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How to Effectively Manage your Records and Information

Effective records management protects the interests and rights of staff and members of the public. It also supports efficiency, consistency and continuity of work and enables your organisation to deliver a wide range of services. When done well, it ensures that the correct information is captured, stored, maintained, retrieved and destroyed or preserved in accordance with a business need, best practice and the law.

It is evident now more than ever that having a process or strategy in place to manage information is vital for any public sector organization. With a tougher data protection framework in action, you must have the most effective records and information management procedures in place.

Practical challenges of public records management:

 

1. Retention Schedules

Digital record keeping in the public sector can be implemented incorrectly, with records being lost, stolen or destroyed meaning that when pressed for targets and timings, a full analysis is often missed for the sake of a quick solution.


2. Authorisation

Without a tight cyber-security procedure in place, significant changes to records can be made by unauthorized employees. By choosing software with internal audit module, version control and user tracking will allow you to keep a closer look at who is accessing what information and set boundaries for who is allowed to access what.



3. Responsibility

Electronic records can be lost if there is not a clear policy on who is responsible for the protection and updating of records, leading to higher risks of error and inaccuracy. Duplication – Good HR is central to good policy management, and with a tight records strategy, public sectors can accurately document human resources at their disposal. Good HR management is a central part of string policy management.



4. eDiscovery

Classifying electronic records is both a management and technical issue, with records and archives managers needing to build the necessary tools and techniques that deal with public sector initiatives.

Benefits to your organization:
• Reduced amount of records held
• Reduced storage costs
• Effective collection of records
• Compliant with regulation


Process of records and information management:

STEP 1: Creation
When information is received, ideally in both physical and digital forms, it needs to be converted into the correct format to be filed into the right place. Your records are now active.

STEP 2: Classification
Once the records have been created, they will then need to be sorted according to the set parameters and schedule of your record management system. Please ensure that whatever classification you choose benefits and suits your organisations' needs, so that records are easily retrieved, for example, multiple searchable traits and customised fields will make things easier to find when needed, especially records that need more frequent or active use.

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STEP 3: Maintenance


Ensuring that data integrity is maintained is essential. Once the document storage method is verified and classified, next is to make sure the method is well-protected. For example, using hardware upgrades to servers or keeping records in easily accessible locations for those who need to access them.
You should also include a log detailing what records you have and who has access to those records, minimising delay when records need to be used.
While maintaining active records is important, do not forget about the maintenance of semi-active or inactive records until they reach disposition. Using offsite archive storage facilities is a good way to do this, however, keeping data integrity and secure success is a big consideration for these materials.

STEP 4: Disposal
This stage applies to records that are now inactive and have expired because the information is no longer required, it is important to check if you have complied with the statutory period of maintaining data before it is shredded or transferred to an archive depending on your company’s record policy as well as the value of the records. The disposal of records should be completed as a normal part of business, however, is often suspended as it goes through litigation hold or audit hold. Making sure that your legal team are aware of developments is the perfect way to dispose of effectively as they can, therefore, handle it appropriately.

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This is the basic records life-cycle as depending on your organisation you may have to adjust the process and how you do things to fit your organisation’s needs. For example, some organisations put in extra management systems specifically for research purposes.

It is important to identify the importance of records and information management as records are the memory of an organisation, too much information resides only in the memory of personnel. Good records management protects the legal and financial aspects and interests of the Government and Public.



If you are interested in how effective records and information management can be implemented in your organization, you may want to attend our Guide to Successful Information and Records Management training course.

Learn to:
• Ensure your records management procedures are compliant with legislation
• Implement an effective records management culture within your organization
• Learn how to digitalise paper records
• Take back a digital preservation action plan
• Create more effective retention schedules for your organization
• Gain actionable strategies for transferring

Leave the day with the knowledge to excel in information management takeaway practical guidance for the retention and deletion of records.

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If you would like to discuss any of the details you have read in this blog, please contact us on 0800 542 9440 or email enquiries@moderngov.com or call 0800 542 9440