Good records management is critical to maintain efficient business practices and procedures.
An effective departmental records management program optimizes the use of records while limiting the costs and risks that can come with poorly managed records. Organized records should meet the following tests over time:
Following good records management practices has many benefits including:
There are several steps to implementing a records management program in your department.
Identify the individuals responsible for maintaining records
When developing or improving a filing system, the record custodian should gain the support of both the administration and the users of the system. Administrative support legitimizes the project and confirms the cooperation of all members of the department.
Every member of the department should be involved in the process. The record creator may provide important insight when analyzing the records. Staff can help determine which aspects of the present system work well and should be retained. Staff can also help identify specific problems that must be changed. Most importantly, involving others in the process makes them more amenable to using the system once it is implemented.
Identify departmental records
Consider the following criteria to identify a record:
Conduct an inventory of departmental records
An inventory will help identify:
Determine if your department is the Office of Record
The university is required to follow the retention guidelines in the State University of New York (SUNY), New York State (NYS), or Research Foundation (RF) record retention schedules. Use the appropriate schedules to identify the retention period for the records (regardless of medium) your department maintains.
Transient records, regardless of medium, convey information of temporary value, have a very short-lived administrative, fiscal or legal value and can be disposed in an appropriate manner once the need has expired. Typically, the retention is event-driven and not a fixed period of time.
Clean out records that are beyond the approved retention period
List the departmental records and describe how they are organized and maintained.
An effective file plan will help to:
Develop a file structure, which is the framework for the file plan
Document the file plan (i.e., recordkeeping requirements and procedures) and provide details on:
Organize and store remaining records
Implement and communicate the records program
Monitor and revise the program as needed