Free Essay

Records Management

In: Business and Management

Submitted By sasha88
Words 5047
Pages 21
Abstract /Project summary

Problem statement – improper records management in the finance department .

What is records management?
Records management is a system to manage the creation, copying, distribution, filing, retrieval, storage and disposal of the records created or received in the course of business.

Records are information in any media created or received in the course of business, regardless of location or physical form.

They include not only paper and electronic files (including databases and e-mail) but also information stored in CDs, audio, video and data tapes, sound recordings, films, photographs, books, maps and many other media.

Why is records management important?

Records contain information that is a valuable resource and an important business asset. They are required as evidence of policies and activities of companies (to fulfil legal, tax and audit obligations) and for the day-to-day management of businesses.

Effective records management enables efficient and systematic capture and retention of information contained within records, and therefore maximises their use as a business resource, while minimising the time, money and effort spent on their retrieval and storage.

Records enable business organisations to:

conduct their business in an orderly, efficient and accountable manner;

deliver services in a consistent and fair manner;

support and document policy formation and managerial decision making;

provide consistency, continuity, and productivity in management and administration, for example in the event of personnel movements and departures;

conduct their business in an orderly, efficient and accountable manner;

deliver services in a consistent and fair manner;

support and document policy formation and managerial decision making;

provide consistency, continuity, and productivity in management and administration, for example in the event of personnel movements and departures;

protect the interests of the organisation and the rights of employees, customers, and present and future stakeholders;

support and document current and future research and development activities, developments and achievements, as well as historical research;

establish corporate identity and maintain corporate memory.

Programme Objectives

Compliance with legal, tax and audit obligations To enable the company to manage its records in accordance with all applicable legal, tax and audit obligations.

Business efficiency To promote management of company records so as to maximise their use as a business resource.

Best practice in the creation, distribution and retention of records To provide for the creation, distribution and retention of records only where there is an identifiable business reason or a legal, tax or audit obligation to do so.

Disposal of unneeded records and cost savings To enable the company to identify and dispose of records for which there is no further business need or legal, tax or audit obligation to retain and so avoid unnecessary administration and storage costs.

Programme Principles & Responsibilities

Ownership of records All records created or received by individuals engaged in the company's business (which may include contractors and secondees as well as employees) are the property of the company and do not belong to individuals, departments or functions.

Records management procedures enable the company easily and accurately to identify and manage its records.

Accountability for records management The Board of Directors has overall accountability for the company's records.

Responsibility for records management is delegated to the General Manager.

Specific responsibility for the development and implementation of the records management policy and procedures is delegated to the Records Manager.

Policy compliance The Board is responsible for ensuring implementation of the records management policy and procedures.

Retention and disposal practices are reviewed at least once a year in order to confirm that they are consistent with the policy.

The General Manager is required to make an annual compliance statement confirming that the company is compliant with Group Records Management Policy or will be compliant by a specified date.

Classification of records and retention periods Formal procedures are established for identifying and recording the categories of records which the company has and for approving and recording the periods for which each category of record is to be retained.

Such procedures enable the company to document and classify its records by category and to manage the records within each category in accordance with their approved retention periods.

Creation, distribution and retention of records Records should be created, distributed and retained only where there is an identifiable business reason or a legal, tax or audit obligation to do so.

Records should be stored in the most appropriate and cost-effective way.

Specific procedures are implemented for the long-term storage of records to ensure that they are preserved in good condition and to facilitate their retrieval when required.

Disposal of records Records should be disposed of promptly after they cease to be required for business purposes and/or to meet legal, tax or audit obligations.

Methods of disposal should be appropriate to the type of record to ensure that relevant security measures are applied and that any applicable legal obligations (for example as to confidentiality) are complied with.

Electronic records There is a specific provision within the records management policy and procedures for the management of electronic records.

Records management personnel are to be consulted in any decision concerning changes to hardware, software and/or storage media which may affect the management of the company’s electronic records.

Updating procedures The records management policy and procedures will be reviewed regularly and updated as necessary, and as soon as reasonably practical, to reflect changes in legal, audit and tax requirements, current business needs and best practice.

Role of Group Records Manager The Group Records Manager is responsible for promoting, subject to individual circumstances, consistency of procedure and compliance with the Group Records Management Policy throughout Group companies.

The Group Records Manager will provide advice, guidance and training on all aspects of the Group Policy and will compile status reports for the Company Secretary, the Main Board of British American Tobacco p.l.c. and the Group’s regional audit committees, as required.

