Requirements requirements!

We’ve already looked at how developing your records governance framework is like building a house. But other than the fact that you need walls, a roof, probably a kitchen, some bedrooms etc, what are the other things you specifically need? Do you want 1 or 3 bedrooms? A media room and a lounge room, or just a lounge room? Tiles, carpet or wood floors?

Part of the big records picture is determining what you actually have to do – these are requirements. Some of these are the 6 requirements in the Records Governance Policy. Others are things like your legislative and business requirements.

Again, we have advice on the website about finding out what your requirements are but that’s sometimes easier said than done (like so many things), so let’s have a look at some examples of what recordkeeping requirements are, how to find them and what you need to do next

Example 1: A recordkeeping requirement in legislation

Padme is the Executive support and records officer for Lamingtown Parks Service. She knows that a key piece of legislation says that forms submitted by customers to her agency need to be kept for 25 years. This means that when she starts thinking about her agency’s records governance framework, she will need to make sure she has:

  • a suitable recordkeeping application or business system that can keep the forms accessible for the required the 25years
  • the right processes and training to make sure that employees know that they need to capture the forms, as well as any other records that document
  • training and awareness about how to capture the forms.

Example 2: Finding recordkeeping requirements in business processes

Molly works for the Lamingtown Department of Transport and has been looking at their business requirements to help identify what records need to be created and how they should be managed.

One of the requirements she identified after talking to staff was in an internal procedure for investigating complaints. It includes an explicit requirement that they check if there have been any previous complaints as part of their investigation.

Even though there is no mention of this in legislation or explicitly in the procedure, Molly knows there is an implicit requirement to create records that document complaints, so they can do the required check.

Another requirement she identified came about recently when staff in the licensing team noticed they had received a number of complaints about the length of time taken to assess applications. This highlighted a need for a way to track applications once received to allow managers to follow up delayed applications when appropriate. In other words, a new business requirement to help them identify and address where a process wasn’t working well.

And lastly, she knew management wanted a way to assess resources and staff and be able to plan ahead when it came to their customer call centre. To do that, Molly knew they needed to keep and maintain records on the enquiries they receive, and services provided through the call centre, to help management make those decisions in the future about resources and staff. While they’re not legally required to keep these records, it does allow her department to anticipate and address changes in demand.

Example 3: Identifying requirements from steps in an activity or transaction

Molly is also looking at what requirements there are to create records relating to meetings in her agency. Here’s the steps she identified for planning and holding a meeting and the records created for each step.

She also identified how long each record needed to be kept. From that she can look at what records need to be officially captured to provide evidence of the meeting.

Step Evidence of the step Retained until
Choose time and place for meeting Emails between organisers and participants Meeting has been arranged
Book meeting room Email request and confirmation
Write agenda Agenda Depends on purpose of meeting – may be until next meeting or much longer. If meeting is part of high-level project could be a permanent record.
Circulate agenda, any relevant attachments and previous minutes Email invitation and attachments
Apologies, attendees, discussion including scheduling of next meeting Minutes

More information

If you want more information about recordkeeping, business and community requirements, check out our advice on the website. Also check out the other blog posts on the Records Governance Policy and the different policy requirements.

Remember, you can contact us via email, telephone, blog, Twitter.

Also, just like in the movies, all names, characters, places, and incidents portrayed in this blog post are fictitious and are not based on real people or incidents in any way (as far as we know)… just in case you were wondering.

And if you’re interested in the story of Lamingtown so far, check out the other blogs.

And stay tuned for next week’s episode where we look at the interior details of our recordkeeping house … otherwise known as business rules which we’ll look at next week.

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