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Policy Document RECORDS MANAGEMENT POLICY

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The District Council Of Elliston Policy Document RECORDS MANAGEMENT POLICY Date Adopted: 16 th December 2005 Review Date: Ongoing, as necessary Minute Number: E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies
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The District Council Of Elliston Policy Document RECORDS MANAGEMENT POLICY Date Adopted: 16 th December 2005 Review Date: Ongoing, as necessary Minute Number: E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies & licences\policies\records Management Policy.doc Page. 1 RECORDS MANAGEMENT POLICY Policy Manual Introduction The District Council of Elliston recognises the importance of developing and implementing records management policy. Council has a legal obligation under the State Records Act 1997 to ensure that official records in its custody are maintained in good order and condition. The Chief Executive Officer also has a responsibility under the Local Government Act to ensure that records required by these Acts are properly kept and maintained. The development and implementation of adequate records management policy will help to ensure Council meets these obligations, as well as ensuring that Council s evidentiary, accountability and information needs are met. Definitions Record: Official Record Disposal: Capture: (a) written, graphic or pictorial matter; or (b) a disk, tape, film or other object that contains information or from which information may be reproduced (with or without the aid of another object or device). A record made or received by the Council in the conduct of its business. An official record may be paper-based and/or electronic. An official record may be held off-site. The destruction of a record; the carrying out of any process that makes it impossible to reproduce the information in a record; the transferring or delivering ownership or possession of a record; or the selling of a record. Involves the organisation of official records with unique identifiers in some form of logical sequence, which may be ensured by any of the following: Classification and indexing, which allow appropriate linking, grouping, naming, security protection, user permissions and retrieval, disposition and identifying vital records Arrangement in a logical structure and sequence, whether a physical file or electronic directory, which facilitates subsequent use and reference Registration which provides evidence of the existence of records in a records system and Systems which profile or template the actions undertaken in business. GDS 20: General Disposal Schedule 20 (GDS 20) set of guidelines that applies to the disposal of all records, irrespective of format or media and created or received by any Local Government Authorities in South Australia. Responsibilities Chief Executive Officer Ensure that the Records Management Policy is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that it is relevant to emerging trends, amended standards, legislation and guidelines Ensure that the Records Management Policy, and all responsibilities contained within this policy, is brought to the attention of all staff members, and all new staff members in their induction Overall management of Council s official records Ensure records are disposed of in accordance with the General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20) Provision of access to official records, and disclosing the information they contain Location of official records Reliability of official records. E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies & licences\policies\records Management Policy.doc Page. 2 Records Management Officer Ensure records are disposed of in accordance with the General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20) Coordination of Council s Records Management Program. All Staff Create records on transaction of business, or as soon as practicable afterwards Capture official records into Council s record keeping system upon creation or receipt, or as soon as practicable afterwards Regular training to inform all staff of any changes. All staff are informed of their records management responsibilities by: The inclusion of this policy in the induction process for new employees In-house records management training provided to new employees Including records management responsibilities in all Job Descriptions Regular review of this policy Ensuring this policy is accessible to all staff. All new staff will be informed of the following in their induction: Their obligations to create specific official records as stated in legislative or administrative instruments The need to capture official records into recordkeeping systems upon creation or receipt, or as soon as practicable afterwards The need to dispose of official records in accordance with the provisions of the General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20) Council s policies, procedures and practices regarding: access to records and disclosure of information within the records. record alteration record version control record security validation of records Creation of Official Records All official records must be created in all instances where there is a need for Council or an individual to be accountable for, and / or provide evidence of, decisions made and actions taken. All staff are responsible for the creation of official records on transaction of business, or as soon as practicable afterwards. Official records shall be created: for decisions reached, or commitments or transactions made orally (person to person over the telephone) for decisions and recommendations for which the Council may be held accountable for meetings where official business of the Council is transacted where the decision made or action taken sets a precedent, or the Council/Committee feels is likely to set such a precedent E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies & licences\policies\records Management Policy.doc Page. 3 when the Council is entering into legal obligations, for example contract negotiations or leases, where legislative, or other authority sources, mandate that a record be created where business process analysis has identified the need to create official records at certain points in a work process where policies and supporting procedures have identified a need to create records. Official records shall be created as business is being transacted. When it is not possible or practical to create official records as business is being transacted, official records shall be created as soon as possible after the business is transacted. Capture of Official Records All official records shall be captured into Council s recordkeeping system upon creation or receipt, or as soon as practicable afterwards. All staff are responsible for the