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Records management policy | Records management procedures | Records classification systems | Records control mechanisms | Disposal programme | Training
General | Records Managers | Management of Electronic Records | Filing Systems | Disposal
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Sections 141 and 195(1)(f) of the Constitution, 1996 * determine that governance should be accountable and transparent. Accountability and transparency can only happen if -
Governmental bodies should recognise their responsibility to the public by implementing and maintaining sound records management practices. To ensure that records management receives the attention it deserves, it should be a strategic objective in the governmental body's strategic and business plans. Heads of governmental bodies should also ensure that they budget for the records management function and that the necessary financial, human and technological resources are allocated to support the records management function.
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What is records management?
Records management is a process of ensuring the proper creation, maintenance, use and disposal of records to achieve efficient, transparent and accountable governance
Sound records management implies that records are managed in terms of an organisational records management programme governed by an organisational records management policy.
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Advantages of effective records management
A sound records management programme is advantageous because:
Governmental bodies can only be effective and efficient if -
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Legal framework for a sound records management programme
The Constitution, 1996 provides the foundation for efficient and effective public service delivery. It provides for national legislation to be enacted to establish the general policy framework according to which governmental bodies should operate to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
The National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act, 1996 provides the legal framework according to which the National Archives and Records Service regulates the records management practices of all governmental bodies. In accordance with section 13 of the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act, 1996 the Records Management Division -
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Areas of responsibility
Heads of governmental bodies are ultimately responsible for the records management practices of the governmental bodies under their control. Their responsibilities in terms of the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act, 1996 are set out in the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Regulations and the Records Management Policy Manual.
Heads of governmental bodies should, in terms of section 13(5) of the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act,1996, designate staff members at the senior management level to whom they can delegate the responsibility to ensure that sound records management practices are implemented and maintained. These officials are the records managers of the bodies.
Sound records management is a collective responsibility which all members of staff have an equal obligation to maintain.
All users should be aware of the policies, procedures, and tools for managing records and they should be capable of applying them consistently to all records. The full co-operation of the users is necessary to file documents into the filing system and to protect records against loss and damage. Without this, there will be no records to manage.
National Archives and Records Service
The National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act, 1996 empowers the National Archives and Records Service to ensure the proper management and care of all public records. To this end the National Archivist mandated the Records Management Division of the National Archives and Records Service to promote sound records management practices in governmental bodies.
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Elements of a sound records management programme
Records management policy
Records managers should implement records management policies, which are endorsed by the heads of the governmental bodies and their top management teams as well as by the National Archives and Records Service.
The records management policy should address, within the broad policy guidelines provided for by the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act, all aspects of the identification, security, safe custody, disposal and retrieval of records.
Records management procedures
The records management policy should be backed by the governmental body's records management procedures. These procedures should be designed within the broad records management principles established by the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act and take into account the unique functions, structures and resources of each governmental body.
Records classification systems
Each governmental body should implement and maintain the following prescribed recordkeeping systems:
Record control mechanisms
Each governmental body should implement and maintain the following record control mechanisms
A systematic disposal programme should be implemented -
Records managers should attend the National Archives and Records Service' Records Management Course to equip them with the necessary skills to enable them to perform their tasks.
After attending the course the records managers should ensure that all staff members are capable of reading the filing system and allocating file reference numbers to documentation. They should also ensure that all staff members are conversant with the proper registry procedures to enable them to support the Registry to function properly.
The records managers should ensure that all registry staff are equipped with the necessary skills to enable them to carry out their functions properly.
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Managing electronic records
The National Archives and Records Service, in terms of its statutory mandate, requires governmental bodies to put the necessary infrastructure, policies, strategies, procedures and systems in place to ensure that records in all formats are managed in an integrated manner. The National Archives and Records Service endorses the SANS (ISO) 15489 Records Management Standard, SANS (ISO) 23081 Metadata for Records and SANS (ISO) 15801 Trustworthiness and Reliability of Records Stored Electronically. These are benchmarking tools for sound records management. The primary benchmark for creating and managing electronic records in office environments which is endorsed by the National Archives and Records Service is contained in the suite of publications Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments adopted by the International Council on Archives in 2008.Module 2 of these publications, Guidelines and Functional Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems relates to structured records systems such as those in which records are managed according to a file plan. A product that complies with these standards would possess the records management functionality required by the National Archives and Records Service.
The National Archives and Records Service requires governmental bodies to implement and maintain Integrated Document and Records Management Systems that provide as a minimum the following records management functionality:
managing a functional subject file plan according to which records are filed;
managing e-mail as records;
managing web-sites as records;
maintaining the relationships between records and files, and between file series and the file plan;
identifying records that are due for disposal and managing the disposal process;
associating the contextual and structural data within a document;
constructing and managing audit trails;
managing record version control;
managing the integrity and reliability of records once they have been declared as such; and
managing records in all formats in an integrated manner.
Not many governmental bodies have the capacity to implement fully automated Integrated Document and Records Management Systems. This does not however mean that they should not manage their electronic records. If these records are created to aid in decision-making and to perform transactions that support the governmental bodies' activities, governmental bodies are responsible for the proper management of those records. If records generated in such an environment are not managed properly it can lead to the possible illegal destruction of records. To enhance their accountability, bodies should ensure that, even without the benefit of an Integrated Document and Records Management System, they exercise effective records management.
