How organizations can benefit greatly from better management of records
In today’s world, where data and information proliferate, it’s more important than ever that organizations are on top of how they manage records and are able to exploit the information they hold for the organization’s benefit. This blog post discusses a new British Standard that is designed to help organizations do just that.
BS 10025:2021 - Management of records. Code of practice is a guidance document that sets out what is a good practice in the management of records that are produced, received and accumulated in the course of an organization’s activities and operations, regardless of the media or format, or when the records are created. Why they’re captured and maintained is irrelevant, as is their apparent value to people or to the organization.
The term management of records is used throughout and not the term records management - which might be seen by some as covering only the field and discipline practiced by records managers; and also because many are likely to see aspects of the coverage of the Code as covered wholly, or in part, by other fields, for example, information management, information asset management, information governance, data management or data governance.
BS 10025 applies to all organizations whatever their size, complexity, or operating environments. It is relevant to organizations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, agencies, authorities, charities, companies, corporations, government departments, institutions, partnerships, universities, and sole traders.
The code is intended for anyone who has responsibility for managing an organization’s records – not just professionals or experts in records management and related areas. In particular the code is written for all those in an organization who have a lead role in the management of records but may not be familiar with principles and good practice. It's also for those who support specific areas of the management of records, for example developers of IT systems being used to capture, process, and store records.
It's recommended that an organization give operational responsibility for the overall management of records to a worker with the necessary knowledge and skills and that the organization’s policy and related business rules are based on consultation with specialists and relevant experts.
Core business processes
The objective of the code is that its principles and recommended practice will deliver tangible business benefits to the organizations that follow them, by integrating the management of records into an organization’s core business processes and tools – avoiding its management as a standalone activity.
While there are key records requirements in policy, change management, metadata, business continuity and a number of other areas, what is built for the management of records should be integrated into a wider framework, wherever it exists. And management of records should be combined wherever possible with related disciplines – for example, information security, business continuity and data protection.
The benefits that accrue
When this code is put into practice a lot of benefits can flow from that. For one thing, good management of records is crucial to compliance with legal and regulatory obligations: in particular the requirements of GDPR, the UK Data Protection Act and related legislation, and the UK Freedom of Information (FoI) Act which covers public sector organizations.
In addition, organizations can demonstrate to any interested party that they’re following good practice in the management of records. Interested stakeholders might include citizens, tax payers, customers, regulators or the courts. Following the code will also support the implementation of an effective information security system, and the implementation of ISO/IEC 27002 on information and security controls.
Crucially, the code will help organizations to leverage the information value contained in records. This supports organizations with their business needs and objectives. It also drives business improvement and innovation.
Range of experts
Written by a panel with experts from organizations that include the Archives and Records Association, the British Library, and the Information and Records Management Society, this new standard offers a current, practical and relevant approach to archive and record management that will be valuable to every type or organization.