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Ensure the creation and capture of records

The creation and capture of records

You may embark on a DIRKS project with the aim of ensuring the creation and capture of appropriate records to meet your business needs, regulatory requirements and what the community expects of you. This involves:

  • identifying what records your organisation is required to create and capture
  • ensuring that your systems, including people, policy, procedures, tools and software, support this creation and capture.

Identifying what your organisation should create and capture

Steps A-C of the DIRKS methodology enable you to define what records your organisation is required to create and capture.

Step A: Preliminary investigation

To understand what requirements your organisation has for creating and capturing records you will need to undertake an assessment of the business performed. This analysis begins in Step A where you examine sources to learn about the broad context of the organisation.

If you are intending to concentrate on one function or business unit at a time, you should still broadly analyse your business in Step A but you can start to focus more on those sources that relate to the function or business unit.

InformationTip: Use general retention and disposal authorities where relevant

If you are wanting to examine the creation requirements that apply to general administrative functions in your organisation, such as personnel management or financial management, you could start by examining the general retention and disposal authorities issued by State Records. These tools, which have been based on a broad assessment of recordkeeping requirements, indicate the range of records that could be created to document the transaction of general administrative functions.

The general disposal authorities will give you an idea of records that should be created. Sometimes however requirements for the creation and capture of records will specify that records should be created in a particular form, or that specific access restrictions should apply to a certain class of records, etc. The general disposal authorities will not provide you with this information. If you believe that your business will be subject to this form of requirements, you will need to conduct specific research to provide you with this information.

Step B: Analysis of business activity

The functional analysis conducted in Step B and business classification scheme that results from this step are useful in a project to identify requirements for creating and capturing records, because they provide a workable structure for mapping the requirements to. However, you may decide, in the case of a business unit, to map only those requirements affecting the business unit. The sequential analysis in Step B gives you a much better understanding of current processes, current records creation and business needs for records creation.

Step C: Identification of recordkeeping requirement

Step C is essential to understanding your organisation's requirements for creating and capturing records as it enables you to understand what your recordkeeping requirements for evidence are. If you decide that the organisation should not meet particular requirements, due to costs or difficulties caused, you need to analyse the risks of not meeting the requirements. You will then come up with an agreed list of requirements which will demonstrate what records should be created and captured in the organisation. You should obtain the approval of senior management about this list.

Ensuring that your systems support creation and capture

Knowing what records your organisation is required to create and capture is important. However, you still need to ensure that these records are actually created and captured, and that your systems support these activities. Steps D-G of the DIRKS methodology can assist you in:

  • understanding whether your existing systems enable your creation and capture requirements to be met
  • deciding on the strategies required to ensure that your creation and capture requirements are met
  • designing or redesigning software and necessary system tools to support the creation and capture of these records, and
  • implementing these strategies effectively in your organisation.

Step D: Assessment of existing systems

Step D enables you to assess your current systems, to determine whether they are enabling your creation and capture requirements to be met. From this assessment you can see if systems need to be designed or redesigned to ensure that all appropriate documentation of business activity is being undertaken.

Step E: Identification of strategies for recordkeeping

Step E involves you determining the best combination of strategies - policy, design, standards or implementation - that will enable your creation and capture requirements to be effectively implemented and followed across your organisation.

QuestionsExample: The policy strategy
You may decide to write a records management policy stating which positions have defined responsibilities for ensuring the creation and capture of records. Indeed Principle 2: Supported by Policy of the Standard on Records Management Programs recommends this strategy to support the creation and management of records.

QuestionsExample: A relevant mix of strategies
You might decide in Step E that requirements for creation and capture should be integrated into workflow and procedure manuals for particular business units. You may also highlight individual responsibilities that need to be assigned and training that needs to be conducted to ensure that the creation and capture rules are followed.

Step F: Design of a recordkeeping system

In Step F you can actually design or write the strategies chosen in Step E. Your system redesign work will focus on incorporating creation and capture tools into your systems and will build upon the strategies you outlined in Step E.

Step G: Implementation of a recordkeeping system

In Step G you need to implement the strategies so that they have effective uptake.

QuestionsExample: Implementation drawing on Step F
You can issue the procedures or documentation designed in Step F and train staff in how to use the procedures to create and capture the necessary records.

Reviewing strategies for records creation and capture

Step H: Post implementation review

Creation and capture requirements and system support should be reviewed (Step H):

  • when new business processes or needs are evident
  • when there is a major change (for example, a change in functional responsibilities or new legislation)
  • on roughly a 5 year cycle to account for changes.

Further information

For more information about the creation and capture of records read the relevant steps of DIRKS and see State Records' Create and Capture: Guidelines on Better Recordkeeping.