Records Management is crucial to an organization’s operations. It’s even more critical in agencies as one of their responsibilities is exchanging information with residents and businesses.
Organizations adopt a records management policy as a crucial practice to comply with various regulations and prevent penalties related to record storage, management, and destruction. That is why it is critical to clearly define who is responsible for records management in an organization.
The responsibility for records management falls under the scope of a designated records manager or team responsible for managing records. Record custodians maintain, secure, and classify records per company and regulatory guidelines. Records management should be addressed and followed by all parties, from the upper levels of management to the service desk employee. When creating records, both organizations and their personnel must be held accountable.
Records managers are critical in ensuring effective RM programs within an organization. They are responsible for overseeing the creation, maintenance, retrieval, and disposal of records based on a records retention policy. Regarding responsibility, the records manager is the go-to person and first in the line of responsibility. The role of a records manager is essential. They can help organizations reduce risks, enhance operational efficiency, and support informed decision-making by ensuring accurate and up-to-date information availability. In addition, they provide training and support for all employees to help them in their records-keeping methods.
The second group who share responsibility is the organization’s employees, who use or create corporate information in conducting the organization's business. Employees are equally obligated to the owners to ensure that information is used properly and only shared with authorized personnel to minimize data breaches or compromise sensitive content. They must follow the owner’s guidelines and rules to govern access, usage, and protection of records. If a record is misused or lost, it can lead to catastrophic events such as data falling into the wrong hands or being modified without the owner’s approval.
The Technology Department
The IT department also plays a vital role in managing the organization’s infrastructure, including hardware, software, and databases. Cybersecurity also falls to the IT department. Records managers and the IT department should ensure effective records management, including data backup and recovery, access control, and security measures to protect against data breaches. In some organizations, records managers report through the CIO. This is useful in a technology-forward approach to RM, such as using a trusted system.
The Compliance or Legal Department
The legal department plays a crucial role in records management, providing advice and guidance on the organization’s policies. They help records managers understand and update the regulatory environment. They work with organizational management, the RM, and IT to determine risk. Legal/Compliance works closely with other departments to develop policies and procedures that meet their internal legal requirements for good information governance practices.
As a best practice, the responsibility for records management should lie across several teams. These teams should work together to provide the best possible experience to reduce risks and increase efficiencies.