Explain the purpose of storing and retrieving information
The purpose of storing and retrieving required information is so you can readily retrieve it when it becomes required. Information is logged on a spread sheet and filed with the log number this is so the information can easily be found if required. The information is stored in locked filing cabinets as the information can hold company details and account numbers this is only accessible by the Administration staff and each file is signed out on a register.
Describe what different information systems you use for storing information and what their main features are (for example, electronic systems, filing cabinets etc) The different information systems are filing cabinets where hard copies are stores or electronically which can be saved changes can be made and they can be made safe with a password. Filing Cabinets – The information in the filing cabinets is logged on a spread sheet and issued a file number this is so the information is easily ready and available to find is require, the filing cabinets are also locked as they can contain private and confidential information, the Administration staff are the only department that can access these files and each one taken is signed out. Electronic File – The information can be easily shared between personnel in the company if required and any changes amendments can be easily changed, these files can also be password protected or read only if required so other personnel can’t make any changes.
Explain the purpose of legal and organisational requirements for the security and confidentiality of information (for example passwords for computers or locks on filing cabinets) It is important to have rules concerning the security and confidentiality of archived information because it may contain sensitive data which, if it got into the wrong hands, could pose a threat to the business and its customers. Archived data may contain information on employees’ personal records, payroll records, human resource records, as well as financial data relating to the business itself. All of this information is sensitive and is protected by the Data Protection Act 1998.
Archived information should therefore be treated with the same level of confidentiality and security as it was before it was archived. In practice, strictly controlled access to archived files ensures security and confidentiality of archived information. Access is controlled by an organisational procedure which employees must adhere to in order to be given access to archived files. Employees must make a request, usually to a senior manager, stating the reason for accessing a particular file. A record of the request will be kept on file, along with the following details: name of the employee requesting access, date of access, reason for requesting access, date when the file was returned to the archive.
Explain the purpose of confirming information to be stored and retrieved Decisions on what is to be archived and what can be disposed of need to be made by an organisation so that there is clear control over the retention of data. Keeping all data indefinitely is not practical or sensible – think about how much paper this would involve, as well as the space it would require. But how does a business decide what is to be archived and what can be disposed of? These decisions will depend, first and foremost, on the legal requirements relating to a particular type of information.
We saw earlier in the unit that certain types of information must be retained for specific time periods (see page 4). It may surprise you to learn that when you apply for a job, even if you are unsuccessful in your application, the organisation to which you applied must, by law, keep your details on file for one year. A second consideration for organisations is that, under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, they must dispose of certain types of information once it is no longer being used. Personal data relating to former customers is a good example of this. Organisations therefore need to operate a very clear archiving schedule, which takes into account both the minimum and maximum retention periods set out by law.
Describe ways of checking information for accuracy
Procedures for storing archived information must comply with legal requirements relating to specific data and how long they must be kept for. Organisations will have policies stating the length of time that documents should be retained and when they can be destroyed. Organisations store their archiving according to department and by type of information, and it is filed in an orderly way so that it can be easily dealt with at the correct time. All archiving boxes are labelled with: date of archiving retention period date on which the file can be disposed of.
Explain why you should check information for accuracy
In order to retrieve archived information, you will first need to find out what your organisation’s procedure is for this process. Access to archived information is strictly controlled and you cannot simply enter the archiving area freely and take out a file. Instead, you will have to follow a set procedure which may involve completing any associated paperwork. Retrieval procedure to retrieve an archived file, you will need to follow a procedure that may be similar to the one below.
1 Get in touch with the relevant archiving contact – ask your manager who this is if you do not know.
2 Give the archiving contact the following details relating to the file you need: name of your department
archive box number
contents of file
reason for access.
3 The archived file will then be retrieved for you.
4 Once the archived file is ready to be returned to the archive, let the archiving contact know so that they can arrange to have it collected from you. If you need to find out where in the archive a particular file is stored, so that you can request the correct archive box number, you can look up the box number in your department’s archive record book or database.
Explain the purpose of providing information in an agreed format and to meet deadlines (for example do you have to send reports by certain dates) The purpose of providing information in the agreed format and timescale is important so the information can be used without delays. If it is not in the agreed format, it may need to be reformatted. If it is not provided in the approved timescale, it may be too late to include the information on a project.
Describe the types of information that can be deleted
Information in an archive can only ever be removed after its retention date has expired. In other words, if a file must be retained by an organisation for three years, it cannot – for any reason – be deleted before this time. Once files have passed their retention period, they can be removed and destroyed. This is usually carried out by an annual cull of all archiving which is no longer needed. A report is produced – usually annually – from the organisation’s archive database showing all of the archive boxes which now qualify for removal. These boxes are then taken out of the archive and are disposed of in a secure manner such as shredding. The empty archive boxes then have their labels removed and can be recycled for future use.
Describe the problems that may occur with information systems and how to deal with them One of the more common problems with archived information files is that they may have been archived carelessly or incorrectly. This means that there may be unnecessary documents in the archive, there may also be documents which are filed in the wrong order and even duplicates of a document. Other files may be missing altogether. Any of these problems may make it difficult to sort quickly through your archive to locate a specific document or file.
The best way to deal with problems such as those outlined above is to: ensure the archiving procedure is managed so that the staff responsible for preparing files for archiving are given guidelines for correct archiving procedures and that they follow them start a system of regular checking and of clearing out of unwanted files such as those which no longer need to be kept. Serious problems with archived information, such as whole sections of missing files, need to be referred to a manager for investigation, as the files may have been stolen. Since files may contain sensitive or confidential data, this could represent a serious breach of security in the organisation.