Standardizing the main series for support functions in the file plans of governmental bodies
The National Archives and Records Service is aware that Directive R4: Prototype classification of main series for support functions of all governmental bodies and Directive R11: Prototype file plan for Human Resource Management are outdated. The National Archives and Records Service (NARS) is therefore currently working on an initiative to standardize the main series for support functions in the file plans of governmental bodies. A number of benefits have been identified, namely:
a) Simplification of file plan training
Interdepartmental turnover of staff in the public service is very high, which implies that staff have to learn a new file plan structure every time they move to another department. If the main series for support functions are standardized, staff members would only need to learn the main series for line functions of the new departmentís file plan. This would enable them to be productive more rapidly. The governmental bodies would also benefit because the training programme could be shortened.
b) Economy and cost savings
A prototype main series for support functions in the file plan structure of governmental bodies would be beneficial in that:
Governmental bodies that are formulating new file plans would be able to download and use the information as the basis to compile their new file plans.
Governmental bodies that are making use of consultants to compile their file plans would benefit from the cost saving on the design of the main series for support functions.
As new government strategic directions require updates to support functions series, NARS would be able to manage the update centrally and to announce the changes to the rest of the governmental bodies to enable them to adapt their file plans.
c) Interoperability of systems
The Enterprise Content Management Solutions deployed by the public service need to be able to interact with each other. If the main series for support functions are standardized, it would simplify the interoperability process.
d) Long-term preservation
A file plan is a structured metadata set. The main series for support functions could exist as a predefined structure in the envisaged digital preservation repository. If the main series for support functions are standardized at least 70%-80% of the metadata would exist as a fixed structured set. If each governmental body has implemented the standardized file plan and the minimum metadata prescriptions, NARS would not need to do very complicated metadata mappings between different systems when archival records are transferred into archival custody. This would facilitate the speedy transfer of archival records into archival custody.
To provide guidance to governmental bodies in the interim period while a new detailed directive on the compilation of main series for support functions in the file plans of governmental bodies is being developed, the National Archives and Records Service has compiled a document entitled Standardized List of Main Series for Support Functions in the file plans of governmental bodies containing the recommended main series for support functions and the scope of each. This document should be used as a starting point for the compilation of the main series for support functions when governmental bodies are planning to compile new file plans.
For further information and or comments please contact
The Records Management Division
National Archives and Records Service
Private Bag X236
Tel: (012) 441 3200
Fax: (012) 323 5287
Fax to E-mail: 086 640 0605
[Home] [About NARS] [NAAIRS]