Tuesday morning began with a short tour of the library and the three staff that work in the department as well as a quick look in the store room which was downstairs in the basement. This was quite remarkable as it was smaller than I had expected and the quantity of material within it was minimal, suggesting the records management system was working. There was even space on the shelves to put new consignments. I think my imagination had been working overtime as I was expecting a much larger space filled to the brim with records. One side of the room was given over to semi current storage and the other to archival material.
After her arrival in 2011 the records manager first began to establish an information management framework to meet issues surrounding risk. This was an important starting point and a good way of convincing management of the value of records management if you are able to highlight the potential risks of data protection penalties. A fine from the ICO of up to £500,000 can be a convincing argument with the emphasis on saving money and reputational damage. Policies were also written including an Information Governance policy, Data Protection policy and an Information Security policy. As reliability and integrity of a record are reliant on the security of that record this is a central issue for any records manager. This was followed up with classes on Data Protection and responsibilities of staff, which although time consuming were beneficial as staff got to know who she was. The College then started encrypting computers and memory sticks, again mitigating risk.
This visit providing a really interesting comparison between an organisation which was starting afresh with its records management program to that of an organisation with inherited systems and processes and not necessarily the organisational wide procedural framework. What did unite the two places was the need for good communication. You need to approach people in the right way to encourage participation rather than just force the point. The records manager at RCOG rejected using records management jargon as a means of communication emphasising the need for familiar and understandable language. This she maintained was imperative. If people don't want to cooperate then it makes your job a lot harder as they will become obstructive if you try and force the point. She advocated a soft approach emphasising the benefits of what you, as a service, can offer to your colleagues.