Records Management Plan - Additional Elements
For evidence under each element please refer to the appendices
4.0 Additional Elements
It is realised that the reliance of the Council’s business on electronic records can only increase. With the introduction of a central scanning unit and the introduction of a corporate EDRMs the Council is moving towards the Record being the Digital Record.
Once declared a record the information will be stored in a format which cannot be edited or altered and which is capable of future migration and to ensure, as far as is possible, that it remains readable and usable. The format recommended for this purpose is pdf or pdf-A.
In order to move forward toward reliable retention of electronic records while they are current, semi-current and held for long-term preservation and to ensure their future legal admissibility, an electronic preservation strategy must be developed, which will:
- Determine compatibility across the Council
- Define appropriate levels of access to information
- Enable records in an electronic format to be kept for long-term retention to meet administrative, statutory and historical needs
- Prevent the loss of records caused by media deterioration and obsolescence
- Ensure that records and their contextual metadata are stored in such a way as to prevent future modification or deletion by users
- Preserve data and metadata in a format that is independent of proprietary hard and software
Once a system is obsolete all records that are to be preserved should be migrated to a new system or medium capable of storing, retrieving and allowing them to be understood, to ensure that the record remains useable over time.
Records should be stored on media that ensure their usability, reliability, authenticity and preservation for as long as they are needed. This may involve migration to different software or formats, when existing software become obsolete or damaged. When information has been migrated from one media to another evidence of this should be kept along with details of any variation in design and format.
Standards and best practice
The Council will use British and International Standards to support good records management practices. It will also adopt best practice suggested by external and professional bodies including the National Records of Scotland, Scottish Council on Archives, the Archives and Records Association and the Information and Records Management Society. The Records Management standard is BS15489
Appendix 46 - ISO 15489
Staff will manage current, active, draft and working documents according to good record management principles. Working documents will be created, drafted in the electronic document management system adopted by the Council if appropriate and possible, or the shared drive if not. Care will be taken to title and version control records according to the Council’s naming conventions and file plan where possible. Care will be taken to assign correct access permission and security to documents.
Documents in a workflow system will be automatically transferred through the workflow process and staff will adhere to this system and not save additional copies. Documents will be kept in the electronic document management system adopted by the Council and not saved into other systems, unless professionally required to do so.
Care will be taken over documents saved onto laptops, memory sticks, Netbooks, Smartphones and other mobile working devices and deleted once work has been complete and checked back into the EDRMS. Appropriate encryption and password protection will be applied. This will keep the Council compliant with legislation especially the Data Protection Act.
Documents will be shared electronically as appropriate and will not be printed out. No paper documents will be filed unless e.g. a signed original record is required for legal purposes.
Personal working space will be allocated staff to create, draft and edit documents. Once the documents are ready for consultation they will be published to change from draft status and made available via the system to other staff as appropriate. To ensure that such sharing is easy staff should use the corporate file plan.
Drafts, working notes and previous versions will be deleted once finalised and only final and agreed versions of documents will be saved as a Record of work done and completed. Documents so saved will have retention periods added to them according to the Council Retention and Disposal Schedule and managed according to records management principles.
Emails will be treated as documents and deleted once finalised unless the information they contain, or attachments, is required as a Record of work done. In this case the email will be saved as a Record according to its subject and the appropriate retention period added. It will be saved according to the corporate file plan for the subject matter it relates to.
All documents and records are subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act.
The plan applies to the Council and to its partners and third party service suppliers.
It applies whether services are delivered in-house, through partnership arrangements or contracted out. Procurement use the Guidance on how to build a set of terms and conditions to ensure compliance with the Public Records (Scotland) Act.
Records Management is important to ensure that in its record creation, storage, access, security, sharing of information the Council and its third party partners and suppliers are compliant with legislation. This in turn ensures that the public have confidence that the Council keep their information secure, up to date and accurate.
It is important as the Council moves towards the electronic version being the Record that scanning and record management is done to legal evidential standards to ensure that electronic information is acceptable in court.
Records management will keep abreast of legislation to ensure that records management supports new legislation.