Making records management a reality – practical steps to take

March saw the latest meeting of the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) Third Sector Group.

The session started with Bev Adams-Reynolds, Data Protection Officer at Crisis, providing practical, current advice on what she is learning as she works to bring records management principles and practice into Crisis.

First, Bev took the group through her emerging “Privacy Maturity model”, and how this helped colleagues at all levels see records management as part (and parcel) of a broader context of issues (e.g. GDPR; governance, leadership and accountability; culture and assurance; business processes and information management).

Next Bev showed the audit model she followed – from the Charity Finance Group –and how this was structured around five themes:

  1. Roles, responsibilities, training & awareness
  2. Policies
  3. Systems for creating and keeping records
  4. Records maintenance & disposal
  5. Resource for the Records Management function

Finally Bev shared her experience to date and her top tips:

  1. Set a strategy – to know what you’re aiming for
  2. Revamp the retention schedule
  • Based on function rather than organisational structure and
  • Align it to the IRMS model Retention Scheme
  1. Find some areas where good practice is already being evidenced
  • Score these areas against an audit model
  1. Find some friendly areas that can act as pathfinders going forward
  • Review file structures
  • Implement best practice
  • Create clear file plans

Next Jacqueline Stockwell, CEO & Founder of Leadership Through Data, took the group through the many different passive and participator ways people learn…and considered how you could make records management interesting and relevant to staff.

The analogy of seeing records management as the “life blood” of an organisation really stuck in the mind: if it does not flow in defined and required ways it can cause illness…and may cause (team and departmental) limbs to not function well; if it is not created and stored consistently as agreed it may escape, seeping or spurting out…possibly causing great (reputational and financial) pain and illness; we may apply many sticking plasters…but getting to the causes of the illness (“I-can’t-find-it-itus”) is the best way to stay healthy and prosper!

A game of records management “Snakes and Ladders” then started…with willing (and some baffled) participants. If there was no photographic evidence, you might not believe…but there is…

The session ended with a Q&A session.

Resources available

The IRMS has a wealth of knowledge, experience and resources in all things records management.

Subscribers to Protecture’s data protection support service receive Affiliate Membership of the IRMS, which includes access to a Retention Schedule and specific records keeping guidance.

Whether you’d like us to help develop the accountability records you need for data protection, review and give feedback on your existing records management arrangements, or provide guidance and training on your records management needs, Protecture can support you. Call on 01743 636 562 or email,uk