Fundamentals of good records management

Any information that the University is required by law to keep and/or any information it needs to carry out its activities are formal records. Examples include minutes of meetings, staff and student files, exam papers and correspondence.

Records management cover records of all formats and media - including paper/other physical media, and electronic records. It should be stressed that records management needs to be carried out throughout the record's existence. The process does not begin when a record is transferred to a records centre; it begins with the decision to create the record and is performed throughout the life of a document, so everyone who handles a record is partly responsible for its management.

Why is records management important?

  • Records build up a collective memory and support the image of the University which is presented to the outside world
  • They are historical proof of the activities, decisions and policies of the University and ensure legal, administrative and audit requirements are met
  • Well-managed records make work easier and more efficient; they are vital for routine, day-to-day tasks and they support decision-making
  • Poorly managed records can cause problems for us and for others
  • Records stored in effective, efficient and cost-effective filing systems saves money on storage, reduces misfiles, leads to quicker retrieval of records and makes day-to-day work simper and easier

Where should I get started?

Consider what will enable you to best carry out your work. Factors to think about include:

  • How others can access the files if necessary
  • How to avoid storing too much for too long
  • How to ensure records are kept for as long as necessary

The main points to remember are:

  • Only create records where necessary and avoid duplication
  • Create a filing system that can be easily accessed by all who have permission
  • Ensure security arrangements are in place e.g. computer passwords, locked cabinets etc.
  • Sort your files regularly
  • Consult Guidance Notes which offer detailed advice on specific areas of Records Management
  • Contact Records Management for more advice and practical assistance