Why does GCU need a Records Management Policy?

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, Section 61 Code of Practice for Records Management has required institutions to develop a Records Management Policy to meet compliance with the Act.

What is a Records Retention Schedule?

A Records Retention Schedule should act as an efficient and accountable guide for organisational units with respect to the retention and disposal of records.  The document contains retention periods for each record which has been identified by the organisational unit as requiring to be retained for business, legislative and\or historical requirements. 

When should I keep information as a record?

The process of identifying which information should be kept as a record for legislative, business or historical requirements is not straightforward.  However if information falls into one or more of the categories below it is likely that it will be required to be kept as a record for a period of time.

For example, to carry out the University’s business:

  • for legal purposes,
  • for financial purposes
  • to be publicly accountable for policies and decisions
  • to show how a particular decision was arrived at, if the decision is challenged in court.

When should I dispose of records?

It is anticipated that in accordance with legislative guidelines a significant proportion of documentation within GCU should be retained for between 5 to 20 years.  Records Retention Schedules will provide guidance on retention and disposal periods.  Documents should be disposed of in an appropriate manner and logged in the Organisational Unit’s Disposal Log.  If the record you wish to dispose of is not categorised in a Records Retention Schedule you should seek guidance from the Information Compliance, Governance and Records Manager prior to disposal.

How does the University Records Centre operate?

Once the time comes for your records to be transferred to the University Records Centre you should contact the Information Compliance,  Governance and  Records Manager (recordsmanagement@gcu.ac.uk)  to request records store boxes and forms.  Please note the following guidelines.

Record preparation

  • Records must be removed from lever arch files or box files before being placed in records store boxes and CD boxes must also be removed.  To preserve records any poly pockets, elastic bands, paper clips and sticky notes should be removed.
  • Please refer to your Records Retention Schedule (RRS) to calculate the period that the records will remain in the University Records Centre.  The date of the record is the date it was created NOT the date that it is transferred to the University Records Centre.  Please try to ensure that the stored period for all records in one box is the same.

Records Boxes – ordering

  • If you need boxes please contact Records Management.   Large numbers will be brought to you by Stores; small numbers (up to 10) can be collected or hand delivered.
  • Only brown records store boxes can be stored in the University Records Centre.
  • One form per box will be supplied by Records Management and can either be collected from B128 or sent in internal mail. 

 Records Boxes - filling

  • Boxes must not be over-filled.  Maximum weight is 10kg or the equivalent of 4 packs of paper.  If you can’t lift it, no-one else will be able to! 
  • One form should be completed for each box and placed inside the top of the box.
  • The box must not be sealed shut but the flaps must be able to be folded down in order for the box to fit on the shelf.
  • Nothing should be written on the outside of the box.
  • The form must include the name and department of the person submitting, details of the records (eg. module and programme name, coursework or exam, committee name ) and it must include the date of the records.
  • You can put further relevant details on the form to enable the department to locate the records contained in the box. You may find it useful to retain a more detailed contents list of each box in your organisational unit in case you later need to retrieve any records.
  • Please write legibly as the detail of the form is transferred onto our database and please avoid the use of acronyms as the details in the database forms the University’s record of records held.
  • To help you identify the box where records are located you may wish to  number each box. For example, if you are sending 4 boxes to the URC box one should be 1/4 and box two 2/4, then 3/4 and so on.
  • Boxes containing records that will be forwarded to the University Archive (eg. Committee papers, vital records) will be required to be accompanied by a much more detailed listing of the contents of the box and this should be supplied electronically to the University Archivist.

Sending records to the URC

  • Once you have a number of boxes (as little as 6, or fewer if that is your total consignment) contact the Information Compliance, Governance and Records Manager to arrange for the transfer.  
  • A member of staff from Records Management will visit the submitting Department to assess the boxes and allocate a Consignment Number.   A  label with the Consignment Number and Box Number within the consignment will be fixed to the end of each box.  This Consignment/Box number will also be added to the form.   Stores will not move boxes which do not have  consignment labels.
  • Transfer of the boxes will be arranged by the Records Management Centre and carried out t by Bulk Stores.  The timing of the pick-up depends on the workload of the storemen and will not happen immediately.
  • The green copy of the form which you completed  will be returned to you with a URC number.  This number should be quoted if you later need access to your records.
  • Your records will be securely stored in the University Records Centre and their location will be recorded on a database as mentioned above.

Disposing of records

  • The records are kept for the period indicated in your Records Retention Schedule (RRS).  Once the end of that period is reached, the  Information Compliance,  Governance and Records Manager will contact you and advise you that your records are due to be shredded, or in the case of specific vital records, forwarded to the University Archives.  If you are in agreement with this, the person with responsibility for disposal for your area will be asked to confirm this.   Thereafter, the records will either be sent for shredding  by the Information Compliance,  Governance and  Records Manager or,  in exceptional circumstances, forwarded to  the University Archives.
  • It is the responsibility of each organisational unit to retain a Disposal Log, a log of records which have been disposed of.  This can be held  in hard copy or electronically but it must be kept as evidence of the disposal of records.

How do I retrieve records from the Records Store?

If you need to consult any of the records which you have moved to the Records Store, you should e-mail the Information Compliance and Governance/Records Manager with details of the records(s) or boxes that you require access to and quote the URMC number.  It is likely that the records will be able to be retrieved that day or the next but it may take longer, depending on a number of factors.

When can records be archived?

Records which show the organisational development, structure and policies of the University may have an historical value to the University. However this is not a definitive guide to assess archival value. Guidance on assessing whether a record has archival value can be sought by contacting the University Archivist.

How are vital records transferred to Archives?

Each School/Department/Unit in the University has a published Retention Schedule stating the length of time their records should be held by the University and how they should be disposed of at the end of this period.    In the majority of cases, the records are submitted to the University Records Centre (URC)  for a period before being  disposed of by shredding, organised by the URC.  There are, however, a number of records which have been identified as being of continuing value to the University, either as part of its corporate memory or as a vital record, of the University.  These records worthy of permanent preservation give evidence about the functions, policies and decisions of the University including minutes, reports, subject files, correspondence, publications, photographs and other types of records, in various formats.  These records are held in the University Records Centre for the length of time stated in the Retention Schedule and then forwarded to the University Archives.

 When such records have reached the end of their period of storage in the University Records Centre, the Information Compliance, Governance and Records Manager (ICGRM) will contact the University Archivist informing her of the number of boxes to be transferred with brief details of the contents in the form of an electronic  extract from the database.   

  1. The University  Archivist will then acknowledge the transfer and prepare for the physical move to the Archive Store.  
  2. The ICGRM will then contact the Facilities Helpdesk to request transfer of the boxes.
  3. The ICGRM will then make the appropriate entry into the URMC Database and inform the School/Department/Unit of the new location of the records and new access procedures.
  4. The University Archivist will accession the records and send the appropriate accession number(s) to the ICGRM to add to the database.
  5. Access to the records will then be though the University Archivist in the usual way via the reading room.
  6. There will be cases when it will be better for records to be forwarded directly to the University Archives, in particular Committee records from Court and  Senate and their Standing Committees.   Where this is the case, it will be detailed in individual Records Retention Schedule.  As most of these are located in the Department of Governance and Quality Enhancement , at the time specified in the Records Retention Schedule, records will be placed in records store boxes and an electronic list will be prepared by the depositor and forwarded to the University Archivist.  A copy will be placed in each box.  Points 2-6 above will then be followed. 

 Contact information