Records are a normal product of any institutional activity; they are an asset that should be managed like any other asset. Records:
- provide evidence of activities done and decisions taken
- document statutory, regulatory and policy compliance
- ensure services are delivered in a transparent and accountable fashion
- provide evidence of legal obligations between the institution and others
- establish and promote institutional identity
- maintain an institution’s corporate memory
In order to be useful and support the institution’s needs, records must have:
- authenticity: a record that is proven to be what it purports to be (i.e. created or sent by the person purported to have created or sent it, and at the time purported to have been created or sent)
- reliability: a record whose contents can be trusted as a full and accurate representation of the activities or facts to which they attest
- integrity: a record that is complete and unaltered
- usability: a record that can be located, retrieved, presented, and interpreted
Records management activities and procedures are intended to ensure that an institution’s records are created and managed over their life cycle in such a way as to ensure that they have value for the institution and support its legal, statutory, evidentiary and historical needs. Further information about the wider context for managing records and information is contained in ISO 15489, the International Standard on Records Management (www.iso.org).
The York University Common Records Schedule (CRS) has been developed to support these institutional needs as outlined in the University’s policy on Records and Information Management (RIM) and to uphold compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). By making use of the CRS to classify records, units can ensure that University records are created, organized, and retained for operational and administrative effectiveness, and disposed of appropriately.
York University will benefit by:
- increased operational efficiency in search and retrieval
- reduced operating costs for storage and equipment
- compliance with FIPPA, university policies and other legislation
- minimized legal exposure
- preservation of records of historical value
York University’s distributed administrative structure implies a shared responsibility for creating and maintaining records. The main goal of the CRS is to promote good records and information management (RIM) practices that can be shared among units. These tools are sufficiently flexible to allow for changes in institutional functions and structures.
The Common Records Schedule exists in an online format only. Users may access it here: Common Records Schedule.
The CRS applies to records in all units of the University including faculties, schools, colleges, centres, departments, ancillary services, and the central administration. It applies regardless of how the records are created, organized or internally controlled within each unit. It applies to records in all media, including paper, electronic (including email), photographic, cartographic, video, audio, and digital recordings.
The CRS does not apply to the following records:
- Those where a separate retention schedule has been approved by the University Secretary and General Counsel and reviewed by the Director of Internal Audit and the University Archivist
- Records of separate corporations such as the York University Development Corporation, employee unions, and student organizations
- Instructors’ research and teaching materials (see Information Circular 3 on FIPPA’s Application to Research and Teaching Records)
- Publications and personal communications of individual faculty members, staff and students, unless specifically commissioned or prepared under contract for the University or prepared in the context of administrative work
- Transitory records, which have no ongoing operational, informational, evidential or historical value (see Tip Sheet 3 on Transitory Records)
Roles and Responsibilities
In the modern desktop environment, where employees at every level of the University create and manage records on their email and shared drives, every employee is responsible for managing the records they create, receive and maintain. Nevertheless, each unit should designate a person to be responsible for coordinating the records management-related activities of that unit. This individual would oversee the four steps outlined in this Guide: creation of a file plan, day-to-day filing and management of records, retention of records, disposition of records.
Assigning this responsibility to one individual means that all staff in that unit will have a point of contact for any records management questions or issues that arise. The responsible individual can serve as the liaison with the Information and Privacy Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) where necessary.