When a business is run, it is quite natural that there are numerous transactions that must be accounted for. There are several files documenting vital information specific to the organisation and the various departments in it. These can be roughly termed as records and are essential resources for the smooth running of any business. Records together can be called the collective memory of an organisation.
Records management is to systematically organise all records and the information or data that they contain. From time immemorial, whenever we used to think of records, we could always visualise stacks of paper that might be old and worn out, but still stored somewhere safe. Today these records are stored increasingly within electronic systems as well.
The core concept is the lifecycle of information, from creation to final disposition, either through a controlled destruction process or being added to the long-term or permanent record (the archive) of the organisation. Records Management includes the practice of categorising, classifying, providing access to, archiving, and sometimes the controlled destruction of records.
Efficient records management increases proficiency, protects confidential records, and helps preserve institutional history. It also adds value in protecting confidentiality of information and safeguards information from fire, and other risks.
Each business unit usually does not have its own independent record management practices. Mostly, organisations have a broad company structure and it’s all about adhering to those norms strictly.
While a common approach helps in the long run, an uncoordinated method to managing the organisation’s records could lead to:
• Failure to comply with legislation
• Risks to accountability
• Inefficient use of time
• Poorly informed decision-making
• Loss of organisation’s memory
• Increased expenses
The record copy is the original or official document that is kept on file and is subject to the requirements of the retention schedule as stipulated by any statutory authority. The record copy must be listed on the disposition log, upon destruction or transfer to the schedule.
All copies of a document that are not stored in the records, are considered convenience copies. These need not be listed on the disposition log and may be destroyed at any time within the retention period. However, they must not be kept longer than the record copy, because that can lead to unnecessary escalation of expenses.
Permanent records have enduring, historical or research value. They are retained permanently in an office or in the offsite archival center, after a period of active use. Records are considered permanent if they have enduring administrative, fiscal or legal value to the government or if they possess significant secondary research value beyond those for which they were created. Permanent records often have historical significance and are often termed as archival records.
Records enable and support an organisation’s work to fulfill its mission. Companies, and that include federal agencies, must know how to address well-defined objectives, which add value, either by achieving the organisation’s goals or by reducing the costs. Records mostly contain information. It’s a valuable resource and is essential to take a systematic approach to the management of records.
Some benefits of records management include:
• Contributes to the smooth running of programmes
• Aids in delivering services in a consistent and equitable manner
• Simplifies operative presentation of actions throughout an agency
• Defends the privileges of the agency, its employees, and its customers
• Delivers continuity even if there might be any natural or man-made disasters
• Protects records from inappropriate and unauthorised access
• Meets statutory and regulatory requirements including archival, audit, and oversight activities
• Permits faster retrieval of documents and information from files
• Improves office efficiency and productivity
• Provides better documentation more efficiently
• Supports and documents historical and other research
• Clears the much-needed office space that can be used for other purposes by moving inactive records to storage facilities
• Avoids unnecessary purchases of office equipment
It’s a group of similar records that are filed together and treated as a unit. It may consist of many separate files, but it is treated as a single unit for all purposes relating to records retention. A familiar example is “personnel files” one of which exists for every employee in the organisation. Even though there may be hundreds or thousands of these files, they are referred to as a record series – “personnel files” – for retention purposes.
Traditionally, the term has been used to describe records that are no longer in current use and have been selected for permanent preservation. It can also be referred to as the place (building/room/storage area) where records are archived. Finally, it can mean an organisation/or a part of it, responsible for appraising, acquiring, preserving and making it available for archival material.
The Retention Period is the approved, legal, minimum amount of time, for which each specific record series is kept. It is illegal to keep any record series for LESS than the retention period.
Retention & Disposal Schedule of a record is an essential component of an efficient and effective records management system. Appropriately established and steadily implemented, a Records Retention & Disposal Schedule protects the interests of the organisation and its stakeholders by ensuring that business records are kept for as long as required, to meet operational needs and to comply with legal requirements and are then disposed.
Retention periods differ from department to department, and as per the latest developments, the changes are put in place by statutory authorities from time to time. For example, the account and finance related documents need to be kept for 5 years. A retention period is calculated from the year of the generation of document + 5 years.
Yes, if you are being audited or have received the notice of an audit. If there is litigation regarding the records (or even pending litigation), or if there is a request for records —the responsive records should not be destroyed until the matter is resolved and their retention period has ended. We contemplate that a proper “Destruction Hold” has been placed on the relevant records.
