeping metadata

AGLS Metadata Standard

A standard framework for describing the functions of government (AGIFT)

Australian and international standards

Other Australian Government agencies – resources

ISO 16175 Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments

Products soon to be released:

  • Minimum metadata standards – to be released by 31 December 2015
  • Business systems assessment framework – to be released by 31 December 2015

Other useful resources

National Archives training, events and development, including Digital Edge workshops, Industry Innovation Showcase series, GAIN Australia forums

eLearning modules – a flexible, efficient and cost-effective way to deliver training to staff

Agency Service Centre – agencies’ one-stop shop for help and advice from the National Archives

GAIN Australia network – Government Agencies Information Network supporting agency information and records managers in the Australian Government

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2015