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Alert Level 4: Lockdown from midnight 19th December

All of Wales is at alert level 4, the national message is to stay at home and only venture out if it is essential, for example to access health care, for shopping, to exercise outdoors, to support someone who is vulnerable, or for work purposes.

You must now work from home. If your role doesn’t allow you to work from home, or it is deemed essential that you attend your place of work, the social distancing regulations remain unchanged – it is vitally important that you follow these regulations.

For the latest information on Coronavirus, please visit our Coronavirus guidance page.

Records Management

Section 60 of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 requires a Councils to make and maintain schemes for the care, preservation and management of their records and the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice issued under Section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides guidance to public authorities in connection with the keeping, management and destruction of their records, including the need to have a Records Management Policy in place.

An effective records management programme allows us to track the life cycle of each record. We know when a record is created, what function it serves, how long it is considered useful and what the parameters are for retaining it.  It also allows us to know under what legal authority records can be destroyed and if so, when.

The benefits of an effective programme are many:

  • It saves office space and corresponding filing equipment, non-active storage and long-term preservation expenses;
  • Assists officers in making informed policy;
  • Assures the fullest possible historical documentation of official legal and administrative and financial actions;
  • Protects the privacy and confidentiality of appropriate records;
  • Makes record research and future records management more organised and efficient;
  • Protects essential records from being lost, damaged, or destroyed by negligence or natural disaster.

File referencing

All files being transferred to the Records Management System should have a reference name.

Indexing

Items are identified in the RMU only by your department’s reference number or name. Indexing is your responsibility.

Extension files

These should be opened after approximately 100 items have been filed in one jacket, or when the file is about 2.5cm thick.  An appropriate break in the proceedings should be used when possible. Continuation files should be clearly labelled with the file details and part number.

Closing a subject file

Files should not be deposited in the RMU until they have been inactive for one year.

An original file is not closed when an extension is opened but if it covers several years and extensions, permission may be sought to transfer earlier files to the Record office.

Closing a subject line

Files should be stripped of:

  • blank forms
  • duplicate copies of documents; one copy is sufficient
  • drafts of documents; retain only the final version unless there is none
  • convenience copies of publications, reports, e-mails etc for which your office was not the originator or the office of record
  • materials that have no informational value, such as, envelopes, phone messages and illegible notes

Records are held by the RMU on behalf of departments only for the length of time stipulated in our retention guidelines. Should the records to be transferred to the RMU not be included in the Retention Guidelines, schedules of retention periods must be signed for records to be transferred.

  • Items to be destroyed within twelve months should not normally be transferred, except for security reasons.
  • Boxes are supplied by the RMU and must be used.   These are charged at £1.10 per box. No other boxes will be accepted.
  • Pack records with significantly different retention periods and/or inclusive dates in separate boxes.
  • Boxes should weigh no more than 8kg, and be at least half full.    
  • A transmittal list must accompany each box (blank forms available on the intranet).
  • Batches should contain no more than 20 boxes.

You need to prepare and submit a transmittal list (.doc), once we have received and processed your request you will be contacted to be informed when your consignment can be delivered.

All consignments will be thoroughly checked to ensure that the above points have been adhered to. Should your consignment fail to meet the above requirements it may be returned to you.

You will need to complete a transmittal list form (.doc).
This must be legible and the following information is required:

  • Batch header – name,  extension, division etc.
  • Page No.: e.g. page No. 1 of 10
  • Reference number:  MUST BE COMPLETED. This is the Departmental reference number and records are identified in the first instance by this number - not exceeding twenty characters, including spaces etc.
  • Description: file title etc. - not exceeding eighty characters.
  • First date: date on which records commenced by the month and year 09 05 = September 2005.
  • Last date: date on which records end by month and year
  • Action:
    • P - document to be retained permanently (transfer to Archives in 30 years)
    • D - destroy
    • R - review
    •        
  • Relevant date: MUST BE COMPLETED - the date, by month and year, on which the Action is to take place. Please refer to the Retention Guidelines for the retention periods.
  • Box number: for RMU use
  • Location: for RMU use
  • All transmittal lists must be signed and dated by the responsible officer.

