Information Audits: A Guidance Note
An information audit will help identify the information (regardless of format) held by the University and also identify and assess how that information is shared. The audit process will provide recognition and understanding of how the University operates in terms of administrative, legislative and regulatory requirements. It will also identify areas of strength and weakness in the management of records and information. Finally, the audit will help to identify any actions and procedures that are required to ensure that information is readily and easily available to staff whenever they need it.
Why do we need an information audit?
There are a number of reasons to carry out an information audit, including:
• Development of a Records Retention Schedule
• To prepare for an Electronic Document & Records Management System (EDRMS)
• To prepare for an office move/relocation of service
• To ensure compliance with legislation i.e. Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations
• To reduce the unnecessary retention of information
The potential benefits of the information audit will be felt at University, department and individual staff member level. These include:
• An increase in operational effectiveness and efficiency and customer service through improved access to information
• Easy identification of where information is stored, how it’s managed and in what format
• Compliance with relevant legislation and regulation
• Enhanced information security, knowing what is held and where
• Development of records retention schedules, including the identification of information worthy of permanent preservation
• Assist in the rationalisation of space/storage allowing more efficient use of space
• Reduction of storage costs through the destruction of time-expired material and the reduction of duplicate records and information
• Identification of records and information that can be stored in alternative formats
• Identification of information sharing opportunities
What the audit will achieve?
It is intended that the audit will allow the following:
• Development of bespoke and departmental-specific retention schedules
• Improve access to information
• Provide a complete and comprehensive picture of the information held by the relevant departments
• The information audit will be carried out through a series of interviews with key staff
• Initial short meeting with each Head of Department and relevant team members to discuss the information audit programme, the benefits to be realised and the input required from members of staff. This can also be achieved through short presentation to departmental staff meeting.
• A list of key staff to be interviewed will be drawn up. The list should include those with special responsibility for particular areas and also support staff.
• Circulate guidance note on the information audit and what is expected, to those staff selected for interview.
• Attendance at departmental meetings (if required) to briefly discuss the Audit.
• Identify additional staff training requirements (records and information management e.g. FOI & DP, email management etc).
• Schedule interviews (30- 40 minutes in duration).
• Information will be collated and used to make recommendations on the retention and disposal of records and information.
For further advice on Information Audits please contact the:
Records & Information Management Service (R&IMS)
tel: +44 (0)141 330 3111