Record Time

The Records Management Society (RMS), launched in 1983, is the foremost professional association for all those who work in or are concerned with records management, regardless of their professional or organisational status or qualifications. Through close and regular contact with its own members and with related professions, the Records Management Society encourages the highest professional standards. The aims of the Society are to:

  • Provide leadership in records and information management.
  • Improve the status of records management and records managers through representation, external liaison and promotion.
  • Support professional development through sharing knowledge and expertise.

What is records management?
The amount of information which flows through an organisation is vast. It is an important asset to all organisations and recent legislative developments have created a greater need for its efficient management. Information comes in many different formats and carries with it varying levels of importance, as well as complying with different regulations and requirements in respect of storage, archiving and destruction. Records management is the discipline which can ensure that business information is managed in accordance with legislation, regulations and business requirements:

Key facts about the Society
Our Society is governed by an Executive Committee made up of a Chair and Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and a number of Directors. Executive members are elected each year at the AGM which is held during the Annual Conference. A private company is employed to carry out the essential administration of the Society’s activities. Our membership is strongest in the government sector and vendor community but the private sector, professional organisation and not for profit organisations are also represented. The increased recognition of the value of records managers has led to a 50 per cent growth in membership over the last few years. The dominance of the London membership is being increasingly challenged by a strong growth in membership from the UK regions and overseas membership. Membership of the society consists of Individual (75 oer cent) and sustaining Corporate Members (25 per cent) and at our Annual Conference in April 2006 we were able to announce that we now had over 1,000 active members, including 70 overseas members across 29 countries.

Our Key Activities
The Bulletin and the RMS website are the Society’s “flagship” products and contain high quality articles, industry news and events. The RMS Web site continues to go from strength to strength, and is fast becoming the communication tool of choice for our members. The content is regularly updated with information on events and regional groups as well as job adverts, events, information guides and training courses. RMS Annual Conference is our major event where we bring together leaders and expert practitioners from the records management world to provide delegates with the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest thinking, learn from and network with  their peers and colleagues from across the profession. This year over 250 attendees made full use of the networking opportunities provided.

The Society sponsor and provide quality training events for its members throughout the year and arranging trips and visits to places of interest. The Society promote and support a number of regional and specialist RMS subgroups in order to provide members with local training, benchmarking and networking opportunities. These include the following RMS sub groups, which have been extremely well attended and have attracted considerable attention from members, non-members and sponsors alike: 

  • Scotland
  • Northern England
  • Ireland
  • Wales
  • London
  • Midlands
  • South West
  • South
  • Local Government
  • Higher Education/Further Education

    
Our Key Products
A number of products have been developed by the Society in order to provide records managers with invaluable tools, including the Local Government Classification Scheme, Retention Guidelines for Local Authorities, Records Management Toolkit for Schools, and Information Audit Guidelines. The Local Government Classification Scheme has been issued to support local authorities in the development of classification schemes for local government business. Its objective is to promote improved records management practices within local government, particularly, though not exclusively, with the development of electronic document and records management solutions.

The first review of the Records Management Toolkit for Schools has now been completed and the revised version is available for download free of charge from the RMS Web site. The purpose of the tool kit is to provide individual schools with the different components they need to develop records management compliance with the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice under Section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The Retention Guidelines for Local Authorities have been issued to support local authorities in the areas of Data Protection, Freedom of Information and the Local Government Act. It has been issued by the RMS after consultation with a number of local government authorities, their agencies and other experts in the field. The Society’s Information Audit Guidelines have been compiled by members of the Records Management Society’s Local Government Group for use by records managers and other information management professionals who need to complete information audits in the course of their work.

How can the RMS help to solve the unique problems faced by NHS staff?
The RMS is about to embark upon a national project designed to assist all NHS Trusts in meeting compliance and regulatory requirements in how they manage and store their records, knowledge and corporate information. This is via a records management tool called a Business Classification Scheme (BSC) or file plan which forms a central spine or structure that allows organisations to organise their business documents and records in a manner that facilitates access whilst minimising loss and duplication. This work is being initiated from a joint collaboration between the RMS (represented by Paul Duller), the Health Archives & Records Group (HARG) and the Institute of Health Records and Information Management (IHRIM). In addition, organisations such as Connecting for Health and the Department Of Health (DoH) have also been invited to participate. This project covers business records not patient records which are already managed under national guidelines. The proposed output should, however, compliment the DoH NHS Code of Practice and the NHS records management roadmap.  At this time, Paul Duller and Karen Waite (from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust) are in the process of scoping out the size of the project and the first full steering group meeting is scheduled for the 13 December 2006. While the project is still in its early stages, we hope that it provides an indication of the type of activities and support we can provide within your sector.

How to join
As a member you may contribute and/or participate in any of the above activities, have a voice in the future of your profession working together and benefiting from the opportunities for personal development. You may become an individual member of the Society or your organisation may choose to become a corporate member. Becoming a member cannot be easier - all you need to do is log on to our Web site - www.rms-gb.org.uk - and follow the directions. A reduced membership fee is available to students and retired persons.

Conclusion
There is a lot of work currently underway and even more to be done! We always welcome new initiatives from our membership and for new members. If you would like to become more involved with any aspect of the RMS, please feel free to contact me (paul.duller@tribalgroup.co.uk) or take a look at our Web site, and register online.

The RMS Executive have ambitious plans to develop the Society over the next few years. Any additional income we receive through new members, advertising and sponsorship will help to fund these plans, and keep membership fees as low as possible in the process. It is in all our interests to see membership numbers grow, and as such, I would like to ask that you add one more New Year’s resolution to your list, namely - to join us in 2007.

Further information:
Tel: 01494 488566
Fax: 01494 488590
www.rms-gb.org.uk

Please register to comment on this article