capture of official records into Council s record keeping system. This includes the responsibility of ensuring that official records are captured into Council s records management system (ie. forwarding the record to the Records Management Officer). Official records shall be captured as soon as possible after they have been created, received and/or sent. All official records shall be captured into Council s record keeping system, except for records that can be destroyed by the Record Management Officer after approval from all Senior Management Officers and State Records under NAP (Normal Administrative Practice) as defined in General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20). Official records are captured via: Registration into Council s Records Management System. All staff members responsible for classification of records shall receive Local Government Keyword Thesaurus training, as offered by State Records, as soon as practical after receiving this responsibility. Disposal of Official Records NO OFFICIAL RECORDS BEING CREATED UNDER COUNCILS NAME SHOULD BE DELETED FROM PERSONAL COMPUTERS WITHOUT A HARD COPY BEING SENT TO FILE. All official records of the Council shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20). The Chief Executive Officer and Record Management Officer are responsible for the disposal of official records obtaining approval from State Records. The Local Government General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20) shall be applied to all records created or received by this Council. In the event that General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20) stops being the current and approved disposal schedule, the Council will apply the appropriate schedule as advised by State Records of SA. The State Records Act 1997 provides for the preservation and management of official records. General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20) is issued as a determination under Section 23 of the Act, which states that no official records may be disposed of without the approval of the State Records. E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies & licences\policies\records Management Policy.doc Page. 4 Council disposes of official records in accordance with determinations made by the Manager of State Records. State Records must be notified prior to destruction of records. The State Records Act 1997 imposes a maximum penalty of $ or two years imprisonment if a person, knowing they do not have proper authority, disposes of an official record. Where the Council is aware that records may be required for use in litigation, use in a government enquiry or consideration of the Ombudsman, then the records cannot be destroyed. In such circumstances the records need to be retained until two years after all cases and enquiries are complete, including appeals and then have the original retention period applied to the records. Records shall be sentenced against General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20) prior to disposal. All staff members responsible for sentencing records shall receive General Disposal Schedule training, as offered by State Records, as soon as practical after receiving this responsibility. Council shall develop and maintain an official disposal program. Council shall have an archive program to dispose of its records on an annual basis. The Records Management Officer is responsible for coordinating Council s official disposal program. As per Section 19 of the State Records Act 1997, all PERMANENT records shall be transferred to State Records once such records are fifteen (15) years old or administrative use has ceased (this is not done in this Council some records are at State Records already). Council may apply to the Director of State Records for either a postponement or exemption from this requirement. As per General Disposal Schedule (GDS 20), records which are more than 50 years old at the time of application of the Schedule, and have a disposal action of TEMPORARY, shall have due consideration given to their historical significance. State Records must be notified of the existence of these records by letter, and will make a determination regarding their retention. Council shall keep a register of all records destroyed noting the relevant disposal authority. Council shall keep a register of all official records (temporary and permanent) being held off site, for short and long term retention. Official records that have been authorised for destruction by State Records shall be destroyed via shredding or pulping. The destruction shall be witnessed by the Chief Executive Officer and /or Record Management Officer or have a document from an agent authorised to destroy records to certify that the records have been destroyed in inaccordance with the Act to ensure any confidential and / or sensitive records remain confidential. Electronic records shall be destroyed via reformatting. Access to Official Records The Council shall ensure that all access to official records takes place in a managed manner using prescribed policies. Access to official records and the disclosure of information within them needs to be systematic, considered and consistent. The indiscriminate release of, or refusal to release, information may infringe on the rights of individuals, or the State, and cause severe liabilities for the Council. E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies & licences\policies\records Management Policy.doc Page. 5 Unless otherwise stated below, the Chief Executive Officer and / or Record Management Officer are responsible for providing access to official records, and disclosing the information they contain. The Chief Executive Officer is also responsible for ensuring the access regime is adhered to. Access to the Public 1. Schedule 5 Local Government Act All Council s official records which fall under Schedule 5 of the Local Government Act 1999 shall be made available for perusal by the public at Council s administration building, subject to any exemption contained within the Act (eg. See Section 91(7). 2. Rates & Property Information In relation to rates and property enquiries, only information contained within Council s Assessment Record can be disclosed, unless it is an application made under Section 187 of the Local Government Act or Section 12 of the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994 except in the case were information that has been suppressed by an order. As per Section 187 of the Local Government Act, a Certificate of Liabilities for a property must be issued when application is made in accordance with that Section. The person making the application must be: the owner of a registered estate or interest in the land; or an occupier of the land; or a person who has entered or declares to the Council that he or she proposes to enter into a contract to purchase the land; or a mortgagee or prospective mortgagee of the land. All disclosures of rates and property information, made in accordance with the above, must be provided in writing (ie. via , fax or post), and the record captured into Council s recordkeeping system. The Corporate Manager is responsible for providing access to official records as described above. 