After the records have been processed in the RMU the transmittal list is retained by the RMU and a printout of the records is forwarded to the department as a form of receipt of the received records.

Only staff who are listed on the Access Authorisation List may retrieve records from the RMU. The form includes the name, title and signature of each office employee authorised to access the records of their department.

You can only request a complete file and not individual papers. You may request a box or file via email or by telephone on 01267 224183/224181.

We will endeavour to retrieve items requested before 12:00pm by the end of the same working day and items requested after 12:00 during the following morning.  However if your request is for a number of items it they may take longer to retrieve. You will be notified by e-mail when your item is ready for collection. 

When you collect your items you will be required to sign a receipt which serves as an acknowledgement that your item was received.

Files or boxes sent via internal mail will be accompanied by a receipt which should be signed and returned immediately to the RMU or you may e-mail the RMU to confirm receipt.

Should you pass on a file to another officer, you must inform the RMU so that the file movement can be recorded.

Confidentiality

Files will only be produced to members of the originating service or on the authority of either the Director or Head of Service of that service.

All records are regarded as confidential but it is appreciated that certain items require special treatment and these will be identified and only produced on the written authority of the officer indicated on the confidential slip, usually the Director or Head of Service of the owner department.

Reminders

Reminder e-mails requesting the return of files which were issued six months previously are generated and addressed personally to the officer who requested them.

Each borrower has an unique reference number.  Whilst borrowers are not expected to use this number, departments should ensure that the RMU staff know who uses what reference to avoid confusion between officers with similar names.

Reminders can be issued in the name of the actual user rather than in the name of the officer making the request if the RMU staff are informed when the request is made.

Files and return forms must be returned in envelopes to prevent papers being detached and lost and to ensure confidentiality.

The usage data generated from the reminder program will be used to assist departments in deciding the disposal date of records in the RMU.

The return form (this is supplied) is to be completed by the borrower, most of the details are pre-printed except for the return date which is completed to request extension of the loan period.

Deeds

Deeds are a vital permanent record and it is important not only that they are kept safely, but that they can be made available quickly when needed.

Roles & responsibilities

  • Administration and Law:  Correspondence files include a copy of the schedule of deeds.
  • RMU: Deeds are stored in the strong rooms and allocated numbers in sequence.
  • Corporate Property: Maintains terrier and plans. Information includes material grid reference, title number and deeds schedule details.

Deeds are placed in a deed packet and transferred as soon as possible, accompanied by three copies of the schedule on the proforma devised by the RMU.

  1. one copy of the schedule is receipted in the RMU and returned for filing.
  2. additional documents must be accompanied by a schedule.
  3. cancelled deeds.  Empty deed packets should be returned to the RMU with a note of the action taken.
  4. conveyancing files are transferred, accompanied by a transmittal list and dealt with in the normal way.

Adult and Children’s Services’ Client files

When a case is closed the Team Manager should completed the Client File Closure Record, which should be placed inside the file.  Team Managers will be responsible for categorising the files and must sign the form on closure.

Similar files to be destroyed in the same financial year should be boxed together.  If the box is not full, resembling files from the following year can be included, pushing the destruction date forward another financial year.

For example:

  • Box 1 contains 4 Child in Need files that closed in the financial year 2002/03.  Their destruction date will be 10 full years later, dated April 2013.
  • Box 2 contains 3 Child in Need files that closed in the financial year 2003/04.  Their destruction date will be April 1014.
  • When contents of box 1 and 2 are combined the destruction date for all these files becomes April 1014.

Each archiving box must contain a list showing the following:

  • Category of files: (Reference column)
  • Names of children: (Description column)
  • Dates of Birth: (Description column)
  • Addresses: (Description column)
  • Destruction Date of files: (Review Date column)

Boxes do not have to be numbered, as they will be given a specific number by the Records Management Unit, when integrated into their archiving system.

Location of file and destruction date must be entered on Care First.  RMU will shortly issue a receipt showing the box numbers relevant to their database.  This number should also be inputted on Care First.

If a case is reopened and the file retrieved from RMU, the destruction date becomes invalid and a new destruction date allocated when closed for the second time.

Page updated: 05/03/2020 15:13:08