Records Management

Records Management is the systematic control of an organisation’s records, from creation to disposal.

Why is Records Management Important?

Records management is an essential part of an organisation’s broader function of governance, risk management, and compliance. It is primarily concerned with managing the evidence of an organisation’s activities. 

An organisation’s records preserve aspects of institutional memory. In determining how long to retain records, their capacity for re-use is important. Many are kept as evidence of activities, transactions, and decisions. Others show what happened and why. 

The Records Management Life Cycle

  • Every document has its own life cycle, starting from its creation and ending when it is no longer in use.
  • Historically valuable records should always be transferred to an archive for permanent preservation and conservation.
  • Records with no enduring value are destroyed.

The Records Management Life Cycle

Who is Responsible for Records Management?

  • Records Managers control the process and make sure that each record is in the appropriate place at the right time. They also have to be aware and implement policies concerning security, privacy and disaster recovery.
  • Information professionals understand how to manage the creation, access, distribution, storage, and disposition of records and information in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
  • They are also skilled at using records and information management methodology, principles, and best practices to maintain compliance with records and information laws and regulations.

Records management rescue of shipyard records. Piles of records wwhich are being accessed by a person on a step

Retention Schedules

It is difficult to ensure that the content, context and structure of records is preserved and protected when the records do not have a physical existence. This has important implications for the authenticity, reliability, and trustworthiness of records. This includes identification, retrieval and appropriate disposal of records. A records retention schedule can help manage the process.

Retention schedules are an important aspect of records management. Many organisations are subject to rules and regulations that govern how long they are required to keep records before they can safely dispose of them. Holding onto records for longer than required can expose the organization to unnecessary risk. A records retention schedule is a document that outlines how long records need to be retained for before they can be destroyed. The retention schedule should be made available to everyone involved in the life cycle process of the record outlined above.