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Learning Activities Essay

Think about your own organization and the people related records that it stores

Identify five records that would fit within any of the identified reasons for keeping records outlined above (you will find more information on these on p278 –p280 of the course textbook). Explain why your organization needs to maintain and use these records (provide examples of how they are actually used where you can). Training Records – At Enterprise we have a spreadsheet called “The Matrix”, this stores each employed persons training records. It is a basic excel spreadsheet with a column for names and a list of each of the available courses within Enterprise along the top. As soon as an employee has been on a course this will be inputted on to the spreadsheet along with the expiry date (if there is one) so we can ensure all personnel have valid records.

Having this information available is very important, due to the nature of our work we need to show that we are keeping our employees safe by having valid training records. For example if there is an accident on site and an employee has hit an underground cable, we would need to be able to show that the person has valid training records for “safe digging” to our Health and Safety officer otherwise we as a company could be seeing as being negligent when we have a duty of care towards our employees, this could result in claims against the organization.

Invoice Tracker – Every week invoices are sent in from our DSP’s to each of our contracts within the Trowbridge office. I am the project manager of shrouding and have 2 invoices sent in from each of the companies working for me. Leven’s & MOYAD construction. Once these invoices are emailed to me I will copy and record the information on to my “surveying” spreadsheet. This spreadsheet contains all site numbers ever worked on by each of my sub contractors and to what percentage that they were done on which day.

Having this information is vital to my contract I need to be able to check that each site is not being invoiced on more than one occasion as well as to the percentage that is required. Also on this spreadsheet it shows how much money will be due to be paid to both the contractor and Enterprise. Showing weekly turn over information and that we are hitting profit margins are essential on monthly meetings. Also if there was ever a dispute of pay, being able to refer to this information is important.

Employee personnel Files – Each employee of Enterprise has their own personnel file. This file contains full name, address, date of birth, bank details, sickness and holiday absence details as well as written warnings (if they have any) and their signed Enterprise contract stating what their job role is and salary. These files are used when appropriate, usually when employees details need updating or they have booked holiday.

Online Time Sheets – Every week every employee within Enterprise must fill out an online time sheet in order to be paid. The guys on site bring in a written version of this for the person who deals with time sheets to update their online version. This is so that any absence is recorded whether it be for half an hour or for an hour, this provides accurate attendance percentages and highlights regular patterns of absence.

Curriculum Vitae – For every Job advertisement that is put on the job websites a large number of CV’s from potential applicants. These are all then filtered down to persons with most experience and knowledge of the role that we are looking to fill. These persons will then be asked to interview, if they are not successful we will still store there CV on file for six months. This is a helpful system and saves re advertising for the same job if a vacancy arose for that position.

Learning activity two
Again think about your own organization.

For the five records you have identified above, identify and describe how the records are stored. Explain the rationale for this.

Training Records – These records are stored on Microsoft Excel, this system allows us to filter out what’s relevant and what isn’t depending on the persons records we are searching. As soon as a course is booked for an employee the date of the course is put on the system till the certificate is received, at which point the expiry date ( if there is one) will then be entered in it’s place.

Invoice Tracker – The invoice surveying data sheet is in Microsoft Excel, this allows easy copy and pasting of data from spreadsheet to spreadsheet. Once an invoice has been received all data from the invoice will be extracted by copying and recorded on to the surveying form by pasting in to the relevant columns.

Employee Personnel Files – These are all held in a locked filing cabinet in alphabetical order. Any new employee will have an personnel file created on their day of induction. All of their personal information will be stored in here and updated when necessary.

Online Time Sheet – The online time sheet is kept on our internal server database, It is a case of simply going in to “online time sheet” on the server, clicking on last weeks week, and inputting the hours worked during that day.

CV’s – All CV’s received from suitable job applicants will be stored in a file on the computer. They will be copied from the Enterprise email inbox and pasted in to the file, or scanned if received through the post.