3. Voters Roll A copy of Council s Voters Roll shall be available for perusal at Council s administration building, in accordance with Section 15(14) of the Local Government (Elections) Act The Corporate Manager is responsible for providing access to Council s Voters Roll. 4. Planning & Development Council s Development Plan is a public document and, as per Section 31 of the Development Act 1993, shall be made available for perusal and purchase at Council s administration building. The Corporate Manager is responsible for providing access to Council s Development Plan. 5. Confidential Records Access to confidential records (as identified below) shall not be provided to the public. Requests for access to records that fall under an order of Council or Council Committee made in accordance with Section 91 of the Local Government Act 1999, shall be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for consideration. The Chief Executive Officer shall consider the duration of the order or the circumstances in which the order will cease to apply in making the access decision. 6. Records that do not fall in any of the above categories Requests for official records that do not fall under any of the above categories shall be referred to the Chief Executive Officer. When making the decision, the Chief Executive Officer shall consider: E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies & licences\policies\records Management Policy.doc Page. 6 all legislative requirements, to provide access to records, including those not specifically identified in the provisions above. the Copyright Act 1968 the Freedom of Information Act any commercial confidentiality agreements to which Council is a party governing the release of information within its records any confidentiality orders made by Council or a Council Committee in accordance with Section 91 of the Local Government Act 1999 Where the provision of access to, or the release of information from, Council s records, is likely to expose Council to legal liabilities, professional legal advice shall be sought prior to approval. Where approval is not given by the Chief Executive Officer, the requester of the records be advised that such requests must be made as per Section 13 of the Freedom of Information Act Access to Council Members Council records shall be made available to Council Members in their capacity as Council Members in accordance with Section 61 of the Local Government Act with the approval by the Chief Executive Officer. Access to Council Staff Confidential records identified below must be kept in a locked cabinet, cupboard, or room, with access restricted to the Chief Executive Officer and/or Manager responsible for those records, in accordance with any legislative requirements: Records relating to the enforcement of regulatory health responsibilities. Register of compensation claims Management of claims under Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986, and predecessor legislation Council records relating to appeals to the Workers Compensation Tribunal, Supreme Court or other external authority, relating to specific compensation cases Records relating to the management of Council employee rehabilitation cases Duplicate copies of compensation case records held for reference purposes Records contained within Personnel files Records relating to the management of rehabilitation cases Records relating to grievances and complaints by Council employees Records relating to infringements by Council employees Records relating to performance assessment of individuals Records relating to Council employee discipline Records relating to arrangements for staff to receive counselling for any purpose. Council shall implement procedures to ensure the security and reliability of Council records. Council shall identify any commercial confidentiality agreements to which it is a party governing the release of information within its records. E:\WPData\Jodie\My Documents\policies & licences\policies\records Management Policy.doc Page. 7 Council shall ensure that public access determinations are completed for official records held in the custody of State Records. Records provided to the public in cases of litigation must be copies only. Finding of Records Specific records shall be able to be found upon demand, or with the minimum extra effort. The Record Management Officer is responsible for the location of official records. Council s official records includes records that may be held off-site ie. in a temporary storage facility, in an archives facility, at a depot, at a tourist information centre, or at State Record s storage facility. The Council shall keep a record of the location of all official records, and shall have controls upon those locations. All official records of the Council shall be placed into structured recordkeeping systems. The Council shall implement and maintain tools to record and control the location of official records. The Council shall implement and maintain tools to enable it to locate each one of its official records by its official identifier. The staff member responsible for Front Counter duties is responsible for describing official records. All registered official documents will be described. Council shall identify, and document, the staff who will have access to the tools to search for official records location. Records generated by contractors engaged by Council, and other parties involved in joint ventures, shall be passed on to Council at the completion of the contract. These are records that will provide evidence of accountability and compliance of the Council and the other party. Such records and the custody procedures shall be identified and written into contracts and agreements. Evidence of contractors public liability will be maintained with the contract documents. Reliability of Records Council shall implement measures to ensure the reliability of its records as evidence of business transactions. The Chief Executive Officer and/or Record Management Officer is responsible for the reliability of Council s official records. No official records may be altered without the express authorisation of the Chief Executive Officer. If an official record is altered or updated without authorisation, all necessary and practical attempts must be made to ensure the record is returned to its original state. Where this is impossible, a record must be created and captured describing the changes made to the original document. This record must remain with the origin
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