Records Management & Retention

Now that we've established what records are, the next important thing is the management of these records. Records management is the responsible, efficient and systematic control of the creation, capture, management, use and disposition of records. You may have a variety of different records but if you don't know what to do with them or how to properly keep them in order, they can become a problem very quickly.

When dealing with records it is in everyone's best interest to maintain a program for the management of records. At UNB the University Secretariat is responsible for developing and implementing policies and guidelines as well as drafting retention and disposition schedules. Every faculty/department should have at least one position that is in contact with the Records Manager at the Secretariat.

Why is records management important?

What is the objective of records management?

  • It allows the orderly and efficient conduct of business.
  • It provides evidence of business activities and transactions.
  • It helps meet legislative and regulatory requirements.
  • It enhances accountability.
  • It facilitates consistency, cost reduction, efficiency and productivity.
  • It protects the rights of students, faculty and employees.
  • Authenticity: Proving that records are what they claim they are; who created them and when.
  • Reliability: Ensuring the content of the records are a full and accurate representation of the business transacted and that they can be depended on for future use.
  • Integrity: Ensuring that records remain complete and unaltered.
  • Usability: Ensuring that records are easily located, retrieved and interpreted.

Records Retention Schedule

But what exactly is records retention? Records retention is the act of retaining records for pre-determined periods of time in proportion with their value, with subsequent disposal or storage as a matter of official policy. Disposition is simply what is done to a record once it has finished its retention.

A records retention schedule is a document which:

  • Provides a complete description of a record series (e.g. student files)
  • States the purpose of the records
  • Establishes the length of time the record is kept in an active filing system, the storage of the records and the final disposition of the records

When a records retention schedule does not exist or has not been applied, there is increased risk that information and records will be lost. An organization which accumulates large holdings of records is not managing its information effectively.

A records retention schedule is important because it authorizes departments to transfer inactive records to storage and to destroy records which it no longer needs. It also increases or improves efficiency, economy in space and equipment, and ease of retrieval.

RTIPPA gives people the right to request information that would be much easier to find with the help of a retention schedule and proper records management. But how much access are people actually given and what can they request access to? Feel free to carry on to the next topic, Access to Information to find out.