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The Record and Information Management Appraisal

The Information Management Programme

Getting your company’s Information Management Programme right requires no small amount of effort.

In order to start your programme you first need to know how many records* you have, and how much non-record information** is stored. Once known, you will be in a position to plan how to manage your records and information.

The first foundation stage of your Information Management Programme is the Information Management Appraisal.

The Purpose of the Information Management Appraisal

In order to properly manage both paper and electronic format records and information you need to understand their value. The following are some of the details you will need to determine their value and how they will be managed:

  • Media Format (Electronic or Paper)
  • Name
  • Description
  • Level of Importance
  • How they are used
  • Location
  • Applicable Legal Requirements
  • Department they are attached to

It is important to appraise both your record and your non-record information as the latter may have significant value to your business.

 

The Appraisal Process

Perhaps the first step to appraising your company’s records is ensuring each department and its personnel are aware that an appraisal is going to take place. This way no one is caught off guard and disruptions to regular activities and routines can be kept to a minimum.

Another vital step in the process is the appraisal form. You will need to develop this form to cover the descriptive points already mentioned along with any others that are relevant to your type of business. Each department should have its own form tailored to its needs.

There are three ways to carry out your records appraisal:

  • Create an Inventory
  • Interview Personnel
  • Create a Questionnaire

Creating an inventory involves opening up filing cabinets, checking shelves, and accessing computer folders. This is the most thorough approach and it will require significant time investment. It also happens to be the most accurate method.

Interviewing personnel involves spending time with your personnel to ask them questions about the records they keep and their use. The same descriptive points should be used. This method will be faster than the first but will not produce the same accurate results.

Creating a questionnaire will take the least amount of your time, as it requires departments to appraise their own records and information. Essentially, you will develop a questionnaire for each department and task someone within that department to get them filled in.

The accuracy of this method could vary, as you do not have the same degree of control. If you designate a manger to get the questionnaire filled in and they happen to be extremely busy you may wait a long time before it is returned or it may be returned with less detail than you would like.

This is why you should make the questions easy to understand and include a completion guide to help get the questionnaire filled in correctly.

In our next article, The Record and Information Retention Schedule, you will find out more about what goes into creating a record retention schedule.

Need help with your record and information appraisal? Contact Iron Mountain today to find out about our Records Management Services.

 

* Records could be said to be any information that is subject to legal requirements or regulation. Examples include invoices, tax returns, BBBEE certification, contracts, etc.

** Non-records are not subject to any legal requirements but could still be important to the activities of your company. Examples may include marketing materials, planning documents, etc.

Note: Records and non-records may be paper or electronic.

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