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The 7 Core Competencies of a Great Records Manager

Why your Records Manager may be one of your greatest assets


Most organisations have a Records Manager in some form or another from Filing Clerk to Chief Information Officer. Depending on the size of your organisation and the volumes of documents and records needing to be administered, your Records and Information Management Policies will vary.

What should not vary is your Records Manager’s technical ability to effectively manage your organisations documents and records. To a greater or lesser degree, your Records Manager should be able to competently do the following:

  1. Make Records Management Programmes and Services available throughout the organisation
  2. Be able to capture records of all types
  3. Logically organize and accurately describe records
  4. Provide records access to authorised persons
  5. Store all records and maintain security over them
  6. Manage the safe destruction of records according to a retention schedule
  7. Make available electronic records and information management services

Let’s take a look at these in more detail…


Records Management Programmes

For any organisation to function its documents and records need to be available to the right people when they need them. This first competency is concerned with planning, design, and the implementation of Records Management Programmes.

These programmes document the policies and procedures connected with the distribution of records within the organisation. Furthermore, these programmes will identify which records need to be available to whom and will outline record maintenance, security, technology, and training.


Records Capture

Your organisation’s Records Manager will also be responsible for the correct capture of records and documents from both internal and external sources. This is a continual process as few records stay the same over time. Thus, records will need to be reviewed and updated regularly. This requires a high degree of control over the organisations records.


Organisation and Description

Without proper organisation and description, records cannot be utilised effectively. Your Records Manager is responsible for organisational architecture, classification, and accurate description of all records within your organisation.


Access to Records

Having well organised and maintained records is great but without the necessary access controls organisation and maintenance is unlikely to last for very long. A competent Records Manager will need to have the skills to capture information about each user and then facilitate access to records through a well-planned retrieval process. This process will include referencing options, advice, and interaction with the user.

Additionally the Records Manager should have knowledge of any legal issues that may relate to certain records. The POPI Act, for example, will soon regulate personally identifiable customer information.


Protection of Records

Additionally your organisation’s Records Manager is tasked with the protection of your records and company documents. Records need to be stored in a designated area than not only provides security but also allows for efficient access. Protection of records will include both paper records and electronic records and the offsite storage facilities used will need to be designed in order to cater to the differing storage needs and access control.


Record Destruction

A competent Records Manager will also make sure that your organisation has a Records Retention Schedule. This schedule will include details on how long each classification of records needs to be kept, and when and how they will be destroyed. Maintaining proper control over the retention and destruction of your organisation’s records will ensure greater legal compliance and risk management.


Electronic Records Management

Lastly, your Records Manager must consider the implications of changing technology on your organisations records and data. Modern technology has provided many benefits to organisations through smarter, faster document handling. However, there are also new challenges that have arisen and new regulations that have come into force.

A thorough knowledge of information technology will allow your Records Manager to better meet the needs of those needing access to your organisations records.


Iron Mountain is a leading Records and Information Management company in Southern Africa. We are able to provide expert advice, solutions, and implementations that can assist Records Managers within organisations large and small. For more information, contact Iron Mountain today.


Image Credit: Copyright: jeyds / 123RF Stock Photo


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