Monday, February 2, 2015

Records inventory and analysis

Planning the records management program

  • Planning
    • involves determining
      • where the organization wants to go (goals)
      • how it will go about getting there (strategy)

Establishing goals and objectives

  • Goals
    • reflect the philosophy and aspirations of management for the entire organization
    • are established from highest to lowest levels
    • usually stated in general terms
    • e.g. organizational wide goal: to reduce the cost of administrative services
    • complementary goal for records management division of the organization: to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of providing information to managers
  • Objectives
    • An objective is a statement of how one step in reaching a goal is to be completed and measured
    • Specific objectives are defined to relate to goals developed
    • e.g. Organizational goal: Reduce costs; Objective: reorganize administrative services to streamline its operation to produce an 8% saving during the next two years
    • e.g. Records management goal: to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of providing information to management; Objective: determine a more cost-effective method of maintaining and storing records to result in a 10% saving in current fiscal year


Determining a strategy


  • A strategy is a plan of action
  • After goals and objectives are determined, a plan for achieving these objectives should be devised
  • Plan would include
    • ways to accomplish the objective
    • a timetable for the planned action
    • a cost projection
  • Specific actions should be tailored to the needs of each organization
  • Plans serve as the foundation for all organizational achievements

Cost reduction plan

Objective Action Completion date Cost
5% cost reduction by using more cost efficient storage and retrieval practices Review retention schedule to determine if files are kept too long in active status 30 days Labour only

Assesses turnaround time to determine if clerks need additional training 30 days Labour only

Check files for overcrowding 10 days Labour only

Determine if files are being disposed of according to schedule 45 days Labour only

Obtain authorization and support


  • Management support and commitment is critical to success as is
  • User support and commitment
    • Obtain user support via
      • Positive management attitudes
      • User involvement in the process
Files could be in a variety of places, e.g., desk, drawers, i.e. there is no central storage place

Records inventory


  • To accompany the overall goal of records management, you must know three things:
    • Types of records maintained
    • Where they are housed
    • Volume of records
  • The records inventory (aka records survey) is a detailed review of the quantity, type, function, and organization of records
  • Provides answers to:
    • What kinds of records do we have?
    • Where are the records located?
    • How many records do we have?
    • Are the records active, inactive, or nonessential?
    • Are the records vital?
    • Which are record copies?
  • Three major goals 
    • Define present scope and status of records to be managed
    • Provide database for the development of a records retention program
    • Provide information for other decisions in the development of an effective records management program
  • Provides a basis for many management decisions, e.g.
    • What facilities, equipment, supplies, and staff are required to handle records?
    • What staff training is needed?
    • What controls should be in placed on creation and duplication of records?
    • What measures need to be taken to protect vital records?


Planning the records inventory


    • Gain commitment from management and those who will be working on the inventory
    • Select personnel
      • Project director
        • May be selected from internal or external candidates
      • Inventory group members
        • Task Force
        • Records management staff (may have less training)
        • Contracted Services (no training, not familiar, cost)
    • Determine method
      • Questionnaire
        • Quick, 
        • most used, 
        • personnel may be most familiar 
      • Physical survey
        • Time consuming
        • most accurate
      • Combination physical inventory/questionnaire
    • Obtain forms
      • Forms should be easy to use
        • should collect all information first time
      • reflects unique requirements
    • Plan schedule
      • A detailed schedule for the records inventory is a must
    • Records
      • Both active and inactive or active only?
    • Locations
      • Where are records stored?
    • Sequence
      • Refers to order in which records will be surveyed
    • Time
      • Need to estimate time in each location
      • Include time from interruptions
      • Consider level of expertise of those conducting the inventor
    Conducting the inventory
    • Complete the preliminary purge
      • Purge shortens time for formal inventory
      • Weed copies not needed
    • Identify the records series
      • Records series
        • groups of records filed as unit
      • Data set
        • to electronic form of information
    • Identify the required space
    • Categorize records as active or inactive
      • influences where to keep
    Records analysis

    • On completion of inventory an analysis is made to identify records types common to most departments, those unique to certain areas, different records types that serve the same function, and the holder of the copy of record
    • Standardize terminology of inventory forms
    • Status Report
      • keeps everyone informed; includes preliminary report, progress report, final report
    • Data Summary
    • Report Preparation

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