Adoption of Records Management Policy

Each Group company needs to adopt its own records management policy which reflects the Group Policy.

It should incorporate detailed and specific procedures for records management.

It is the Board of Directors of each Group company which has overall accountability for the company’s records.

The specific records management policy for each company needs to be formally approved by the Board of that company.

Responsibilities & Documentation

Responsibility for records management

Records Managers are responsible for: overseeing the development and implementation of the records management policies and procedures of the company or companies for which they have records management responsibility

monitoring compliance with such policies and procedures

maintaining the relevant records management documentation

The Review Team

Each company or “cluster” of companies should have a Records Management Review Team

The main role of the Team members is to approve the Retention Schedules for legal, tax and audit needs and to take an overview of the company’s business requirements

Department Managers

The manager of each Department (or Function) is responsible for records management in that Department

They may delegate specific responsibilities to managers of individual Workgroups and to Records Coordinators but they are required to: approve the Retention Schedules for local business needs sign an annual records management compliance statement.

Workgroup Managers

A Workgroup is a group of people who share work, information and records or types of records
It may be a small Department (or Function), in which case the Workgroup Manager would also be the Department Manager
In a larger Department a Workgroup could be a section of that Department
Responsibility for overseeing records management activities may be delegated to a Workgroup Manager and they may be required to sign annual compliance statements

Records Coordinators

Each Workgroup should have a Records Coordinator (though a Coordinator may work with more than one Workgroup)
The Coordinator will administer and assist with the records management procedures, such as: updating Retention Schedules sending records to storage labelling paper and electronic records disposing of records which have completed their retention periods

Records management documentation
The Group Policy requires each Group company to establish formal procedures for identifying and recording the categories of records which it has and for approving and recording the periods for which each category of records is to be retained

Each company therefore needs to adopt and use standard documentation which reflects accepted best records management practice

Control List

This shows all the Companies, Facilities (sites), Functions (where applicable), Departments and Workgroups for which a Records Manager is responsible
There is usually a separate Control List for each Company
The Control List is constructed and used by the Records Manager

Retention Schedules

These record the types or categories of records (Records Series) in each company, together with their approved retention periods
There should be a Workgroup Schedule for each Workgroup and a General Schedule which is used throughout each company
The General Schedule lists the common Records Series produced and used by many or all Workgroups in a company
Workgroup Schedules list the Records Series specific to individual Workgroups

What is the function of a Workgroup Schedule?

It tells people how long to keep the records

It assists new people coming into a Workgroup, so they can see the key records they are responsible for and what physical form those records are in

It helps people in another part of the company if they need to know where to find records, which Workgroup is responsible for them and how far back they can look for records

Records Management Manual
Each company should have a manual containing the Control List and a complete set of Retention Schedules (including the General Schedule), together with the records management policy and procedures and any staff handbooks relating to records management
This can be in paper or electronic form (or both)
The Records Manager should retain the previous versions for a minimum of two years plus the current year after any changes have been made

Note - this document is not provided by the Group Records Manager - it is produced by the local Records Manager

Hold Orders

If there are any Hold Orders applicable to records in a given company there will be specific documentation associated with them, which is maintained by the Records Manager

Why spot checks?

Checks tell us whether people are complying with the Schedules

They indicate whether people can match the records to the Schedules and whether they understand the retention periods

They also tell us whether any Schedule revisions will be needed in the near future

Terms used on Retention Schedules


Workgroup is one or more people who share: Work



It may or may not be the same as a Department, or section within a Department, as shown on a organisation chart.

Each Workgroup will have its own Retention Schedule.


The whole process by which a Company:

Finds out what records exist:
Decides how long it needs to keep those records:
Formally records its decisions as Approved Retention Periods on Retention.
Ensures compliance with those Schedules, including prompt disposal of records which are no longer required.


Comprehensive listings of records held by an organisation, giving a variety of information about each category or type (series) of records, such as…..

Title, brief description, and Media Code (physical form)
Whether the Records are in the work area responsible for keeping
Approved retention periods
Details of if and when records are to be sent to storage
Disposal instructions

There are two types of retention schedules.

General Schedule For All Workgroups

This lists all the common records which are found in most offices. It is used by everyone who handles records.

Workgroup Schedule
This lists those records specific to a particular work area.

It shows if this is the Workgroup responsible for keeping the records (the Department of Record)

What is a Records Series?