Learning activity three
Take one of the examples of areas of organizational activity that require accurate information to facilitate decision making. For this example: Identify and describe how the data is gathered
Provide at least three examples of the sort of information that is derived and why it is useful Describe how the information is used to inform the decision making process Describe how and to whom the information is presented

Draw up a list of these.
Curriculum Vitea when advertising a vacancy:

Once Enterprise have advertised a vacancy on the system, this will be logged on to the job centre website and other job search sites. With an Enterprise email to send all Cv’s too, there is also an address for those who are unable to send via email. All CV’s are automatically filtered in to a separate email inbox, and posted CV’S are scanned in to the system as well and will wait for review by the relevant persons.

Once a significant amount of CV’s have been sent in the filtering process will begin, for example if we were advertising a Data input/Administration role we would look for experience in those titles from previous roles. Or a qualification in business administration. Filtering through this information is important so as to find the right person for employment. Once the CV’s have been filtered through they will be passed on to the office manager for review. They will then pick names from the persons filtered and make an appointment for interview.

The interview is carried out by our office manager and a member of staff who will be training the potential candidate. The candidate will be asked a series of questions relating to their working background and what their skills are as well as a question on Enterprise this usually tells us straight away whether they had made the effort to do some research. This goes down very well with the office manager.

Once all interviews have been carried out they will be filtered down to three potential employees who will go to the final stage of the Interview process which is a trial half day. The people who were not successful will be sent a standard letter telling them that their CV will be kept on file for 6 months.

Trial half day consists of a member of staff who has a good knowledge of the role being taken on, And the potential employee. They will be shown what to do and given tasks to get on with. Once all three candidates have been in for this, the office manager, the trainee and and a member of office staff will sit down and make a decision based on how well they got on, how quickly they learned the tasks and general attitude within the workplace. This person would then be informed of their success and will be given a start date. The two other candidates will be sent a standard letter informing them that they were unsuccessful on this occasion and that their CV will be kept on file.

The short listed CV’s will be kept in a separate folder to the other batch of CV’s.

Learning activity four
Consider what data gathering methods you might use for a particular information gathering requirement.
Cover:
The specifics of the requirement
The method(s) used
Reason for using that particular method
Any considerations in using the particular method

Interviews – Potential employees, this method is perfect for getting to know the candidate, asking any questions not answered in their CV. Consider writing down all questions you are thinking of asking to avoid forgetting to ask.

Surveys – Surveys are a good way to gather data from a large number of people when it’s impractical to meet them face to face, it is a good method of getting an opinion on a product, service or company. Surverys can be both formal where the results are due to statistical, reliability and validity. And informal where the results are anecdotal – Anecdotal The definition of anecdotal is something that is story-like or something that is based on stories and retellings, not based on provable facts.

Observations – Direct observations are a good way of recording data, especially in a working environment, they are often done in conjunction with another data gathering method that is used to fill in the gaps and answer questions. Observations must be arranged with plenty notice to the person you are observing and the permission from management. Consider getting someone who can tell you what to look for with regards to what you are observing, for example the use of a new mechanical device in a warehouse.

Learning activity five
Explore the information under the link above, then tackle the following:

List the eight principles of the DPA with a brief explanation of each What does the DPA say about the rights of individuals to access to data kept on them? List at least five measures you might take to protect personnel information The eight principles of the DPA Data Protection act are the following:

1: Processing personal data fairly and lawfully, It means that you must have legitimate reason for collecting and using personal data, you must not use the data in way that have unjustified adverse effects on the individual concerned, be clear on how you intend to use the data, handle the personal data in ways they would expect and make sure you do not do anything unlawful with the data.

2: Processing personal data for specified purposes, meaning you must be clear from the offset as to why you require the information and what you are going to do with it, comply with the acts fair processing requirements – including the duty to give privacy notices to individuals when collecting their personal data. You must also comply with what the act says about notifying the information commissioner and ensure that if you wish to use or disclose the personal data for any purpose that is additional to or different from the originally specified purpose, the new use or disclosure is fair.

