Students Staff

Academic Section Records Management Policy

Procedure document AS10: Records Management Office

December 2004

Office function and responsibilities

The Records Management Office (RMO) is responsible for providing a co-ordinated approach to the management of the University's academic and non-academic records. It has responsibility for compliance with the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts, and for ensuring effective operational and legal practices in relation to all other aspects of records management. It has a dual role in protecting the University from potential legal threats and ensuring compliance with legal obligations, while at the same time upholding the legitimate rights of individuals to access information held by the University. The Office is also involved in the development of electronic document management through the introduction of document management software, the development of the University website, and the improved use of existing electronic means.

Please note that the RMO is part of the Systems Administration Office.

Records Management Office (RMO): Records Management practice

Data Protection subject access requests

The RMO has responsibility for the subject access request process. Records relating to the original request, the related paperwork, and the final response are retained for six academic years after the academic year during which the request is received.

The RMO also maintains a permanent log of all requests made to the University under the Act. This provides the name of the applicant; the case reference number; the date(s) the request is sent to and received by the RMO; the date(s) the subject access request form is sent to and received back from the applicant; payment status; the areas of the University requested to supply information and those that provide it; the date of the final response; and any relevant notes about the case.

Data Protection subject access request process documentation

The RMO produces and maintains documentation setting out the process for dealing with subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act 1998. The documentation is held permanently and amended as necessary. No copies of previous versions are retained.

Data Protection annual notification papers

The RMO is responsible for providing the annual data protection notification to the Information Commissioner for the University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park Management Ltd, and the University of Essex Pension Scheme. Records relating to this annual process are retained for six academic years after the academic year to which they relate.

Data Protection Act texts, policy statements and collection notices

The RMO has responsibility for the production, management and retention of policies relating to compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The policies are stored as current policies, reviewed annually at the relevant time during the academic year, and amended as necessary. Previous versions are stored according to the academic year in which they are last operational. They are retained for six academic years after the academic year of amendment.

Data protection queries

The RMO is available to provide advice and assistance to all individuals connected with the University in relation to any aspect of the Data Protection Act 1998. Requests for advice come via e-mail, telephone or in person. The RMO holds a record of any queries that may be useful for future reference. These are stored by academic year and retained for two academic years after the academic year to which they relate.

Freedom of Information requests: annual reports to the University Steering Group

The RMO reports annually in January to the University Steering Group on the number, type, nature and outcome of all requests for information handled by the Office in each calendar year. The reports are retained by the Office for five calendar years after the calendar year to which they relate.

Non-standard Freedom of Information requests

The RMO has responsibility for co-ordinating responses to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and responds directly to non-standard requests (ie requests for information that fall outside the University's Publication Scheme or that are not responded to as part of a role performed by another member of the University staff). Records relating to the non-standard requests, the related paperwork, and the final response are retained for six academic years after the academic year during which the request is received. A permanent record of these requests is retained on an excel spreadsheet, which sets out the name and contact details of the applicant; the nature of the request; and how and when the request is dealt with.

Freedom of Information texts and policy statements

The RMO has responsibility for the production, management and retention of policies relating to compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.The policies are stored as current policies, reviewed annually, and amended as necessary. Previous versions are stored according to the academic year in which they are last operational. They are retained for six academic years after the academic year of amendment.

Freedom of Information Publication schemes

The RMO is responsible for the maintenance of the Freedom of Information Publication Schemes relating to the University and its subsidiary companies. The Schemes are published on the University website and hard copies are held in the University Library. The Office amends the Schemes online as necessary during the year. They are reviewed in detail annually (usually in February) and revised hard copies are then provided for the Library. Previous hard copy versions of the Schemes are retained for five academic years after the academic year to which they relate.

Freedom of Information queries

The RMO is available to provide advice and assistance to all individuals connected with the University in relation to any aspect of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Requests for advice come via e-mail, telephone or in person. The RMO holds a record of any queries that may be useful for future reference. These are stored by academic year and retained for two academic years after the academic year to which they relate.

Records Management policies

The RMO is responsible for developing and maintaining records management policies across the University. The policies vary in detail and subject matter and, while current, are all published on the records management webpages as they are developed. Each policy is reviewed every three years and amended as necessary. Previous versions are stored according to the academic year in which they are last operational. They are retained for six academic years after the academic year of amendment.

Records Management good practice guides

The RMO produces good practice guides relating to various records management issues. Each guide is stored as a current guide, reviewed every three years, and amended as necessary. Previous versions are stored according to the academic year in which they are last operational. They are retained for three academic years after the academic year of amendment.

Records Management policy index and review record

The RMO maintains a permanent index of all current records management policies. This is retained permanently and amended as necessary. Previous versions are not retained. Old policies are removed from the Index when they go out of operation. The University Records Management Policy Statement states that all policies are reviewed and audited every three years. In order to ensure consistent application of this requirement, the Index also details the date a policy was established, the date of its last review, and the planned date of the next review.

Records Management training

The RMO is responsible for providing relevant training across the University on all issues relating to records management, data protection, and freedom of information. For future reference purposes, records relating to training sessions are retained permanently, but are reviewed annually and pruned as necessary.

Budget and financial information

The RMO receives a small annual budget allocation. Income is also raised via the fees charged to individuals applying for access to information. Records relating to budget management, fee income, and expenditure on RMO activities are retained for six academic years after the academic year to which they relate.

General RMO correspondence

General correspondence that falls outside other categories of records managed by the RMO is retained for two academic years after the relevant academic year.

Academic Section procedure documents

Academic Section policies

Further information