A Records Series is a specific type, category or group of records
All of the records in a Series are in the same physical form, relate to a similar activity or subject matter and have the same approved retention period
Where the same or similar records exist in different physical forms, they should be listed separately because they may (currently or in the future) have different retention periods
Where there is a different retention period there should be a different Series


The Department or Workgroup responsible for keeping the original or “official’ copy of a record.
Usually, but always, the issuing Department.
Department of Record is abbreviated to “DR’ on the forms.

Retention periods
A retention period is the approved period of time for which records within a given Records Series are to be retained

Records can be retained for a specific period (which may be preceded by a period in suspense), until they are superseded or for the life of the company which owns them

Specific retention periods

2Y+C is two years plus the current year - keep the records for the year in which they were produced (the current year) then for two more years, then dispose of them
Dispose of records every year

6M+C is six months plus the current month - keep the records for the month in which they were produced (the current month) then for 6 months, then dispose of them
Dispose of records every month

Periods in different locations
The form has three retention period columns:

Office Store Total

An entry in the Store column means:
You must send the records to the storage area when the retention period in the office finishes
You must dispose of records from the storage area as well as from the office

Specific retention periods
A specific retention period shows

Both the maximum and the minimum period for which the records will be kept (unless “MAX” is present)

You should keep the records for no more and no less than the time shown

Note that “MAX” is never used with more than 2Y+C
“MAX” before the retention period gives more flexibility and means
“up to” keep the records for a maximum of the period shown there is no minimum period you can dispose of the records at any time up to the period shown

MAX 1Y+C means the records can be disposed of any time from the day they were created or received up to the end of the following year


“Suspense” (shown as “SUS”) is used for records for which the retention period does not start until a specific event or action occurs

“SUS” is never used on its own: a retention period will always be shown after the suspense period ends, unless the records are to be transferred to another location, in which case “transfer” is shown in place of the retention period

“SUS” appears next to a “suspense statement” which describes
What is happening while the records are being held “in suspense”
What has to happen for the suspense to finish

“SUS” is followed by a retention period to tell us how long to keep the records after the suspense ends (unless they transfer to another location)

Suspense – Example

Personnel records Employee with Co. SUS Employee leaves Co. 10Y+C

This means
Keep the records until each person leaves (whether that is tomorrow or in 30 years time)
Once a person leaves keep the records for another ten years after the year in which they left (the current year)

Suspense is also commonly used for contracts (which are kept until they expire) and project records (which are kept until the end of the project)

Until Superseded

“Until Superseded” (shown as “SUP”) is used for records which are updated from time to time, for instance Contact lists Policies and procedures Training materials Retention Schedules

These are records which you may always have but as soon as a more up-to-date version becomes available you dispose of the previous one


“Permanent” (shown as “PERM”) means
These records are to be retained for the life of the Company
Do not dispose of these records
Look after them very carefully
Remember that these records must be available in readable form in 100 years time


Records of a temporary nature (drafts, messages,personal reminder notes, etc..) are to be destroyed as soon as possible and not filed.


Other records of a routine nature (general correspondence and administration, covering memos, travel details, etc…) should be destroyed as soon as they have met immediate needs.


The number of copies of any record should be kept to a minimum. Individuals receiving copies from others inside the Company should destroy them when they have met immediate needs.

Any records left by employees who leave the Company or are transferred within the Company are to be reviewed and either disposed of or integrated into existing files as soon as possible.

Normal destruction procedures must be suspended if a specific instruction (“Hold Order”) is given in response to legal, tax or audit advice.

Records identified on an approved Retention Schedule as having long (generally over three years) or permanent retention periods and high volumes should be stored in a most appropriate and cost - effective way.


Retention Schedules and procedures must be updated as necessary to reflect any changes in operational or legal requirements.


Methods of destruction should be appropriate to the type of record to ensure security where required.

Records Creation & Distribution
Records should be created and distributed only where there is an identifiable business reason or a legal, tax or audit obligation to do so. It is important to identify and comply with the relevant law, regulations and standards of best practice that set requirements for documenting and preserving evidence of business activity.

All records should be reliable and useable

A reliable record is one whose contents can be trusted as an accurate representation of the activities or facts which it notes

A useable record is one which can be located, retrieved and correctly understood by others without the assistance of the originator

The following questions and guidelines apply to creation and distribution of records in any physical form:

Do you need to create a record?

Would a telephone call be more efficient and appropriate?

