Records Management at Queen's
In April 2003 Senate gave its approval to a new institutional policy on Records Management. In May 2011 this policy was revised and updated in line with legislative changes and best practice. The aim of this policy is to provide a formal framework for the management of records held by the University from their point of creation through to their active use and eventual disposal or archiving when they are no longer needed for current purposes. The policy extends to all records regardless of age or format that are required to support and provide evidence of the business of the University, its activities and services. It seeks to develop new or adapt existing record keeping procedures to ensure best practice throughout the University so that all staff can have access to the right information at the right time to do their jobs properly.
Links with the Freedom of Information Act 2000
It is appreciated that the introduction of the Records Management Policy will represent a significant challenge for the University, but it is one that Queen's is obliged to follow under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI). The Act itself creates a new statutory right of public access to all types of "recorded" information held by public bodies in the UK including universities. In practical terms, this means that from 1 January 2005 any person who makes a request for information to the University must, subject to certain exemptions, be informed whether that information is held and, if so, have it supplied to them. As requests will have to be processed within just 20 working days, it is imperative that the University has clear channels of communication and mechanisms through which information can be traced and retrieved quickly and efficiently from any part of the institution as a whole. The introduction of a formal Records Management Policy and the development of an associated programme of record keeping procedures will ensure that these needs are met and that FOI compliance is assured.
Successful records management relies on an institution-wide and continuing programme of record keeping policies, procedures and systems governing all aspects of the so-called records life-cycle. It involves the systematic and consistent management of all records through, for example, file registration, standardised classification schemes, file tracking, retention scheduling and archiving. Above all, it seeks to ensure that:
- Business activities and decisions are adequately documented and captured in a formal record keeping system
- Records remain trustworthy as evidence of the activities that gave rise to them
- Records are suitably protected against loss, damage or unauthorised access
- Records can be searched and retrieved in an efficient and timely manner
- Records are retained only for as long as they are required for legal, administrative, financial and historical purposes and are disposed of in an appropriate way
For further information on records management at Queen's University contact
Information Compliance Unit
Queen's University Belfast
Tel: 028 9097 2506