Susan Healy: New Records Management Code of Practice

The code was issued on 16 July 2009. Go to: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk > services to professionals > records management

Scene setting: Code is a practical statement of good practive that should not be new to practitioners. It is NOT a code of practice on information management. Nor is it new or ground-breaking. The code is a recommendation and is not mandatory. Information Commissioner does not have enforcement powers.

Good practice includes governance and culture – senior management buy-in. Policy and procedures – how you translate the intentions into practice. Personal responsibility for all relating to record-keeping – this is a vital element. Useable systems – these will facilitate good record-keeping and can be used and understood. Good processes underpin the systems. All these element together make up good records management practice.

Nine sections of the code:

Organisational arrangements to support records management: recognising different world in which we work and includes risk management. Governance framework defining roles and responsibilities. Procedures to help people. identify business systems and recognising how these impact on record-keeping. Tools to do the job.

Records management policy: importnat to have, to be endorsed by senior maangement and known about. A mandate to act in a certain way and to connect to related policies such as Data Protection and Information Security. Should also be available to the public.

Keep records needed for business, regulatory, legal and accountability: not just managing records we have but about ensuring records needed are created and kept.

Systems enabling storage and retrieval: important to ensure that the records can be kept either physically or technologically.

Know what is held and where and keep it useable: Especially keeping is useable in terms of ability to read a digital record.

Secure storage and controlled access: with due regard to sensitivity and security when soring and moving records.

Disposal Arrangements: deals mainly with business purposes rather than archival ones. Don’t keep what you don’t need. Implementing disposal and documenting it. Does not say how detailed it should be but there is a discussion of risk.

Cover records from collaborative working and out-sourcing: identifying need to consider how you work with other bodies and records implications.

Monitoring and reporting compliance and effectiveness: not prescriptive but need to know how successful your record-keeping is. How successful are you being?

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