How to Approach an Office Records Management Overhaul

Overhauling a records management system can be a daunting task. Understanding what worked previously, what didn’t work, and what new programs to implement are all elements in an office records management overhaul. There are a range of things to consider when revamping your records management program, including inventory, security, and disposition projects. Overhauling a records management system should not be a one person task. It will take a team of individuals to create a records management program that will benefit your entire office. Below, are six things to consider when creating your records management program.

1. Choosing Leaders for Overhaul Projects

It is well known that the RMO is usually in charge of large projects concerning records management. But it is also important to have other people in charge of certain aspects of the overhaul. Records Liaisons can lead things like disposition projects, forms management (like filing compliance documents with TSLAC), and conducting an inventory. Implementing a tiered leadership system — like the one pictured — will make your records overhaul more organized.

2. Compliance with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC)

Form SLR 508

When conducting a records management overhaul, an important step is to make sure your local government or state agency is in compliance with TSLAC. For local governments, this means completing the Designation of Records Management Officer (SLR 504) and Declaration of Compliance (SLR 508). Local governments must have a policy depending on the type local government. For elected officials, this means completing the Records Management Policy and Declaration of Compliance By an Elected County Official (SLR 512). Along with this, to determine if your local government is in compliance with TSLAC, find the analyst assigned to your region for more information.

For state agencies, compliance depends on the re-certification of your agency’s retention schedule. Recertification means your agency has created a retention schedule that complies with the minimum retention periods of the Texas Records Retention Schedule, the University Records Retention Schedule, or both. To talk to an analyst about your recertification procedures or for further assistance click here to find your analyst or email slrminfo@tsl.texas.gov.

3. Conducting an Inventory

An inventory of records that already exist is essential. An inventory is an accounting of records in a local government or state agency system. Inventories will determine other projects that must be completed. Conducting an inventory can be a long process depending on how often your office conducts one. Please click the link here to find more information on best practices.

4. Ensuring Security Measures

Having proper security for your local government’s or state agency’s records is also essential in a records management overhaul. In the past, security of records meant having a filing cabinet with a lock. Today, in a virtually all-electronic world, security breaches of electronic records often happen to state agencies and local governments that are not adequately prepared. Check out other blog articles on The Texas Record concerning the security of electronic records.

5. Withstanding Tech Updates

For any overhaul, an RMO should create a records management program that can adapt to technological advances. Today, technology is typically updated every 1 to 5 years, so having a plan that can be used for the long haul will be beneficial for your local government. Our two-part webinar on Strategies for Preserving Digital Records is free and covers various ways of ensuring that electronic records — and the technology needed to access them — are well maintained

6. Disposition of Records

RMS - Records Disposition - Module 4 - YouTube

Disposition of records consist of either the destruction or transfer of records. Disposition is important because a) it disposes of records that has passed its retention date, and b) is important because it creates space for a more effective records management overhaul. There are a number of reasons why disposition is important. Please see our Disposition 101 webinar to find more information.

In Summary

Conducting a records management overhaul will be challenging. However, having an organized system and liaisons in place will make the process go more smoothly, and your local government or state agency with have more efficient records management procedures in place.

For more information on records management overhauls please email slrminfo@tsl.texas.gov or call 512-463-7610 to speak to an analyst.

2 thoughts on “How to Approach an Office Records Management Overhaul

  1. The article says there are 7 things to consider when overhauling a RM program but I count only 6 unless the Summary is #7

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