Vital Records Protection, Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Guidelines

Vital records (sometimes referred to as essential records) are those active records, which are essential for the continuation or reconstruction of the operations of the Government in the event of a disaster. They tend to be records, which will establish the legal and financial position of the Government. They are critical to the establishment of the rights of the Government, its employees and citizens.

Maintaining the System for Filing and Archiving Purposes

Normally, persons who do not work in the Records Office Section, with the exception of Archives and Records Management Programme staff, are not permitted access in the Records Office area.  The files maintained by Records Office or by an office with delegated authority for maintaining Records Office files are for use by the Records Office, Governor, Ministers, Deputy Governor, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Departments/Divisions and senior staff only.

Storing Files for Filing and Archiving Purposes

There are three basic ways of storing files: lateral, vertical and stacking.

Closing Files and Using the Records Centre for Filing and Archiving Purposes

Records Officers are required to close files at regular intervals. They retain the closed files for periods laid down in disposition schedules. At the end of this period some files are destroyed, but the majority are transferred to the Records Centre. This section of the procedures manual deals with all aspects of closing files and their subsequent treatment.

Files Returned to the Records Office for Filing and Archiving Purposes

Action officers should return files to the Records Office as soon as they have finished with them.  The records staff must check to see whether any returned file contains mail to be dispatched.  If so, the file copy must be filed immediately, any loose papers having first been firmly attached.

The letters for dispatch are then removed, recorded and dealt with.

Controlling File Movement for Filing and Archiving Purposes

Files are issued to action officers in at least three circumstances.

  • A document arrives in the Records Office, is recorded and filed, and the file is passed to the officer.
  • A file is to be ‘brought up’ to the officer.
  • The officer requests the file in person or by telephone.

Recording the Existence of a New File for Filing and Archiving Purposes

When a new file has been created, its existence must be comprehensively recorded so that it can be managed, tracked and produced whenever it is required.

Creating A New File for Filing and Archiving Purposes

When a document comes into the Records Office, the records staff must decide whether an appropriate file already exists. If no appropriate file exists, create a new file and allocate a reference and a title.

Filing Correspondence and Papers for Filing and Archiving Purposes

The registered file is an organised assembly of documents kept together for use and relating to a specific subject, type of transaction or area of business.

Procedure for the Handling of Outgoing Correspondence for Filing and Archiving Purposes

Every letter or memorandum leaving the Records Office must quote the full address and reference number (file reference and folio number) as well as the references of any other correspondence quoted in the text of the letter.