Rules is rules… and document those rules

Welcome back to the lovely town of Lamington.

In past blog posts we’ve looked at building your records governance framework and identifying your various requirements. Now we’re starting to look at how you implement it all.

Part of the records framework (I won’t say house) is fit-for-purpose documentation.

What documentation you have will depend on your agency – as we said it needs to be fit-for-purpose. Basically, make it what you need it to be.

Some examples of what said documentation could include are the various tools, rules, procedures and policies about recordkeeping and for recordkeeping in your agency

For advice on what this is all about, head over to the website, but as we know seeing something in practice sometimes makes things so much clearer. Yes, that means examples.

We don’t have any examples of policies or procedures but we do have templates you can use to help you develop your own. These are really dependant on your own agency’s requirements and practices so talk to your people about what they need to be able to do.

As for the rules, there are recordkeeping tools (or rules if you prefer) and business rules. We do have examples of these.

Examples of business rules

Business rules are the who does what rules. These should be based on your recordkeeping procedures, but they can include things like:

  • For internal emails, sender saves the email.
  • HR manage employee records
  • The CEO has delegated their ability to authorise disposal under the Retention and disposal schedules to each Executive Director.

Examples of recordkeeping tools (and rules)

Recordkeeping tools (or rules if you prefer) are things that tell people what records need to be created, where they should be saved, how they should be named, what metadata is mandatory in your agency, the standards for data entry, what acronyms that can be used – you get the idea. A lot of these tools are about making records findable and manageable.

Padme, our Executive support officer and records officer from the Lamingtown Parks Service, has put in place some recordkeeping rules to help business areas save the right records. She’s helped communicate these rules through her training and awareness program.

One of the things she did was modify the ‘what records do I need to keep cheat sheet to suit her agency. Rather than have just one, she created a version for each business area and included examples relevant to them to make it easier for staff. Each business area had business systems specific to their functions too, so she also included that in the cheat sheet.

So, for the finance area she listed what finance records needed to be saved and said they could all be saved into SAP (their finance system), and for the HR team she listed all the records that needed to be kept and included whether their HR system or their eDRMS was they place they should go.

She’s also created naming conventions, but that’s a whole other story… check out our blog post Would a record by any other name be just as findable? to find out more.

Measure twice…

Depending on how big your house is, you can’t always just go along placing a wall here or there, or decide to knock down a wall, or test some paint colours first. When building something, they always tell you to measure twice, cut once (applies to sewing too, believe me). And sometimes you need to step back and look at what you’ve got so far to see what to do next. Yes, we’re talking about measuring and monitoring stuff.

Now there is more to this than meets the eye, so we’re going to dedicate a whole blog to this one. Keep an eye out for it soon.

More information

In the meantime, you can find more information about business rules, as well as policies, procedures and tools 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, you can check out the other blogs here.

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