To comply with various regulations and prevent penalties related to the storage, management, and destruction of records, organizations must adopt a records management policy as a crucial practice. That is why it is critical to clearly define who is responsible for records management in an organization.
The responsibility for records management in an organization typically falls under the scope of a designated records manager or a team responsible for managing records. Record custodians maintain, secure, and classify records in accordance with company guidelines.
Identifying risks, implementing recommended RM guidelines, and developing a suitable plan are key steps in overcoming the various barriers associated with records management. Records managers have a crucial role to play in preventing disastrous incidents and ensuring the successful implementation of an effective records management program.
In this article, we look at the various parties engaged in the process, the difficulties they encounter, and their distinct roles in ensuring that records are well maintained, secured, and destroyed as per internal policies.
Records Management Responsibilities
From the topmost levels of management to the frontline employee, records management should be a dual responsibility that is addressed and followed. When creating records, both organizations and their personnel must be held accountable.
1- Records managers
Records managers play a critical role in ensuring effective RM program within an organization. They are responsible for overseeing the creation, maintenance, retrieval, and disposal of records based on a records retention policy.
This includes developing policies and procedures that align with the organizations’ goals which should ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements imposed by industry rules or governmental policies in addition to the best suitable implementation of information governance.
In addition to their core responsibilities, records managers must possess strong communication skills. This is essential as they work closely with other departments within the organization, providing guidance and mentorship on records management implementation, enforcing rules and regulations, and addressing critical issues related to records management.
Being effective communicators enables records managers to build relationships, collaborate with others, and foster a culture of accountability and compliance.
In my opinion and based on previous poorly implemented records management program I witnessed in various organizations; the role of a records manager is essential. They can help organizations reduce risks, enhance operational efficiency, and support informed decision-making by ensuring the availability of accurate and up-to-date information.
2- Records users
The second group of stakeholders who are responsible for records management are the users. These users share an equal obligation to the owners in making sure that information is used properly and only shared with authorized personnel to minimize data breaches or compromising sensitive content.
They are required to follow the owner’s guidelines and rules to govern access, usage, and protection of records. If a record is being misused, it can lead to catastrophic events such as data falling in the wrong hands or being modified without the owner’s approval.
All users are responsible for making sure that business records are accurate, clearly updated, and of high quality.
3- IT department
The IT department also plays an important role in managing the organization’s infrastructure including hardware, software, network, and databases that store and maintain electronic records.
Records managers and the IT department should work closely to ensure effective management of records within the organization which requires integration of IT systems and processes including data backup and recovery, access control, and security measures to protect against data breaches.
4- Legal department
The legal department plays a crucial role in records management by providing legal advice and guidance on the organization’s policies and regulations. They help records managers to clearly understands the regulatory environment and update them whenever changes are introduced.
They work closely with other departments to develop policies and procedures that meet their internal legal requirements related to the implementation of IG. In addition, they provide training and support for all employees to help them in their records keeping methods.
The responsibility of an effective implementation of records management is shared among several parties in the organizations that should work together to provide the best possible experience to reduce risks and increase efficiencies.