Information and records management

Information and records management

Understanding what is information and records management, why we retain information, how long we keep information for and how we dispose of information.

What is a record?

A record is defined as “recorded information regardless of format or media, created by an organisation in the pursuit of its business”.

But to put it in more practical terms, a ‘record’ is trusted evidence showing what the Council does, why we do it, and how we do it – held in a form we can access - in whatever way it has been captured (CDs, disks, ICT servers), and in all different electronic file types or paper.

What is records management?

At its heart, records management is a simple concept; it's about controlling the records we produce and receive, rather than having the information manage us. It ensures that we keep the record we need, in the format we need to keep it in, consistently across the Council, and are getting rid of the stuff we don’t need to keep.

Put simply, it's about making sure that the right record is kept in the right format and storage area for the right amount of time.

What is information management?

Information management is a more holistic approach to managing all types of information that is created by the Council, including records. This is increasingly important in a world where so much data and information are created in the digital space, which may not fall within the traditional definition of a ‘record’ e.g. ephemeral emails. 

Why do we need to retain information?

There are several reasons why the Council keeps records:

  • legislative or regulatory requirements
  • contractual requirements
  • operational requirements
  • audit requirements
  • accountability to government and the public
  • historical or research requirements

How long do we keep information for?

The Council is required by the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the Management of Records (issued under section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act) to have and implement a records retention and disposal schedule.

The Disposal Schedule sets out details about all the information and records created and kept by us, or by our commissioned partners, in such a way that decisions can be made about identifying and disposing of them on a routine, consistent, and timely basis. 

The Disposal Schedule has been produced in consultation with the service areas primarily responsible for the business activities, including key stakeholders in the processes. This is to establish the legal and regulatory requirements and business needs on which the retention and disposal criteria are based. 

The Disposal Schedule helps us to prove that any information we no longer retain has been destroyed in accordance with agreed timescales.

We review and update our Disposal Schedule periodically to ensure that we are complying with our legal and statutory record keeping requirements. If existing legislation is changed, or new legislation is introduced, we amend the schedule accordingly. 

Disposal of information

Disposal is an important part of information and records management. When it is properly implemented, it ensures that the Council only retains information for as long as it is needed for business and legislative purposes. 

All information assets (electronic and/or paper) that have reached their retention period should be reviewed to determine if they will be confidentially destroyed, retained for further use, or permanently preserved with the Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service (WAAS)

We cannot, and do not keep all information assets or records indefinitely. 

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