Freedom of information response

Staff Management of paper and electronic records

Publication date: 
Friday 1 November 2019
Request: 

1. Managing email

Do you have any policies which encourage your employees to delete emails (unless they are consider records) and manage their mailbox efficiently (please supply)?

2. Managing paper and electronic files
 Do you have any policies which encourage your employees to destroy paper files and electronic records outside retention periods(please supply) ?

3. Staff awareness

a. Please send me a copy of any email bulletins or intranet news and/or notices which encourage employees to manage paper and electronic records correctly within your organisation?

b. How do you reconcile between paper and electronic files to ensure duplicate records are not retaining ?

c. Adhere to retention schedules and destroy records at the correct time (meet legal requirements) ?

4. Long term storage of paper records

Do you use an external supplier for the long term storage of paper records ?

Response: 

Please see below extract from our Email policy which provides advice on managing emails:

2. Managing email messages

2.1 Reasons for organising your mailbox

It is the responsibility of all members of staff to manage their email messages appropriately.  It is important that email messages are managed in order to comply with the Data Protection legislation and Freedom of Information legislation.  Managing email messages appropriately will also mean that work can be conducted more effectively as it will help towards locating all the information relating to specific areas of business.

To manage email messages appropriately members of staff need to identify email messages that are records of their business activities and short-lived messages.  It is important that emails messages that are records are moved from personal mailboxes and managed with in the same way as other records.  Short-lived email messages should be managed within the mailbox and kept only for as long as required before being deleted.
The personal mailbox includes the inbox, where you receive emails, which are addressed to yourself. 

2.2 Making your mailbox manageable

Managing an email box effectively can appear to be a difficult task, especially if the volume of email messages received is a large quantity.  Managing an email mailbox should not be about following rigid classification guidelines; it is about following a methodology that works best for you.

There are number of approaches that might aid the management of email messages.  Approaches that might be worth further consideration are:

Allocating sufficient time each day or week to read through and action email messages.

Prioritising which email messages need to be dealt with first.

Looking at the sender and the title to gauge the important of the message.

Flagging where you have been copied into email messages.These messages are often only for informational purposes and do not require immediate/any action.

Setting rules for incoming messages so they can automatically be put in folders.

Using folders to group email messages of a similar nature or subject together so they can be dealt with consecutively.

Identifying email messages that are records or need to be brought to other people’s attention.

Keeping email messages in personal folders only for short-term personal information – emails that are required for longer should be managed as records.

Deleting email messages that are kept elsewhere as records.

Deleting email messages that are no longer required for reference purposes from both the in and out box.

2. No

Please include a copy of your Records Management Policy.

Please see attached our records management policy (Appendix A)

3.

a. There have been several staff notices regarding the use of the Objective (our EDRMS system) to encourage appropriate electronic data storage.   In addition to this, there is also an ongoing Council wide physical Archives project underway for reviewing and processing physical records.  This does not include staff bulletins/news/notices, however, progress reports are produced for Senior Management.

b. The physical archives project is dealing with this.

c. Details are provided to staff as part of our Data Protection Training. Each area of the Council has a nominated Data Review and Disposal Lead to oversee these requirements.

4. Yes

You are free to use any information supplied to you for your own use, including non-commercial research purposes.  However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Where the copyright is owned by Thurrock Council, you must apply to the Council to re-use the information.  Please email information.matters@thurrock.gov.uk if you wish to re-use the information you have been supplied. For information where the copyright is owned by another person or organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their permission.

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which the council have managed your FOI request you can pursue an Internal Review by contacting us using the above email address.  Your request will be considered by the Strategic Lead for Information Management who will update you with the outcome of the review. 

If you remain unhappy following the outcome of your Internal Review you may wish to refer your case to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), details of this organisation can be found at www.ico.org.uk . Please be advised that the ICO will not consider your case until they have confirmation that you have already been through the Internal Review stage with the council.

Request reference:
FOI 9476