Public records from private couches and kitchen tables

If you check out our advice on business continuity planning… actually if you do a quick internet search on it… it’s all about disasters (natural or otherwise) resulting in brief interruptions to the normal day-to-day work, lasting maybe a week or two. And usually in that time you only need the critical people and systems working to get things back up and running. In other words, not something you need to keep going for a long time … so, not what we have right now.

Apart from all the other things to think about (WHS, productivity, cyber security, IT infrastructure, overloaded internet, going stir crazy from lack of human interaction), records management is a big part of it. Having robust records management systems in place helps when something unexpected happens. It means that while QSA has been deep into our own just-in-case planning, it’s still easy for our staff to access the records and information they need, capture what they need to capture, and keep doing their work.

So what do we have planned if all possible QSA staff are shifted to remote work?

First, anticipating that remote network access may be limited due to demand, we’ve decided which key staff should have priority access to Citrix, so a work around for other staff for storing, accessing records, sharing records (and other information) and collaborating was needed.

Like a lot of other Queensland government departments, we use Office 365. We assessed the security of Microsoft Teams and decided that it’s appropriate for our records with an Official security classification. We’ve also thought about what records would need to go into Teams/SharePoint if network access is limited and how we’ll access higher classification records that aren’t appropriate to go into the Cloud.

If you want to know more about security classifications and access, check out our advice on the website.

Records in Microsoft Teams/Sharepoint will become THE record. In the meantime, the version in our eDRMS will be ‘quarantined’ so that anyone with network access knows not to edit that version (we change the title of the document temporarily to indicate this). The eDRMS version will be updated once a week as well.

Since we’ll be using the Microsoft Teams chat functionality to keep in touch and keep emails to a reasonable level, we’ve also thought about how we’ll record any meeting minutes, decisions, or approvals that are communicated that way.

Check out our Decide what records to capture and how page on the website for more information.

QSA is fortunate enough to have access to work laptops and tablets to use at home, but some staff may need to use their personal phones. We’ve been careful to remind everyone about separating public and private records AND to take extra steps to make sure public records are captured appropriately including any public records in private accounts.

We’ve also become even better friends with our IT team while investigating any new or underutilised technologies that can help during this time, not to mention learning just how much we can do from home if needed.

Most importantly, we gave things a test run! We got staff to take their laptops home and make sure they could access things remotely. Especially trialling our video conferencing which we’ll use a lot.

For more advice on what you may want to think about when planning changes to how you work, check out our other blog post Pjs, dining tables and public records: Working from home and COVID-19.

More information

The good news is our website and blogs and all our advice are all available from home… funny that. So, if you need more information, here’s a few resources on there that may help:

Security classifications for records, access to records, use and re-use of records – check out our  Security and access to records page – also make sure you consider any QGCIO issued standards and guidance on information security.

What records you create are public records, what you need to capture and how – take a look at the Decide what records to capture and how page.

If you or your staff have to use personal device(s), make sure you read the advice on Public records in private accounts.

What have you been doing?

We know we’re not the only ones dealing with this and suddenly having to rethink how we work. So, what have you been thinking about when getting ready to work remotely? What arrangements have you made? Let us know in the comments below.

As always, if you have any recordkeeping questions you can email us at

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