Today is part 4 of our Defining Policy and Procedures which will discuss guidelines and work instructions. Guidelines “are the steps that are taken to achieve objectives and implement policies. Guidelines clarify what should be done and how.” (ISO) While this may sound like a procedure, it’s not the same. Procedures are mandated and provide required consistency. Guidelines are not mandated. Rather, they can be recommendations, or tips for implementing procedures. They are interpretive, providing additional information.
For example, your guidelines for digitizing records may recommend certain settings. Your organization’s decision regarding which setting is to be used are the procedures.
A work instruction is most often used by IT departments. ISO says “a work instruction describes how to perform a task, which is a more detailed portion of [a] procedure.” It has a sequence of steps to execute a specific task. This is more detailed than procedures, and more specific than guidelines. These are often provided in training to reduce mistakes.
As part of the General Schedule Update Project, the Utah State Archives is proposing new financial schedules for your consideration. We would like to submit this schedule to the State Records Committee’s May 12th meeting. Remember, there is no designation or classification of general schedules because that needs to be determined by the record series.
|Schedule & Description||Existing GRS||Retention|
|-Accounts Receivable Records-
These are records related to monies invoiced or collected in the conduct of business. Information may include bank records, revenue, asset, and related accounting records. Records related to trust and contracts are maintained under a separate schedule.
|State Schedule (SG) 7-2, 7-9, 7-13, 7-14, 7-15, 7-25, 7-33, 7-36, 7-40, 7-41, 7-52, 7-54, 7-55, 10-19, 13-1, 13-2, 13-4, 13-5, 13-7, 13-8, 13-11, 13-12, 13-16,
School District Schedule (SD) 1-16,
County Schedule (CNT) 5-5, 5-6, 5-11, 5-10, 5-11, 5-12, 5-13, 5-14, 5-15, 5-17, 5-33,Municipal Schedule (MUN) 5-6, 5-7, 5-11,
|-Accounts Payable Records-
These are records related to monies paid to suppliers, vendors, and other creditors. Records may include invoices, expenses, investment, and bank information. Records related to trust and contracts are maintained under a separate schedule.
|SG 7-19, 7-20, 7-25, 7-30, 7-33, 7-35, 7-38, 7-40, 7-43, 7-44, 7-47, 7-48, 7-50, 7-52, 7-53, 7-55, 10-19, 10-20, 13-1, 13-2, 13-4, 13-5, 13-7, 13-8, 13-11, 13-12, 13-16, CNT 5-7, 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, 5-12, 5-13, 5-14, 5-15, 5-16, 5-18, 5-25, 5-26, 5-27, 5-28, 5-29, 5-30, 5-33, 9-1, 9-4, 9-11, 9-14; MUN 5-9, 5-14, 5-15, 5-26, 5-34; SD 5-30, 5-31||Retention:
These records are used to document the intended appropriation of funds. Information may include budget requests, proposals, and reports documenting the status of appropriations.
|SG 2-2, 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 2-8, 7-16, 7-25, 7-33, 7-38, 7-52, 7-55, 10-2, 10-21, 10-22, CNT 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-7, 3-8, 3-9, 7-2, MUN 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-7, 3-8, 3-9, 3-10, 8-2, SD 6-2|| Retention:
|– Annual Financial Budget –
The budget is a plan for financial operations for a fiscal year. It may be certified by a budget officer and filed with the state auditor.
|CNT 3-1, 5-3, 13-8
|– Trust Financial Records –
These are records related to monies handled under the terms of a trust. Information may include property taxes, insurance premiums, mortgage and related records.
4-7 years after final action
|– Grant and Other Federal Financial Assistance Records-
These records document grants received by governmental entities, which may contain applications, notice of award, program reports, correspondence, and related records.
|SG 2-3, 2-9, 2-10, 2-12?
CNTY 1-45, 1-39?, 28-14? 28-15?, 30-7MUN 1-47, 1-43?, 20-14, 22-18, 24-13, 24-14, 25-10SD 1-33?
3-8 years after final action or disposition of asset
|– Grant Final Reports-
These records are reports prepared and submitted on grants received by governmental entities on grants received. Information may include statistics, narrative, activities, and accomplishments.
CNTY 28-15?, 30-8?
MUN 1-48, 1-9, 20-15, 24-4, 24-7, 24-8
Until final action or disposition of asset
Transfer to Archives
Today is part 3 of our Defining Policy and Procedures which will discuss procedures and processes. Procedures, often confused with processes, work instruction, or guidelines, address the HOW. These can be long and reviewed and updated regularly. The International Standards Organization defines Procedures as “a way of carrying out a process or activity”. Since process is in the definition, ‘process’ has joined procedures on the chart.