3: The Amount of personal data you hold; Personal data should be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed. Meaning that you hold personal data about an individual that is sufficient for the purpose you are holding it for in relation to that individual and you do not hold more information that you need for that purpose.

4: Keeping personal data accurate and up to date; personal data shall be accurate and when necessary up to date, to comply with this you should take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of any personal data you obtain, ensure that the source of any personal data is clear, carefully consider any challenges to the accuracy of the information, and consider whether it is necessary to update the information.

5: Retaining personal data; personal data processed or any purpose shall not be kept for loner than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes. Meaning review the length of time you keep personal data, consider the purpose or purposes you hold the information for in deciding whether and how long for to retain it, securely delete information that is no longer needed for this purpose or these purposes; and update, archive or securely delete information that goes out of date.

6: The rights of individuals; Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this act; the rights of access to copy the information compromised in their personal data; a right to object to processing that is likely to cause or is cause damage or distress, a right to prevent processing for direct marketing, a right to object to decisions being taken by automated means, a right in certain circumstances to have accurate personal data rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed, and a right to claim compensation for damages caused by a breach of the act.

7: information security; appropriate technical and organizational measures shall be taken against unauthorized or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data. It means you will need to design and organize your security to fit the nature of the personal data you hold and the harm that may result from a security breach; be clear about who in your organization is responsible for ensuring information security; make sure that you have the right physical and technical security, back up by robust policies and procedures and reliable, well trained staff as well as being ready to respond to any breach of security swiftly and effectively.

8: Sending personal data outside the European Economic Area; personal data should not be transferred to a country or territory outside the #EEA unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level od protection for the rights and freedoms od data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.

Individuals who wish to access personal data on themselves commonly known as subject access; Can do so by writing a request to the company with possibly paying a fee, this entitles them to be told whether their personal data is being processed, they can request that they are given a description of the personal data, the reasons it is being processed and whether it will be given to any other organizations or people. The individual can also be given a copy of the information compromising the data and be given details of the source of the data. An individual can also request the reasons as to why any automated decisions are made for example a computer generated decision on credit. Whether to allow or deny. The individual is entitled only to their own personal data and not to information relating to other people.

If I was running my own company the five measures I would put in place to protect the personal data are the following:

Install a fire wall, anti spy ware and virus checking on all computers, this is a very common security implication, this would protect my computers from viruses which have the potential to download information from my computers to theirs. Anti spyware provides a monitoring service which stops programs being installed that can read passwords, bank details and other sensitive data.

Protect computer files with passwords: Protecting files with passwords is a good way of keeping data restricted; I would ensure that only a few members of staff have the password and that it is changed on a regular basis.

Disposing of computers; All old computers should be destroyed correctly, by using a recognized computer disposal service or by destroying the hard disk. Any old computers despite deleting the data, can still be accessed.

Email information securely: Consider whether the email should be password protected.

Learning activity six
Look at the information provided under the link above, then tackle the following:

What are the two ways that public authorities are obliged to provide information? What is the public interest test?
What is a vexatious request?

Try to interpret your answers using your own words

Public authorities are obliged to publish information about their activities, as well as members of the public are entitled to request information from them. Public authorities must publish information proactively; The freedom of Information act requires every public authority to have a publication scheme. A publication scheme is a commitment by the council to make information available routinely, without waiting for someone specifically to request it.

The publication scheme must state a promise to make certain levels of information routinely available such as who you are and what you do, the services you offer, organizational structure, policies and procedures, Contracts and reports, minutes of meetings, annual requests and financial information. Once the publication has been created it must first be approved by The Information Commissions Office ICO. Information in the publication scheme represents the minimum that must be shown, if a member of the public wants information that is not on this, they can still ask for it.