If you need to create a record

Make sure it is clear, accurate and precise. Avoid general terms or phrases which may be liable to misinterpretation

Do not include personal or offensive remarks

Do not give "expert" advice in areas in which you are not an expert

Identify speculation, personal views or the views of third parties
Check accuracy and quality of content before sending

Date all records

Mark drafts clearly and, where appropriate, number them

Ensure it is possible to correctly identify the author and/or originator of the record

Where appropriate, mark the record as confidential and/or legally privileged

Keep the number of copies to the minimum necessary

Distribute records only to those who need to receive them

How to Prepare a Retention Schedule


Know who is included in your Workgroup
Find out where their records are.
Make a simple sketch of the area.
Find out about their computer records (which cannot be seen as you walk around).


1. List the records series.
2. Fill in the retention periods.

1.WORKGROUP CODE Provided by the Records Manager

Provided by the Records Manager


Use format 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3, include information about total number of pages

4. SERIES CODE Filled in later by Records Manager

5. SERIES TITLE Filled in by you The title by which the records are usually known to people in your Workgroup.

6. BRIEF DESCRIPTION Filled in by you in brackets after the title. This should make it clear as to what the records are, to people outside the Workgroup


Filled in by you. Abbreviation in the Media column. What physical form are the Records in ? Use an abbreviation from the list at the bottom of the form.

8. Department of Records (DR ?)

Filled in by you

“ Y “ or “ N “ in the “ DR” column

Is it your Workgroup which is responsible for keeping the original or the “ official” copy of these records
9. Sort the entries into alphabetical order

How to Prepare a Retention Schedule Contd…

Get your Workgroup or Department Manager to sign the forms to indicate that the listing of series is complete.
Send your partially completed forms to the Records Manager.
RM will check the forms
Mark all the entries which will be covered by the General Schedule.
Return the forms to you with a copy of the General Schedule.


The number of years, months,or weeks for which you need to keep the records

Then Y (for years), M (for month) or W (for weeks)

Then ‘+C’ which indicates ‘ plus the current’ (year,month or week)


2Y + C is two years plus the current year.

6M + C is six months plus the current month

3W + C is three weeks plus the current week

Note:- Current Year = The year in which the document was originated / received

The ‘+C’ is important because

You would have to dispose of the records on the very day that they reached that particular age.

A record kept for 2Y+C would be:

About 3 years old when disposed of if it was dated January.

Just over 2 years old when disposed of if it was dated December.

The form has three retention period columns:

The first two columns should add up to the total.

Office Store Total Do not use the Store column unless you need to send records out of your office to the store.

If you have a ‘+C ’ in the Office column you do not need it in the Store column (but it should appear in the Total)

EXAMPLE Office Store Total 2Y+C 5Y 7Y+C

When you write the retention period it is :

Both the maximum and the minimum period for which the records will be kept.

You will have to keep the records for no more and no less than the time shown

2Y + C means:

Keep the records for the year they were produced and then for a further two years.
You must dispose of the records after this time
You should always have the right number of years worth of records
You cannot dispose of the records before the period is finished.
‘Max’ Before The Retention Period Gives More Flexibility
MAX means: ‘Up to’
Keep the records for a MAXIMUM of the period shown.
There is no minimum period.
You can dispose of the records at any time up to the period shown.

‘Suspense’ is used for records which have to be kept until something happens, for instance:

Personnel records which have to be kept until a person leaves the Company

Contracts which have to be kept until they run out.


Personnel records Employee with Co. SUS Employee leaves Co. 10Y+C

This means:
Keep the records until each person leaves(whether that is tomorrow or in 30 years time)
Once a person leaves keep the records for another ten years after the year in which they left(the current year)

Until Superseded - “Sup”

“Until Superseded” is used for: Records which are updated from time to time, for instance:
Standing instructions computer software reference books

These are records which you always have but which are replaced as soon as a more up-to-date version becomes available.

Permanent And Historical - “Perm”
Shown on the Schedule form as “PERM”
Only used for records which must be kept for as long as the company exists.
Written with ‘(H)’ after it if records kept for historical (archival) reasons.

Keeping Schedules updated

Producing new Workgroup Retention Schedules

Records Coordinator and Workgroup Manager compile list of Series

Records Manager (RM) checks the Schedule

RM removes General Schedule items
RM marks any records covered by special retention requirements

Workgroup Manager decides retention periods

Department Manager approves Schedule

RM reviews and corrects Schedules and arranges approval

Updating Schedules - Request for change forms
Need to change Schedules is identified and you issue “Request for change” forms.

Records Coordinators fill in the forms and have them approved by the Department Manager. Coordinators send forms to you (by an agreed date) and you make the changes on the draft Schedules.

