How do you get people to actually use your records management program? It comes down to policies and procedures for the end-user, our next step on the Roadmap to Compliance.
Records management policies and procedures for the end-user is an important “how to” component in implementing the governance model. It complements corporate policies and procedures and strengthens your program by assigning the governing standard for managing your program. It also defines how to maintain the program’s classification system at the departmental level.
Just as it is at the corporate level, a detailed policies and procedures manual is perhaps the most important aspect of maintaining a records management program at the user level.
How is it different from corporate policies and procedures?
It’s simple: a manual for the end-users represents a guide for the practical and appropriate application of your corporate policies and procedures regarding the management of your information. At the same time, it establishes the responsibility and processes for individual users to manage the information that they own.
Why it matters
Having appropriate, practical policies and procedures relating to the management of your organization’s information helps the user community know what records they own and are responsible for. It also helps them understand the methodology for the storage, maintenance and potential destruction of those records.
The policies and procedures can serve as an excellent training tool for new staff and a source of reference for existing staff. This documentation is also crucial to review and update when your organization changes the way it controls, stores and processes information.
The manual should contain policies, procedures and guidelines on all of the components of a viable Records Management Program including:
- Policy statement
- Program objectives
- Record identification
- Application of the classification and retention schedule
- Record type (paper, electronic)
- Storage environment and structure
- Record maintenance
- Responsibilities: management and staff
- Updating the system
A defined and documented policies and procedures program is what allows you to ensure your organization reaps all of the benefits of your records management programs. Not only does it outline expectations, authority and responsibility for your records management activities, it also ensures that your personnel will know how to properly treat records in the file creation, active and inactive phases of the records management lifecycle. Finally, it assures that information is available to appropriate users on a timely basis!