A process is not a document, but an activity. ISO says “a process is a set of activities that are interrelated, or that interact with one another. Processes use resources to transform inputs into outputs.” The procedure outlines how a process is performed in a detailed way.
Think of procedures as ‘the manual’. In a time of crisis, it’s where you turn for reference. Not every procedure needs its own policy, but following the manual will guarantee compliance with the standards and policy. Procedures clearly define how a policy is implemented with a series of detailed steps to accomplish an end. This provides consistency within your organization. This is the place to clearly outline who does what in order to meet the standards, or criteria. Procedures should not go more than two years without being reviewed.
Today is part 2 of our Defining Policy and Procedures which will discuss standards.
Standards address the WHAT, making the policy above and procedures below more meaningful. It is possible that some standards are not even created by your entity, but are an international standard for your field. For example, the standard that the State Archives microphotography department uses in filming has not changed since the 1980’s, though internal policy and procedures have.
A standard is the level at which you must do something to accomplish the goals stated in the policy. Following the procedures results in meeting the established standard. The International Standards Organization says a standard is applied “consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.” The standards can assign a quantifiable measure or detail how a policy must be implemented, but the standards will rarely change as time passes and technology and practices change.
YouTube videos and presentation slides (if applicable) are available for each presentation. Links can be found at archives.utah.gov/recordsmanagement/event_materials/20160401-spring-conference.html and are also provided below:
- Event Program (contains presenter bios)
- Susan Eisenman, Ten Things You Need to Know About GRAMA
- Paul Tonks, Legislative Updates
- Michelle Larsen, Practical Tips for Classifying Records and Responding to a GRAMA Request
- Renée Wilson, Open Records Portal Update
- Rosemary Cundiff, GRAMA and Fees
- Panel Discussion, Responding to Public Records Requests for Email
- Tom Haraldsen, Communicating and Problem Solving
As a records officer, you have probably encountered the terms: policies, procedures, standards, guidelines, and processes, in relation to records management. Often these words are used interchangeably, but they each have different roles and degrees of detail in managing record information.
This post is the first in a four-part series to discuss the meaning and application of these terms. Records management is full of policies, procedures, standards, guidelines, and processes, all designed to ensure information is properly used, stored, retained, and meets the proper disposition.
As a record officer, know that the meaning of each of these words can vary slightly depending on the department. What the HR division would call a ‘guideline’, the IT department may call a ‘work instruction’.
Today, let’s talk about the highest level of documentation: policy. ARMA says “effectiveness depends primarily on the organization’s ability to enforce the policy”. Policies are created in response to a need. They briefly and specifically address the WHY, or the principle of action your office has adopted. The International Standards Organization says a “policy statement defines a general commitment, direction, or intention.” Policies should be written so that anyone in your organization can look at it as a framework for their work responsibilities. For example, the Department of Administrative Services has an email policy which specifies who is responsible for the retention. Each employee uses this policy to manage their email, but the divisions clarify the specific steps to be taken at the procedure and guideline level.
When writing or updating a policy, keep your intended audience in mind. Your audience may include your legal and HR divisions who use policies to ensure discipline and compliance, or it may include the IT department who looks to the policy to determine desired technical capabilities and results. For example, a policy written by and in the language of lawyers would be less helpful to your customer service representatives than one that was written using their language style and lingo.
Policies are more specific than a mission statement, but may contain a mission statement. A policy should capture the scope, purpose and may reference high level standards.
- 9:00 – 9:10 am: Welcome – Rosemary Cundiff, Government Records Ombudsman
- 9:10 – 9:40 am: Ten Things You Need to Know About GRAMA – Susan Eisenman, Assistant Attorney General, Division Director
- 9:55 – 10:25 am: Legislative Updates – Paul Tonks, Assistant Attorney General
- 10:25 – 10:55 am: Practical Tips for Classifying Records and Responding to a GRAMA Request – Michelle Larsen, Utah Transit Authority
- 11:10 – 11:30 am: Open Records Portal Usage Trends – Renée Wilson, Open Records Portal Administrator
- 11:30 – Noon: GRAMA and Fees – Rosemary Cundiff, Government Records Ombudsman
- 1:30 – 2:45 pm: Panel Discussion: Responding to Public Records Requests for Email – Nova Dubovik, moderator; Panelists: Michelle Larsen, Utah Transit Authority; David Fleming, CRM, IGP, CIP; Colleen Mulvey, MMC, Cedar Hills City Recorder; Candee Allred, Salt Lake City Police Department
- 3:00 – 3:30 pm: Communications and Problem Solving – Tom Haraldsen, Managing Editor for The Davis Clipper