RECORDS INVENTORY – NOT AS BORING AS YOU MAY THINK
“The goal of local government record keeping should be to provide recorded information to those who need it, when they need it, and in the most cost-effective manner—whether those who need the information are the governing body, administrators or staff, or members of the public.” – page 4, Inventorying and Scheduling Records, Local Government Bulletin C., Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
One of many responsibilities for our local elected officials is stewardship (management) for their office’s records. In Texas counties the “Official Public Record” goes back farther than 1837 when the Republic of Texas established Houston County as Texas’ first county.
County Clerk and District Clerk records are full of the critical data required to keep commerce moving and the legal system operating. These records are found in books, boxes, binders, as maps and on microfilm of various types.
Considering retention, Official Public Records (OPR) are permanent while other offices must use retention schedules for maintaining their various document types. Managing all these records requires a system that provides features to not only address issues such as document version control, tracking/status and retention schedules, but also provides for the proper medium for each document type to ensure the integrity of records stored for long periods of time.
But where to start? A records inventory is a fantastic place to start. This can be the foundation of sound records management and the first step in establishing a records management program.
I hear quite regularly that the thought of investing time and resources into a records inventory is not very compelling and not a priority. Let’s consider the positive outcomes from such an activity.
Responsibility: Be absolutely confident as to the extent, composition and integrity of your records collections and libraries.
Visibility: Have unparalleled insight into your records.
Budgeting: Have the ability to accurately calculate costs before doing conversion projects.
Accuracy: For RFPs, you have precise, in-depth records information.
Facility Management: For space planning – easily calculate total space needed for both near and long-term storage.
Compliance: For those offices who can and do, destroy records that have achieved their retention policy, thus reducing the total volume of records being stored while maintaining records policy compliance.
And, with the assumption that the inventory will include entering this data into an electronic database, you will now have access to things that were previously unavailable:
Cloud-based - 24/7 access into your entire file database
Real-time status for all files
Enhanced searching capabilities
Duplicate record verification
Identify all locations of fragmented records series, compare, and define mysterious case number series, and unite long separated disparate documents.
Project Management tool – use for reconciling services projects – ensure deliverables are accurate and complete.
With the newly added benefit of a digital inventory database, you can exploit the benefits of utilizing new management tools and techniques to improve records access, budget planning, storage planning and enhancing your records management program.
Interested in a free consultation? Give us a call or send an email. We’d be happy to lend a hand.