You and your organisation need reliable information and records to operate effectively. Most organisations have business and recordkeeping systems which automatically create, capture and store records as part of standard business processes. However, there are situations where this does not automatically occur.
This leaflet outlines some common situations where public officials in NSW should make and save records and information into the organisation’s recordkeeping system. Check your organisation’s specific policies and business rules for further guidance.
Make sure that someone has been delegated to make a record of the meeting. Document when the meeting was held, who attended, the discussions points, decisions, advice or information provided/communicated, and actions to be taken. Record any dissent or issues raised by participants. Circulate and confirm the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting.
Discussions and decisions
Make a record of business you conduct or decisions that you make via telephone, SMS (short message service) and other messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, or face to face. This can include:
- providing advice, instructions or recommendations
- giving permissions and consent, and
- making decisions, commitments or agreements, including reasons for decisions or recommendations.
Ensure that records relating to projects that you have been assigned to or tasked with, are created and saved into your organisation’s recordkeeping or business systems. This will ensure that information about the delivery of projects is available to others in the organisation.
Drafts and working papers
Save drafts submitted for comment or approval by others and drafts containing significant or substantial changes or annotations. Also save drafts relating to the development of policy and procedures, legislation, legislative proposals and amendments.
Working papers are those papers and notes which are used to prepare or complete other records. Save working papers that document significant decisions, discussions, reasons and actions or contain significant information that is not contained in the final version of the record.
Your organisation may be using collaborative platforms or digital work spaces to communicate, develop joint policies and guidance, and for a range of other processes. Make sure that the recordkeeping responsibilities of these activities are identified and adhered to. Save key drafts, final documents and communications into your organisation’s business or recordkeeping system.
Transfer, copy and/or sync records and information saved in corporate mobile devices into your organisation’s systems and/or repositories to ensure that records are stored.
Ensure that emails and correspondence you send and receive are managed in accordance with your organisation’s business rules. In some cases, emails and correspondence may be generated and captured automatically within a business system as part of a work process. In other cases, you will need to capture emails and correspondence within your organisation’s recordkeeping system.
Social media is one of the primary communication channels used to engage with the community. Social media posts relating to government business, including reactions to posts, comments, tweets, etc. are State records. To assess whether you need to save these records into recordkeeping systems, consider: :
- Do people rely on advice or information you post to social media to inform their actions or decisions?
- Does your post communicate decisions and commit the organisation to an action?
- Does your post seek feedback regarding agency-wide issues on governance, policies and procedures?
- Will you need to prove what you posted?
Text messages sent and received in the course of official business are State records. WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat and various apps may have some functionality to download messages which allows you to save them into your organisation's recordkeeping system.
Alternatively, take a screen shot of the text message from your mobile device and send it to your work email address to save into your organisation's recordkeeping system.
Information management: things to consider
Understand the rules
Understand your organisation’s rules around records and information, such as:
- when you need to make records
- how you should title /label them
- where they should be managed
- who should have access to them
- when should they be shared
- whether the information is confidential and/or sensitive and,
- who they can be shared with.
Use corporate information systems and processes
By using your organisation’s business systems and repositories to save your records and information, you can ensure that the information you rely on is also available to others. Information held in appropriate business systems can be properly managed, protected and made accessible.
Use of standardised organisational processes and templates makes it simpler to document actions, decisions, approvals and outcomes.
Revised October 2017