An Overview of a Successful Records Management Policy
4 Key steps to a more efficient business.
Having a clear Records Management Policy is not just for large corporate organisations. Smaller companies can also benefit from having well-maintained records.
There are numerous advantages to implementing records management policy, these include:
- Improved legal compliance and reduction in litigation risk.
- Valuable records such as contracts, registration papers etc. are protected in the event of disaster.
- Offsite document storage in combination with shredding services reduces your documents to only those that are important and saves storage space at your offices, while still be available when needed.
In order to implement Records Management Policy you have to start with a number of key steps:
- Both management and staff must understand the need for RM Policy.
A well-thought out policy must be maintained, and implemented consistently to be of value. Thus management and staff need to be aware of the rules pertaining to document creation, management, organisation and destruction.
- Determining the Lifecycle of your documents.
Managing documents and records can be a complicated process, one that your records management policy will aim to address. You will need to evaluate the various record types employed by your organisation such as paper documents, emails, voice recordings, electronic documents, etc. Each of these documents will be created, stored and accessed in different ways. Your various documents will also have variable retention periods and their usefulness may be short or long term.
- Document Retrieval and Access Control
Once you have policy defining the lifecycle of your documents it is time to think about the retrieval process. Some documents will need to be retrieved more often while others will be highly sensitive in nature. As part of your records management policy you will also need to identify who has access to what documents as the wrong person accessing the wrong documents could have serious implications on your business.
- Record Retention Periods
Part of maintaining your records effectively is knowing when to store them and when to have them destroyed. Holding on to documents that, legally, no longer need to be kept will only add to your storage costs. Likewise, shredding records too early could cost you financially and even damage your reputation.
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