Members of the publican request information from public authority and they have two separate ways in which they can respond:

1: Tell the applicant whether you hold any information that matches the criteria of what they have requested.

2: to provide them with the requested information

Usually the request should be responded to within 20 working days. When receiving a request it must be in the form of a letter of email to be valid under The Freedom Of Information Act, the request must include their name, address and a description of the information requested, the act covered information not specific documents.

The public interest test is a guidance document provided by The Information Commissioners Office,he has produced this series of good practice guidance designed to aid understanding and application of the FOIA The aim is to show some of the key areas of the freedom of information act and to help guide on how to respond to information requests. The guidance provided by the ICO is only a starting point going from research I found: section 1 of FOIA sets out the right to any person making a request for information to a public authority these are:

The right to be informed Whether the information is held or not by the authority and if so then The right to have that information communicated to them.

In principle it states that both these rights need to be treated separately. When applying the public interest test, consideration should be given first to whether it is right to confirm or deny whether the information is held and secondly whether the information should be supplied.

To decide whether a request is vexatious you would need to look at the following:
Can the request be seen as obsessive
Is the request harassing the authority or causing distress to staff Would complying with the request impose significant burden in terms of expense and distraction ( with regards to employees) Is the request designed to cause disruption or annoyance

Does the request lack any serious purpose or value

You should be able to decipher whether the request is vexatious by looking at these headings.

Learning activity seven
There are many methods of keeping records or information, some of which are computerized.

Identify three types of records or information that relate to an area of business and inform decision making in that area. For each of the three types:

Describe how the information/record is stored
How reason for storing the information/record in this way
How the storage method meets the requirements of the DPA

Keeping records of employees sickness and absence, we keep his electronically on the system in a password secured file. Each person has there own line on a spread sheet and each day they are off that date will be marked in red, with a comment attached to it stating why the person was off sick. Any sick notes will be scanned in to the system and stored within that persons file.

We ensure that this file is secure at all time and only management have access to it. Reasons for this is that we want to ensure other employees cant see other peoples absence and reasons for being off sick as that is private and confidential. The DPA states the following: obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes adequate, relevant and not excessive to the purpose for which the data are required accurate and, where necessary, kept up-to-date

kept secure against unlawful or unauthorised processing, or accidental loss or erasure This is compliant with the Data protection act as we have only managers who have access to the file. We must keep this information as up to date as possible as absence and sickness in the work place can highlight problem areas that need to be looked at and resolved.

Keeping CV’s – These are all stored in a file on the main system, these can be accessed by the nominated filter processors who are usally a member of the team which the vacancy is for, and the manager of that dept. This is so they can access them when needed. CV’s are usually kept for a year and then disposed of. This is compliant with the DPA’s standards as we don’t keep information longer than we need to as well as having only a select few people who are able to access the information.

Training certificate records – All certificates are kept in our personnel files, however our training dept at head office also holds a copy as when the training is carried out a copy of the cert is sent to them also. This information is recorded on our training matrix and updated accordingly. We store the certificates in this way so that we can see who requires training and when.

Also if anything happens on site and our health and safety officer needs to see what training they have in place we can have it available as soon as possible for him. Our storage methods meet the requirements of the DPA by keeping the information secure, all our employees have access to their records when required. We do advise that when we receive a certificate that they come in for a copy to put in their own records at home.

Learning activity eight

Take one example from the context of your organisation where information has been sourced, collected, analysed and then interpreted to inform decision making.

For this example:

State why the information was needed (how was it intended to support decision making?) How was it sourced? What method of data gathering was used and why? Show an output from the analysis of the data (example: pie chart, bar chart) Sickness and Absence – The information is gathered from employees time sheets which are handed in weekly to the office manager the time sheet consists of a basic table on an A4 piece of paper that requires the employees to input their hours. This will then be handed in and inputted manually. This can then be printed off and used. Sickness and absence information is required once a month at the operations meetings, the operations manager will go through with the contracts manager as to why someone was off for a period of time whether it was due to sickness, was a doctors note provided or whether it is a reoccurring unauthorized absence.

