Records Services aims to provide practical advice and the application of sound records management practices across the University
Records Services is part of the Information Management team within Digital Solutions. Records Services is responsible for practical advice and the application of sound records management practices across the University, including implementation of the University's Records Management Policy. We aim to help the University achieve its goals in developing and preserving teaching and learning and research of national and international significance by providing quality service and advice on best practice in records management.
Broadly, our services include:
- Provide advice, tools & techniques for record-keeping best practices
- Conduct searches & retrievals for information
- Supply an effective & efficient records management system
- Plan & control disposal programs for inactive records
- Preserve and protect archival and vital records
The Lifecycle of Records
It is important that staff are creating and capturing sufficient information to provide evidence of their actions and decisions and to support the ongoing business of the University. Often records captured into Line-of-Business Systems or designated Systems of Record is enough to ensure that the obligations to capture and maintain records as prescribed by the Public Records Act have been met. With many records which are not routinely maintained in such systems, the embedded business practice is to save into HP Records Manager (RM8) – the University’s formal records management application. If you are a user of RM8, training can be provided by Records Services to ensure that you can easily search, retrieve and capture records.
For many record types and business units there are designated business practices in place to capture University records. For example:
- Student records are captured either digitally into HP Records Manager either via the use of specified group mailboxes, automatically through various business systems (eg: Sonia) or by sending hardcopy records to Records Services for digitisation.
- Personnel records are captured either digitally into HP Records Manager either via the use of a specified group mailbox, automatically through various business systems (eg: PeopleSoft recruitment) or by sending hardcopy records to Records Services for digitisation.
- Committee records should be maintained in the designated SharePoint Committees sites and shall be records managed from within this environment.
The Knowledge and Information Management (KIM) Community SharePoint site provides details on records management activities, including information for specific business elements on how to manage student, staff and other corporate records.
The ability to quickly locate the right information is crucial to the effective and efficient operation of the University, as is the ability to easily share information and collaborate with others.
Classification can be defined as the process of organising similar information together using a hierarchical structure to ensure they can be retrieved efficiently and effectively. Grouping together information makes it easier to use. There are a number of ways of achieving this, and at Griffith we use a Business Classification Scheme (BCS).
Business Classification Schemes generally group topics together under Function, with relevant Activities grouped under the Function. For example, the Griffith BCS has a Function (Teaching and Learning) and Activities under that function include Assessment, Clinics and Curriculum Management.
Use & Share
Requests from external parties
Requests from internal parties
The Information Management Community Site (SharePoint) provides information on:
- Information Storage
- Information Security, including Data Classification
- Information Privacy
- Information Assets
- Retention and Disposal; and
- Classifying Information
Identifying records of ongoing business value will: assist efficient and effective administration; enable decision making and policy development based on current information; and allow organisations to be accountable in terms of the management of resources, as well as legal and financial scrutiny. Records Services is able to provide staff to appraise collections of records and to coordinate the disposal or ongoing storage of records.
Records Services manages the onsite storage locations of physical holdings (both active and inactive records) as well as a number of offsite holdings with 3rd party providers. A number of other business units within the University also have records held in offsite storage, however, records should not be sent to 3rd party providers without the involvement of Records Services.
Day-to-day operational records in hardcopy format would normally be retained in the business unit until they are no longer required and have met their retention requirements. Some long-term retention records (eg: patient files) can be accommodated in the Records Services onsite storage areas.
Contracts and agreements - vital records
All contracts and agreements should be sent to Records Services for registration and capture into the records management system once they have been executed. The University is introducing a digital signature capability for its contracts and agreements.
Records of historical interest
Some records are so crucial to the running of the University that they are called “vital records”, and other records are of such enduring value that they must be retained forever. We refer to these as the Griffith Archive.
This can include ‘evidential’ value derived from the way the record documented the history, structure and functions of the University, and ‘informational’ value in providing research material on persons, places and subjects. Records appraised as having met their primary value and are required for their secondary value are managed by the Griffith Archive in accordance with the Griffith Archive Collection Policy.
Appraisal is the process of distinguishing records of continuing value from those of no further value so that the latter may be disposed of. Records can possess different types or degrees of value to the University, which will affect how long collections need to be kept. In general, there are two layers of value:
Primary value: the value to the University for administrative, legal and fiscal purposes. Identifying records of ongoing business value will: assist efficient and effective administration; enable decision making and policy development based on current information; and allow organisations to be accountable in terms of the management of resources, as well as legal and financial scrutiny. Records Services is able to provide staff to appraise collections of records and to coordinate the disposal or ongoing storage of records where relevant
Secondary value: the additional historical value to the University and wider society. This can include ‘evidential’ value derived from the way the record documented the history, structure and functions of the University, and ‘informational’ value in providing research material on persons, places and subjects. Records appraised as having met their primary value and are required for their secondary value are managed by the Griffith Archive in accordance with the Griffith Archive Collection Policy.
Disposal of records
Regular authorised disposal of records will reduce the costs associated with storing and managing information for those records no longer required by the University for business purposes. Disposing of records not only refers to the act of physically destroying records (regardless of their format) but also the transfer of custody/ownership of a record to another party (eg: Queensland State Archives).
Records Services uses the two main retention and disposal authorities (documents issued under the Public Records Act by Queensland State Archives) which outline the minimum retention period for certain documents, which are classified as either being permanent (never to be destroyed) or temporary (to be destroyed at a later date). Some records have very long temporary retention periods (e.g.up to 70 years), and others are very short (e.g. 6 months). These two main Schedules are:
- University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule
- General Retention and Disposal Schedule
What do I do if I think I have records due for destruction?
- If you believe you are holding records that are no longer required, you may complete a Disposal Authorisation Form which is required to authorise the disposal of University records.
- Once authorised, you may dispose of the records in accordance with the sensitivity of the records. Bins are available through Campus Life.
- The Disposal Authorisation is retained as a permanent retention record of the University.
Governing principles of destruction
The physical destruction of records is governed by the following principles:
- Destruction is authorised by the Manager, Information Management on behalf of the Vice Chancellor as CEO of Griffith University.
- Records pertaining to pending or actual litigation or investigation are not destroyed.
- Destruction of records is carried out in a manner that preserves the confidentiality of the records (e.g. locked confidential bins are used).
- All copies of records that are authorised for destruction, including security copies, preservation copies and backup copies, are also destroyed.
If you are not sure on the status of the records you no longer require, please contact Records Services for assistance.
Queensland State Archives have recently issued a disposal freeze in response to the recommendations arising from the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The University has detailed the records which are covered by the disposal freeze and the actions undertaken to secure them.