Our quick guide to records management.
What is a record?
Records are documents, in any form or format, that are needed by UCL because of the information they contain and the evidence they provide of UCL's activities. Information that fits this description should be filed as part of UCL's records management system.
Why should I manage my records?
To ensure the right record is available, to the right person, at the right time, at the least possible cost.
What should I file?
You should file any document that is important to you in your work for UCL, for example:
- The final version of a letter, presentation, report, spreadsheet etc.
- Non-routine emails
- Minutes of meetings if you are the secretary
- Documents you need to keep for legal reasons.
What should I do with information I am not sure about?
There will be times when you will need to exercise your judgement on whether or not you should file something. Ask yourself: would I or somebody else need this information in the future in order to understand properly the work to which it relates?
If the answer is 'yes', you should file it; if 'no', do not.
What should I not file?
Information that is of no continuing value to UCL's work, for example:
- Working drafts, duplicates, junk mail, newsletters, notices, trade literature
- Personal or local copies of records that are filed elsewhere
- Routine emails such as invitations to meetings or acknowledgements
Where should I file information?
- If paper, attach it to the file relating to that subject or case with the most recent document at the front
- If electronic (including email), save to the folder on the appropriate shared drive.
When should I close a file / folder?
To manage your records logically, you will need to close files and folders at certain points. Generally, you should close them:
- After a certain time period: five years for paper files, one year for electronic folders
- When the business to which the file or folder relates has been completed
- When a paper file becomes bulky and unwieldy - open a new part.