If it is an re occurring unauthorized absence; this will be highlighted with our HR Department at head office. Once this happens our HR representative Jo Betts will arrange an interview with the person to get to the bottom of why they are having this time off and whether an improvement program can be put in place. Usually they will be issued with a warning and put on an attendance watch if they cannot give a valid reason as to why they aren’t coming in to work.

This bar chart is in my Evidence folder 02.07 document

Learning activity nine

Look at the example above – and considering the broad principles of a dashboard – describe how you might create a dashboard (or describe an existing dashboard

What areas of information would/does it contain?

From where would you source the data to populate the dashboard?

Who would use the dashboard and why?

I would create a dashboard based on training record information; it would show what percentage of employees had valid training records and what percentage have them but they are out of date.. I would also have an accident chart, we have a few accidents a month relating from hitting underground BT cables and water pipes, as well as employees having accidents from climbing electric poles. Due to the fact most of our accidents are fairly similar, I would be able to group them easily by title.

We provide training courses for all of these incidents such as “pole top rescue” and “Safe digging practices”, so where an employee may not have a valid training record for this, and that employee was involved in the accident this would be a good way of highlighting why the accident happened in the first place and that he should not be carrying out that particular job without undergoing training.

I would source the training data from the Training Matrix file system. This information is kept up to date at all times and is readily available to me when I need it. The accident data is kept with our Health and Safety manager, I would request the information from him.

The dashboard would be a great tool to take to Operations meetings where our health and safety manager goes over the level of accidents and training carried out for that month. He can then compare using a bar chart whether there are a higher percentage of valid training records for that month in comparison to others.

Learning activity ten
Read the information contained under the link above, then tackle the following:

A Balanced Scorecard approach generally has four perspectives – what are they? What are the potential benefits of using a balanced scorecard? Why is feedback essential?

A balanced score card is defined as “ a strategic planning and management system used to align business activities to the vision statement of an organization” in more simple and realistic terms a balance score card attempts to translate the sometimes vague, hopes of a companies mission statement in to the practicalities od managing the business better at every level. To produce your own balance score card you must know and understand: The companies mission statement

The companies strategic plan/vision
The financial status or the company
How the organization is currently structured and operating
The level of expertise of their employees
Customer satisfaction level.

The four perspectives that the Balanced score card generally has are that of:

Finance – in which covers the following areas:
Return on investment
Cash flow
Return on capital employed
Financial results Quarterly/Yearly

Internal Business processes – which covers the following areas:
Number of activities per year
Function
Duplicate activities across functions
Process alignment (is the process in the right dept.)(When the organization’s business processes, quality definitions and measures are aligned to the strategy)
Process bottlenecks
Process automation (A general technology term that is used to describe any process being automated through the use of computers and computer software. Processes that have been automated require less human intervention and less human time to deliver)

Learning and Growth – which covers the following areas:
Is there the correct level of expertise for the job
Employee turnover
Job Satisfacti0on
Training/Learning opportunities

Customer – Which covers the following areas:
Delivery performance to customer
Quality performance for customer
Customer satisfaction rate
Customer percentage of market
Customer retention rate.

The benefits of using a balanced score card are that it enables you to see a mixture of financial and non financial measures each compared to a target value within a single concise ( expressing alot of detail in a few words…) report. Once the Balanced score card is implemented within the organization you should see improved processes.

Motivated educated employees
Enhances information systems
Monitored progress
Greater customer satisfaction
Increased financial usage.

However for any software to work effectively it should be:

Compliant with your current technology platform
Always accessible to everyone – Everywhere
Easy to understand/update/communicate

The balanced score card is only of good use when available to everyone, not by keeping it hidden. Feedback is essential and should be contributed to by everyone within the business

Carol do I need to go on to discuss the 360 degree feedback here?


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