Yes, it's fine to move from paper to electronic records. But, it’s better to be aware that electronic records are governed by the same accessibility and retention requirements as paper records. While properly shifting to electronic forms or designing a database, you need to consider the retention period of the record and ensure it is accessible and readable for the full retention period.
Backups are essentially duplicating the original. They can be destroyed once they have served their reference purpose. We highly recommend using backups only to restore data in cases of a disk failure, accidental deletion, or for disaster recovery purposes. We advise that complete backups should not be kept for more than 6 months and those partial backups not be kept for more than 3 months.
Permanent records are those that have enduring, historical or research value. Records are considered permanent if they have enduring administrative, fiscal or legal value to government or if they possess significant secondary research value beyond those for which they were created.
Every organisation can demarcate their documents into permanent record categories depending on their needs and importance. However, official documents are usually categorised as per the following heads:
• Minutes of some important meetings
• Organisation Charts
• Policies and Procedures
• Annual Approved Budget (often called CAFR)
• Mission Statements
• Charter, Amendment, and Incorporating Records
• Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patent Records
• Research documents if any
Intelics Solutions Records Storage FAQs
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Intelics Solutions Nigeria Ltd is one of the country’s established Records Management service providers and will be able to help you with complete solution on Record Management. The following link will take you to our Records Management Services. http://www.intelics.com
Intelics Solutions Nigeria Limited is the country’s first professionally managed and largest Document Storage Company. It is a joint venture between Writer Business Services Pvt. Ltd (India’s largest, 3rd largest in Asia Pacific and worldwide among top 7 document storage and information management service providers) and IAL Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s oldest and largest move management company. Intelics Solutions has its registered office at IAL Place, 16, Burma Road and Corporate Office at #5, Yinka Oba Industrial Estate, Surulere Industrial Road, Adeniyi Jone, Ikeja, Lagos.
OFFSITE ARCHIVAL OF PHYSICAL DOCUMENTS – DOCUMENT PICKUP
Intelics Solutions will visit your office, affix barcodes on all files, pack them in Intelics branded cartons and transport them to one central place.
Intelics Solutions can help get you organised, boxed, indexed, and moved off-site. We are more cost efficient than a “mini-storage” and you won’t have to do the deliveries and labour yourself. The company has a computerised bar-code system that keeps track of all your boxes and the information about the documents inside them.
No, it’s not needed. As a part of records management service offerings, Intelics Solutions will provide its standard cartons for archival of records at offsite storage location. In case you have already invested in your cartons, we will continue to archive your records in them.
You only need to keep the files ready, by keeping a track of all the documents that are kept inside. This way it will be easy to track things, whenever they are in need. You should have proper file names written on the top of every file so that indexing can be captured properly. Intelics will implement the same indexing pattern that you had been following so far, to ensure there aren’t any difficulties.
Yes, all our vehicles are equipped with GPS and intrusion tracking system, through which all vehicle movements can be tracked.
All files and cartons are assigned by unique bar-codes. They are mapped to each other and only through the system, so that you can get the exact location of carton/file.
All your documents are safeguarded right from pickup until ultimate archival at our facility. Once the cartons are stored inside storage facility no one can identify which carton belong to you unless a barcode is provided by you because there is nothing written outside carton.
From the time the documents are collected, all measures are taken to safeguard them well, until they are archived at our facility. Once the cartons are stored inside the storage facility, no one can identify which carton belongs to whom unless a bar-code is provided because there is nothing written outside the box.
All your information is kept confidential, which will be governed by NDA signed between your company and Intelics Solutions. All our employees are bound by the NDA signed with Intelics Solutions.
At the time of pickup, the barcoding of files and cartons are done at your office and final inventory is shared with you before the packed cartons are moved out of your premise. You can also check your complete inventory on our secure web access.
All our facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art fire prevention systems. Since there is nothing written outside the box no one can come to know where your carton is placed to safeguard from any theft. You can also have your auditors come and inspect our facilities. Recommendations, if any, will be incorporated in our SOPs.
Intelics would like to recommend this for all the files, which are generated daily. They could be sent for offsite archival in case the volume of file generation is very high, preferably banks, insurance, and telecom companies. However, for all other customers, generally, one-year records can be kept in office, rest all records should be sent for offsite archival.