The Change forms then act as a record of what changes are being made and can be presented to the Review Team so they can see exactly what is being requested.

A summary of the changes can then be produced and this can be sent to the Group Records Manager with the revised Schedules.

Request for change forms - information to include

Workgroup Name, Workgroup Code, Date

Change of Workgroup Name or Department Manager Name (Current Name, Revised Name, Comments)

Change of Title or Description (Series Code, Current wording, Revised wording, Comments)

Change of retention period (Series Code, Current period, Revised period, Reason)

Change of Department of Record information (Series Code, Current DR (Y or N), Revised DR (Y or N), Reason)

Schedule revision checklist

Are all the series listed on the Workgroup Schedule still in existence?

Are all the series listed on the Workgroup Schedule still held by the same Workgroup?

Are there any records which were not included when the Schedules were produced?

Are there any completely new records which should be added to the Schedule?

Is the way in which the records are listed as series still relevant?

Are all the series titles and descriptions still correct?

Are all the records still in the same physical form?

Do the titles and descriptions for new entries contain the right information?

Are the instructions about sending records to storage still relevant?

Do the retention periods meet current needs?
Changes in legal, statutory or other "official" requirements.
Changes in the way the records are used or in the function which they fulfil.
Changes based on recent experience.
Changes in the way in which the retention periods are expressed.

Are the instructions about sending records to storage still relevant?

Do the retention periods meet current needs?
Changes in legal, statutory or other "official" requirements.
Changes in the way the records are used or in the function which they fulfil.
Changes based on recent experience.
Changes in the way in which the retention periods are expressed.

Add a Series (Title and description, Media/DR, Retention period (Office/Store/Total), Comments)

Delete a Series (Series Code, Reason)

Form completed by, Form approved by (Department Manager)

Revision for Coordinators
Preparing for disposals

Preparing to dispose of paper records

Select one filing cabinet, desk or storage container at a time
Look at all the places in the office where records may be kept

Go through all the shelves or drawers

Look for records stored elsewhere once you have finished in the office

Remember that a period in the Store column means records will be in the storage area

Identify each records series and find the name on one of the Retention Schedules
Take the General Schedule and your Workgroup Schedule. Use your Workgroup Schedule first
Identify the series to which each file or group of files belongs
Remember that almost all files will be part of a larger series The SERIES name appears on the Retention Schedule, not the name of an individual file
Remember that all records should be included on one of the Schedules
If you can't find the Schedule entry which applies, ask the file “owner” to help you

Close files or sections of files at the end of the year (unless they are shown as “SUS”, “SUP” or “PERM”)

Close files and start new ones or put in a card to mark the end of the year unless the records are:
In suspense for part of their lifetime (“SUS”) - do not close files until the suspense ends
Kept until superseded (“SUP”) - these files will always remain open
Kept permanently (“PERM”) - these files will not be disposed of anyway

Check the record date against the retention period
Look at the most recent date in a closed file or group of files or date of end of suspense for “SUS” files
Check against the retention period on the Schedule
Use the disposal table to look up dates
Note whether the records are to be disposed of or sent to storage
Do NOT dispose of any records which have “HOLD” in the Total

Label undated records
If you find undated records make your best estimate of their age
Label them with the estimated date
Then treat them accordingly

Check there is only one version of “SUP” records
There should be no “previous” or “old” records if “SUP” is shown

Disposing of paper records

Treat each series as a unit

Dispose of all the files and records in a series which are out of date
Do not keep back individual files unless you have a specific reason, then request a revision to your Retention Schedule
Do not take records out of the back of files unless it is easy to do so (for instance in a ring binder or box file), calculate retention periods from the date the file was closed

Sending records to store

Send records to storage as appropriate

If your Workgroup Retention Schedule shows a storage period you must transfer the records to the storage area after the period shown in the Office
Follow the correct procedure and provide the appropriate documentation about the stored records

Identification and disposal of electronic records

Follow specific instructions from IT Department or:

Open Windows Explorer, View Details (click Tools, Folder Options, View, Like Current Folder or Apply to All Folders)

If the records are in dated folders and have specific retention periods, delete whole folders

If folders are not dated, click “Modified” and delete records with dates older than retention period but look out for records with a date in the file name not matching with modified date
If records are in “in progress” folders (“SUS”), check to see whether they are still “active” or whether they should be moved to a “completed” folder

If records are retained until superseded (“SUP”), check that only the most recent versions are present

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