Records Management Plan
The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (hereafter referred to as "the Act"), came fully into force in January 2013. The Act obliges West Lothian Council and other public authorities to prepare and implement a records management plan (RMP).
The RMP sets out proper arrangements for the management of records within the council. The plan is agreed with the Keeper of the Records of Scotland (the Keeper) and reviewed by the council on an annual basis.
The West Lothian Council Records Management Plan is based on the Keeper's published Model Records Plan. The model plan has 14 Elements:
The 14 elements are:
- Senior management responsibility
- Records manager responsibility
- Records management policy statement
- Business classification
- Retention schedules
- Destruction arrangements
- Archiving and transfer arrangements
- Information security
- Data protection
- Business continuity and vital records
- Audit trail
- Competency framework for records management staff
- Assessment and review
- Shared Information
West Lothian Council has provided the Keeper with evidence of policies, procedures, guidance and operational activity on all elements of the plan.
The plan was initially agreed with the Keeper 09 July 2013 and has subsequently been re-assessed and agreed. The Plan is reviewed annually.
The West Lothian Council RMP relates to records throughout their lifecycle, from creation and acquisition to archive and destruction. It encompasses all records across all council service areas. The plan also incorporates records held by West Lothian Licensing Board and West Lothian Schools. The plan excludes Joint Boards who, under the Act, are required to submit individual RMPs.
For more information about the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011, visit the website of the National Records of Scotland.
A copy of the Act can be viewed online via the The National Archives website.
Records management in West Lothian Council
The records of West Lothian Council constitute an auditable account of the authority's activities, which provides evidence of the business, actions, decisions and resulting policies formed by the council.
Records represent a vital asset, which support the daily functions of the council and protect the interests and rights of staff, and members of the public, who have dealings with the council. Effective record keeping supports efficiency, consistency and continuity of work and enables the council to deliver a wide range of sustainable services. It ensures that the correct information is: captured, stored, maintained, retrieved and destroyed or preserved in accordance with business need, statutory and legislative requirements.
Records management is an essential part of enabling the council to achieve priority outcomes that reflect what is most important to the people and communities of West Lothian, as set out in the council's . West Lothian Council maintains an overarching , records management procedures and practices across all its service areas. These are based upon the requirements of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011, records management best practice and the principles detailed below.
Records Management Principles
The following principles will drive activities relating to effective information governance within West Lothian Council:
- Information is a valuable asset and is managed as such;
- Information governance is the responsibility of all who handle or manage council information;
- Information is acquired, created, maintained, shared and disposed of in accordance with legislation, regulations, guidance, standards and best practice;
- The rights of data subjects are recognised and respected in all aspects of information governance;
- Information is appropriately secured and protected;
- Information is shared appropriately and not duplicated unnecessarily;
- Information is stored within approved systems not in personal filing;
- Information is accessible and preserved for as long as required;
- Staff are trained in information governance procedures;
- Risks are identified and mitigated;
- Information governance supports the council values of making best use of resources and being honest, open and accountable.
- Councillors have awareness, oversight, the opportunity and ability to scrutinise information governance and regulatory compliance;
- Information governance practice is compliant with duties under the Equality Act 2010.
Records covered by this plan
In line with the Act, all records created in the carrying out of the council's functions (whether directly or by third parties) are public records. Part 1, section 3.1 of the Act states that:
"... "public records", in relation to an authority means -
(a) records created by or on behalf of the authority in carrying out its functions,
(b) records created by or on behalf of a contractor in carrying out the authority's functions,
(c) records created by any other person that have come into the possession of the authority or a contractor in carrying out the authority's functions."
Records management systems in the council
West Lothian Council uses three main types of records management systems:
- Manual filing systems (where it is necessary to keep paper and other physical records);
- IT applications and databases (that process records for specific functions e.g. HR, Purchasing, Housing Management etc);
- Corporate Electronic Documents and Records Management System (EDRMs).