Detailed information regarding the management of electronic records is contained in the National Archives and Records Service's two publications Managing electronic records in governmental bodies: Policy, principles and requirements and Managing electronic records in governmental bodies: Metadata requirements. Both publications are available on the National Archives and Records Service's website or can, alternatively, be requested in hard copy from the Records Management Division of the National Archives and Records Service.
Useful training and good practice materials on electronic records management produced by the International Records Management Trust (IRMT) may be downloaded from the IRMT’s website at http://www.irmt.org/researchReports.html
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PROVINCIAL RECORDS MANAGEMENT CAPACITY BUILDING PROJECT
Provincial Records Management Capacity Building
The primary aim of the project is to develop
the capacity to manage records within the provinces. The project aims to develop
in provinces a cadre of records management professionals with the capacity to
leverage records management functions for their respective provinces. Through
various training initiatives and skills programmes, appropriate people will be
trained to manage provincial records. Effective records management units will
therefore be established in each provincial department. In addition to the human
resource capacity, the project will also help in terms of identifying
infrastructural developments to be undertaken.
Regional RM capacity building
Regional Records Management Capacity Building
The benefits for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are equally immense. Amongst its objectives, SADC aims to strengthen and consolidate the long standing historical, social and cultural affinities and links among the people of the Southern African region. In line with the SADC agenda, the project will aim to foster close working ties with countries in the SADC region (notably Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Namibia). Similar initiatives in these countries will be identified and links forged through which professional knowledge, expertise and skills can be shared. For example the project aims to develop centres of excellence in various provinces which can be used as reference sites for records management practitioners from neighbouring countries. Professionals and scholars from the region can also be accepted as interns at these centres. Regional co-operation is not only desirable but possible.
The objectives of this project are also aligned with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiatives which views good governance as a basic requirement for peace, security and sustainable political and socio-economic development. The project views records management as a central tenet of good governance. The desired outcomes of NEPAD for Africa to adopt and implement principles of democracy and good political, economic and corporate governance and the protection of human rights can partly be achieved through sound record keeping.
Current Status of the Project
Some work has already been done within the framework of this project with limited support of other agencies and donors.
The following activities were undertaken:
A workshop at NARS in August 2003 to draft the Provincial Records Management Capacity Building Project Proposal which was submitted to NARS Management.
The National Archives was actively involved in the records management project (between Nov 2002 and June 2003) in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature. The aim of this project was to establish good record keeping systems to enable the legislature to manage its records (both paper-based and electronic). With the guidance from NARS, Documentum was implemented as their IDMS.
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Records Management Publications
Hard copies of these publications are also available on request. Indicate those needed and fax or e-mail a copy of the list to fax number 086 640 0605 or e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and mark with the following subject : Request for hard copies.
Records Management Policy Manual
Guidelines for the compilation of a records management policy
Prototype Registry Procedure Manual
Advisory Pamphlet No 1 - Managing public records and the law: What governmental bodies need to know
Advisory Pamphlet No 4 - Records Management Service Providers and the law: What governmental bodies need to know
Advisory Pamphlet No 5 - Managing email and the law: What governmental bodies need to know
Advisory Pamphlet No 6 - Off-site storage facilities and the law: What governmental bodies need to know
Performance criteria for records managers in governmental bodies
Advisory Pamphlet No 3 -Records managers and the law: What governmental bodies need to know
Management of Electronic Records
Advisory Pamphlet No 2 - Electronic records and the law: What governmental bodies need to know
Functional specification for integrated document and records management solutions
Managing electronic records in governmental bodies: Policy, principles and requirements
Managing electronic records in governmental bodies: Metadata requirements
Standardizing the main series for support functions in the file plans of governmental bodies R1. Background and compiling a file plan R2. Application and maintenance of filing systems R3. General instructions to a file plan R4. Prototype classification of main series for support functions of all governmental bodies R5. Prototype of file plan for Local Governments R9. Prototype file plan for Commissions and Committees of Inquiry R10. Prototype file plan for Offices of Ministers and Deputy Ministers R11. Prototype file plan for Human Resources Management
D1. Application for disposal authority: Terminated correspondence files Template: Terminated correspondence files D2. Schedule for paper-based records other than correspondence files: All governmental bodies excluding local authorities D3. Schedule for paper-based records other than correspondence systems: Local authorities D4. Application for disposal authority: Terminated records other than correspondence files Template: Terminated records other than correspondence files D6. General Disposal Authority PAP1: Disposal of personal files of local authorities D7. Example of a description of an electronic records system for inclusion in the schedule for electronic records systems D8. Prototype schedule for records other than correspondence systems for local authorities D9. General Disposal Authority on personal files and personnel service record cards at state departments D10. General Disposal Authority No. AT2 on the destruction of transitory records of all governmental bodies D11. General Disposal Authority No. AE1 for the destruction of ephemeral electronic records and related documentation
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Further guidance on records management can be obtained from:
The Records Management Division
National Archives and Records Service
Private Bag X236
Tel: (012) 441 3200
Fax: (012) 323 5287
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