Records Management 101: Policy and responsibility

Records Management 101: Policy and responsibility

Hi, I’m DJ the Data Maintenance Manager. I keep information neat and orderly at UBC and I provide my colleagues help in handling records as it is an important part of everybody’s job. I will be your guide throughout this course. Let’s learn a little about Records Management. In this first module we’ll cover: What is a record? Who owns the records we create at work? What is a records lifecycle? What is a record? A record is any type of information that is created or received as part of doing business at UBC. A record can take all sorts of forms an email, a voicemail, a hand-written note, a record in a database, an electronic file, or a formal document. Did you know, outside of work, you and I have records? Yes, records with our personal and private information on them a driver’s license, a credit card or a pay cheque. We don’t just leave them lying around because they contain our personal information and we don’t want that information to fall into the wrong hands. The same care needs to be taken when handling work records particularly when those records contain personal information. For records containing personal information there are legal requirements on how to retain and destroy them with consequences to you and the University if those requirements are not followed. Records created as part of doing your job at UBC belong to the University. They cannot be taken with you if you change jobs or leave UBC. This includes work email addressed to you. UBC has a policy governing how all university records must be treated. Policy 117 describes the records management lifecycle. I encourage you to have a look through it. There are three key elements of the policy, that you should know. The first is records creation. Records must be created documenting actions, transactions and decisions of University business. The second is records retention. Records must be managed and retained to meet legal, administrative, operational, or other requirements at the University. The third is records destruction. Destruction of records must be done securely according to retention schedules created by the Records Management Office and approved by the University Archivist and Legal Counsel. Let’s take a closer look at the 3 key items of Policy 117. Records creation! In our day-to-day work we make decisions. Decisions need to be captured, tracked and documented properly. For example, meeting minutes are created to document actions and decisions that are made at a meeting. It’s easy for people to forget what was decided on, especially if any time goes by. We all have lots going on and it’s easy to forget what was decided. Records creation is the evidence of decision-making. Let’s talk about records retention and some of the tools that can help you with the management of records. One of those tools is the “Classification and Retention Schedule” which describes and defines how long records should be retained. It is a tool that we can use to help us take the guess work out of records management. Classification and Retention Schedules also help in the disposition of records. Let’s say, you run out of storage space in a closet or shared drive you cannot just arbitrarily start shredding or deleting records. Why? Records are evidence of actions and transactions, and if they are requested by management, auditors, or the courts they must be available. This is why following the University Classification and Retention Schedule is important. Once records have met their legal, administrative, or operational requirements they must either be properly destroyed or sent to the University Archives. University records schedules describe legal, administrative, or operational retention periods. If no retention period exists, contact the Records Management Office. As a rule, we do not keep records around “just in case” we need them. Retaining unnecessary records is costly and poses a potential security risk for the University. Many of the records we store contain personal information that we are required by law to protect and destroying it according to the retention schedule is one of the ways we ensure its protection. We as UBC staff are obliged to protect that information. In summary, a records lifecycle consists of the creation, management, retention and disposition of University records. And that any information that is created or received as part of doing business at UBC is a record. all records are the property of UBC, and Policy 117 governs how records are managed including creating, storing and disposing of records. Records management might seem a little complex at first. Remember, you don’t need to do this yourself; the Records Management Office at University Archives is available to help. The Records Management Office can help design and build your department’s records management system, store and destroy records securely, and assist with projects. Check the resource section of this course for contact information. Let’s now do a quick quiz to see what you have learned.

Daniel Ostrander

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2 thoughts on “Records Management 101: Policy and responsibility

  1. Addie Aynsley says:

    Are you able to tell me what you used to make these videos? Would love to do something similar for our university.

  2. Securus Records Management says:

    Informative thanks for sharing- Securus is a Records Management company in Delhi, offering a complete record management solutions for your Business. Know more at

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