One of the most important, yet overlooked, components of a records and information management program is the RIM policies and procedures manual.
Why you need it
Managing corporate information through oral procedures, random resolutions and proprietary decisions can lead to confusion and inefficiency, and will not stand up well under legal scrutiny. Documenting your RIM policies and procedures is vitally important for internal adoption of your RIM program. It is also an important document for legal purposes, providing evidence of your commitment to privacy and compliance.
How it works
The policy manual outlines the high-level responsibilities of staff as dictated by the functional classification system and retention schedule. Policies and procedures are developed to clearly establish what types of records are included in the program, who is responsible for various activities and who authorizes certain actions.
Essentially, it is these policies and procedures that define how to maintain the functional classification system for your organization.
Establishing what type of records are to be included in a program, as well as who is responsible for what can be a very important factor should the program be called into question during litigation or during an audit.
If there is a most efficient methodology for completing a certain records management task, it is imperative that all people are made aware of that methodology. A policies and procedures manual can make this possible and will evolve as new external elements and conditions impact the organization. If procedures are not written down and periodically reviewed, they will not be followed.
It is essential that the policy for records and information management be authorized at the highest level practical within the organization. By documenting who is accountable for what, and how things are to be done, an organization ensures that it establishes and maintains efficient, effective RIM practices.