It is always recommended that the documents should not be archived in-house for the following reasons
• Lower cost of outsourcing because of sharing of resources like racking, firefighting equipment, rental, security guards, records management software, etc. as compared to dedicated in-house setup
• No easy access to document archival facility
• Identification of cartons through software codes only, as against in-house dedicated facility, which is known to everyone. This helps in accessing archived documents easily
• File retrieval and convenient delivery is available based on customer needs without being hassled up while monitoring in-house archival system and staff
• Authorised access controlled by the client and computerised authentication system
• Places responsibility for locating containers or files on Intelics Solutions staff, rather than on valuable client employee time
• Gives an opportunity to customers to concentrate on core competency
• Complete asset-light model of archiving physical documents
• Safeguards office premise, human capital, equipment, plant, and machinery, etc. from fire hazards
• Archival of your physical documents by professionals.
DOCUMENT RETRIEVAL, REFILING, AND INSERTION
At Intelics Solutions, you are at liberty to retrieve an individual file inside a carton by logging in a request through our Secure Web Access.
While placing a retrieval request on Secure Web Access, please select the delivery mode that would suit your requirement – Normal, Urgent, Express. Depending on the mode you’ve selected, we will retrieve the files accordingly.
You can send in a request on an urgent mode through Secure Web Access and we at Intelics will scan all the documents and send you the encrypted file through email or alternatively we can keep the file on our SFTP server through which you can retrieve the documents. You can start referring to the content, while Intelics Solutions will deliver the file through an urgent delivery mode to your office.
Intelics Solutions on a special condition will retrieve the documents and deliver on non-working days on an urgent basis.
You can send a refiling request through our Secure Web Access and at a scheduled date and time, our packing crew will come and pick up the file/carton for refiling as per SOP.
In case of bulk retrieval request, you can upload an excel sheet containing all file barcodes in our secure web access and we will retrieve the files and deliver to you as per the TAT discussed with you. Alternatively, you can also visit our office and use our Referral Rooms for referring to all files in bulk.
You can send the additional document insertion request through our secure web access. The Intelics team will pick up these documents and insert them into the same old file, and you can check the status on Secure Web Access.
Intelics Solutions will help you get all these documents scanned with our heavy-duty industrial scanners in the shortest possible time through process automation and help you upload all these documents to any of your EDMS. Alternatively, Intelics Solutions can also provide its trade marked EDMS InfoDocs™.
If the records are very old, then we will deliver the scanned images in PDF-A Compliant images as per our recommendation. This however depends on the actual use and compatibility of your existing EDMS. We will deliver images in PDF, JPEG, TIFF, etc. formats. Pages can be scanned in Colour/B/W/ Grey Scale as per your requirement.
Yes, all rules of retention, archival, destruction, etc., which are applicable to physical records, are also applicable to electronic records as well.
DOCUMENT RETENTION AND SHREDDING
Intelics Solutions’s secure web access will help you generate a report for records, which are due for destruction manually; otherwise, the system will automatically send you the details of records due for destruction based on the retention period captured at the time of packing.
Intelics Solutions has secure shredding facility. The records identified by you can be shredded with P4 level destruction and the scrap will be sent for pulping. At the end of shredding activity, Intelics Solutions will issue a Green Certificate, which can be used as CSR reporting.
As a part of complete audit log maintenance, Intelics Solutions will keep a track of all documents archived and how many have been shredded along with details of date, time, authorisation, etc.
Intelics Solutions Records Management Software maintains every log of activities done on the files, which are stored at our storage centers, and with the help of Secure Web Access you can review and download the same, any time. Through this access, you will be able to monitor your entire inventory of each department, division, sub division, etc. level.
Through our secure Web Access, you can check the inventory of each department, business Unit, Division, Sub Division, etc. and by which you can track the cost incurred in archival of each department documents.
Intelics solutions as a part of physical document archival service offering, will train all your concerned staff on best practices of records management.
The following points bring in the differentiation:
1. Experience of several decades in Records Management
2. Leadership position in Nigeria
3. Matured SOPs over several decades
4. Deep drenched cost revisions to be most cost competitive in the market
5. Proven track record
6. State-of-the-art archival facilities, which are equipped with fire prevention to detection to fighting systems and modular racking that help to optimise every inch of a facility
7. Strong brand value
8. Nigeria’s first professionally managed records management company
9. Largest O’Neil (Records Management Software) Implementation
10. Online tracking of documents, vehicles transporting documents, activities being performed in the archival centre, etc. broadcasting complete transparent operations of Intelics Solutions