Quick Guide to Better Records Management
Prior to implementing a better records management system within your organisation, check your current records management practices against the Seven Point Checklist below.
The more points that are taken into consideration during everyday working the better the records - and information in them - will be managed.
R – E – C – O – R – D – S
Seven Point Checklist
1. Records are your audit trail. They must be created and managed to provide:
Accountability (demonstration appropriate business decisions have been made).Knowledge (allow previous experience and best practice inform present thinking).Compliance (evidence that the business is operating within the law).Protection (permit the business to defend itself).
2. Electronic records are accountable in addition to paper records, and have to be equally well managed, particularly regarding:Storage (adequate levels of security, meaningful document titles, structured classification system).Accessibility (searching on meaningful titles, access to shared folder system).Disposal (regular deletion of expired records, easy transfer of business records to the organisations structured folder system).
3. Corporate ownership, not personal possession of business records. These records:Belong to the organisation, not to any individual member of staff.Must be available as and when required by the organisation.Are subject to corporate policy and procedures.
4. Omit redundant subjective comments from business records. Record all information with care, and ensuring it: Has business significance only.Can be viewed by the data subject without recourse for reasonable complaint.
5. Record the files you create. This will assist in: The preparation of a planned corporate structured paper and electronic records filing system.Avoid the potential for duplication.Provide speedier access to information for daily business and in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
6. Draft exclusion.File a draft only if it contribute considerably to the decision-making process.Under normal circumstances, file only the final version of the document.Take into account the space taken up by numerous drafts - are they necessary?If multiple drafts or versions need to be filed, make sure they are clearly marked, independently to show their relation to each other and any superseding versions.
7. Send Freedom of Information and Data Protection information requests to the Records Manager to log a.s.a.p. The time for any information requests your organisation receives under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is currently set at a maximum time for response of 20 working days.Whereas the current response time for a subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998 is 40 calendar days.
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What are Records