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Thinking inside the box

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Spring: time to examine your lifecycle

Looking at flowers beginning to open and the birds and bees busily going about their business now that spring has sprung, I couldn’t help but think about life cycles and the sense of hope and renewal at this time of year. Normally we don’t think about inanimate objects like files and documents having a life-cycle, but they do, as surely as the blackbirds building their nest in the honeysuckle outside our office.

The records management lifecycle covers everything from the creation of a record to its disposal. Different policies and procedures may govern each phase, but there is no denying that it starts with the creation of a document and ends with its disposal or preservation. Although different names are employed for the various phases, depending on the business you run, the order is basically fixed and operates concurrently and continuously.

  1. Creation. This is the first step in a record’s lifecycle. It involves the receipt of a document and its classification in an organisation’s records management system. It’s important to make sure records are created correctly and that means including the right information and using the proper format. At Filofile we use a comprehensive barcode indexing technology to track your files which can be integrated seamlessly into any records management processes you have in place.
  2. Use & modification. Throughout a document’s life people will use and modify an active record. Filofile provides a next day delivery service as standard and also a fast emergency request service for those crucial moments when a document needs accessing and may require modification.
  3. Protection. As the record or document is in use it needs maintaining and protecting from several things, including unauthorised access and damage. Those who need records on a regular basis must have easy access to them. Our facility is monitored 24/7, linked into Police and fire services and fully ISO 9001 compliant, storing your files off-site adds an extra layer of security. Even if someone is not regularly accessing an inactive record, it’s important to maintain and protect it.
  4. Maintenance. The length of time that you must maintain a record differs based on several factors, including type of business or organisation you are running, company policy and government rules and regulations. You need to keep some records forever and, therefore, organise an effective archival process which is going to keep your records safe and secure.
  5. Disposal or archive. At the end of a record’s lifecycle, the records management team must decide whether to destroy or preserve the record. Within records management, systems exist to determine what happens to each record and when. At Filofile our records management system offers comprehensive document storage for documents you’d like to keep and proper disposal of those you no longer want.

Now it’s spring there is no better time to give some thought to your records and documents and whether they need some expert help to get them through their own lifecycle. We are always delighted to come and give advice together with a free audit if you need some professional guidance. Please get in touch to see how we can help.

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