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Moving office location and how to move information

Protecting personal information is very important when moving offices. Personal information should be packed, stored, shipped, unpacked and refiled securely to protect individual’s privacy. Taking these steps will help minimise accidental release of personal information and possible breaches of the Information Privacy Act 2009.

Before you move

Using an external contractor

If you are using an external contractor, you should sign a formal contract or agreement with them for moving your records from one office to another. If you have any files that need special handling you should make this clear in the contract. This will avoid confusion and delays. If you have any very sensitive records or files it may be a good idea for internal staff to move them.

Disposing of old records before the move

Moving can be a good time to dispose of surplus or outdated records. If possible, you should shred these and put them in a secure disposal bin. However, you should make sure that records are disposed of according to their retention and disposal schedules. If you need advice, ask your Document and Records Management unit for advice and help.

Disposing of or leaving behind office equipment

When moving office you may leave behind old or unwanted equipment and furniture. You should check things like filing cabinets, drawers, desks and make sure there is nothing left in them. Check in cavities and spaces behind equipment for any items. You should also completely erase electronic equipment such as computer hard drives and storage media.

Packing and logging physical files and records

Pack the files and records in appropriate boxes or packing cartons and store them in a secure place until you are ready to move them. Make sure that cartons are not marked with personal information such as client names. Box contents should be confirmed when handed to movers or placed in a removal van, and checked again when they arrive at the new location.

Logging electronic equipment and storage media

Before moving you should consider making a list of all electronic equipment, storage media, and information stored on them. Use this list again to check that all equipment has arrived at the destination.

Service personnel during a move

If there are building and maintenance contractors or IT technicians in the new office after a move, make sure that they cannot see or access personal information.

Privacy policies and planning

Moving offices is a good chance to implement or improve privacy and information security measures. It is also a good time to make sure that your information privacy policies and procedures are still appropriate to your new office.

Make sure that:

  • service counters have adequate privacy – private interview rooms, security screens, enough distance between counter and waiting areas
  • staff desks are located far enough from any service counters or public access areas so staff conversations cannot be overheard and computer screens cannot be seen from the counter
  • documents are stored in appropriate filing cabinets or compactus and can only be accessed by staff with a genuine ‘need to know’.

Moving day

Keeping track of records

You should know where files and records are at all times during a move. It is a good idea to appoint somebody to monitor the moving process. They can do a reconciliation when loading files into the removal van, and again when unloading. This way you can discover any loss early.

Keep records secure

You should put records arriving at the new office somewhere secure immediately. It is easy to overlook this, particularly if a move happens over a weekend and external moving contractors are involved. You may need an employee there to monitor unloading and to secure records.

If records are to be stored in a temporary location (for example, while an office is being fitted out), business units must make sure that the temporary location is secure enough.

When moving to a new office you should make sure that:

  • there is appropriate office furniture, including lockable drawers and filing cabinets
  • computer hardware is in place and network access, corporate applications and security measures are operational
  • electronic access passes are in place and working correctly.

After the move

Check that all files and hardware with personal information have arrived at the destination by checking against the list that you made before moving. The next step is to unpack files and records. Put them into proper storage facilities such as filing cabinets or compactus as soon as possible. If any items are identified as missing, organise thorough searches and if necessary report the loss to a supervisor or manager and to Right to Information and Privacy.

Right to Information and Privacy Unit

Phone: (07) 3227 7618

Email: privacy@justice.qld.gov.au

Last updated
16 September 2014
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