What is Records Management?
Records Management is a field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of, and information about, business activities and transactions in the form of records.
Each employee is responsible for managing your records they create and receive during their daily activities. Whether on their own, or with help from the Information Governance Officer, each employee needs to be able to:
- locate email, documents or information when needed
- reuse valuable work that you or a colleague has produced in the past
- determine the most recent version of a document
- produce evidence as to why a particular decision was made
- protect yourself, your colleagues, in the event of litigation
- support cultural, social, and historical values, helping future generations
- understand the history and collective achievements.
Management will work with employees to ensure their unit records are systematically and efficiently: created, captured, secured, stored and preserved for as long as they are needed; then destroyed or transferred once they no longer have any residual business value. In addition will also maintain the following records management objectives:
- to control the creation and growth of records
- to reduce operating costs
- to improve efficiency and productivity
- to assimilate new records management technologies
- to ensure regulatory compliance
- to minimize litigation risks
- to safeguard vital information
- to support better management decision making
- to preserve the corporate memory
- to foster professionalism in running the business
Why is Records Management Important?
Ultimately, Records Management ensures that institutional records of vital historical, fiscal, and legal value are identified and preserved, and that non-essential records are discarded in a timely manner according to established guidelines, retention policies and identified legislation.
Benefits of Records Management include more effective management of your current records (both paper and electronic); a reduced / eliminated level of record-keeping redundancies; reduced costs for records storage equipment and supplies; and increased usable office space through the elimination of unnecessary file storage. In addition, Records Management provides institutional accountability and timely access to information.
What is a record?
All information created, sent, and received in the course of your job is potentially a record. Records provide evidence of your unit’s business activities and function. Whether something is a University record (as opposed to Faculty records pertaining to teaching / research or personal records) depends on the information it contains and the context of its creation. Records can be in paper, digital, or other formats. Some examples include:
- samples and objects
- agendas and minutes
- social media sites
- maps and plans
- information in business systems
- text messages
- policy and briefing papers
- research data
Source: Information and Documentation – Records Management – University of North British Columbia