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Records Management Policy – What should it contain? Part 3

Records are at the heart of any Records Management Policy

No Records Management Policy would ever be complete without covering records and their handling. The purpose of any policy document is to govern records, their creation, management, use, and final destruction.

 

Handling of Your Records

Every record in your organisation will pass through different stages, that is to say, they have a life cycle. Managing your records is about knowing and managing this life cycle.

 

The Creation of Records

Your Records Management Policy must cover how and why records are created. Records serve as evidence that activity is taking place. Different records will cover different activities. Thus, it is important that your employees understand how and why they must make use of records.

Your Policy needs to outline how this takes place, who creates records and under what circumstances.

 

Classifying Your Records

Managing records are impossible without first classifying them. Every record must be classified or categorised in a manner that makes sense. Your Records Management Policy should communicate this need and outline all the steps needed for correct classification.

 

Correct Storage of Records

Since records are infinitely valuable to your organisation as well as subject to legislation, it is important that your records are stored with due regard for both their use and preservation.

It is imperative that your Policy document outlines correct storage specifications and procedures. It should also contain details about offsite document storage providers, what standards their facilities should meet, and how records are to be transferred to and from these facilities.

Contacting a specialist Records Management Company is a good idea as they should be able to assist you with some of the details regarding safe records storage.

 

Access Control and Your Records

Few, if any, of your records, will need to be accessed by everyone in your organisation. Every record should have detailed access control information and be accessible only to those who’s function requires access. The better your access control the lower the risk of large security breaches.

Make sure your policy details how documents are accessed, by whom, and the process of accessing them from both internal and offsite storage facilities as well as electronic access portals.

 

Securing Your Records

Where your records end up in the wrong hands or are damaged, or lost, they can do untold damage to your organisation. Thus, it is vital that you take steps to secure your records. Make sure your Records Management Policy clearly details how and why your records must be secured.

Security actions should include the movement of records through the organisation and to storage areas. Also, of importance is the correct handling of records, simple things like not eating or drinking near records can often be forgotten.

Outlining disaster prevention and recovery actions are also part of securing your records so do take this up in your policy.

 

Record Destruction

Finally, your records will reach the end of their life-cycle. This may be after a few years or it may be after many years depending on the legislation governing them and your own records needs.

To ensure compliance with legislation it is necessary to detail how and when your records are disposed of and by whom. Authorisation details and checks along with disposal methods and proof of destruction should be contained in your policy.

 

Iron Mountain, Your Records Management Specialist

As a key player in the Records Management industry and will years of experience, Iron Mountain can offer you a wealth of knowledge and customizable solutions to meet your Records Management needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can help secure your organisation’s records and its future.

 

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