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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:

  1. Senior management responsibility
  2. Records manager responsibility
  3. Records management policy statement
  4. Business classification
  5. Retention schedules
  6. Destruction arrangements
  7. Archiving and transfer arrangements
  8. Information security
  9. Data protection
  10. Business continuity and vital records
  11. Audit trail
  12. Competency framework for records management staff
  13. Assessment and review
  14. 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 agreed with the Keeper on 09/07/2013 and will be 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 pdf icon Corporate Plan 2013-2017 [2Mb] and in the pdf icon West Lothian Council Information Strategy 2013-17 [259kb]. West Lothian Council maintains a pdf icon Records Management Policy [77kb], 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 records management:

  • Records are a valuable resource and must be managed as such;
  • Records are maintained in accordance with legislation;
  • Records are stored within record keeping systems,  rather than in personal filing;
  • Records are shared and not duplicated;
  • Records are stored in a consistent manner that reflects council functions;
  • Records are appropriately secured;
  • Records are easily accessible for as long as they are required;
  • Records that are identified as vital are protected;
  • Records that are identified as of historical significance are preserved;
  • Records are disposed of in accordance with approved Records Retention Schedules;
  • Records management procedures are understood by all staff and staff are appropriately trained;
  • Records are created, stored and managed electronically within the corporate EDRMS unless specifically required in paper format;
  • Records management is a responsibility of all staff;
  • Records management practices adhere to corporate policy, procedures and standards;
  • Records keeping systems are compliant with the requirements to manage records throughout their lifecycle;
  • Records management practices will support the council values of being honest, open and accountable and making best use of resources.

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).

All records management systems are subject to the records management policy, procedures, guidelines and elements of this plan.