Records Management Policy for Business Emails
Email is routinely used in the University for both formal and informal purposes. The University’s Records Management Policy for Business Emails will help to ensure that records created when University business is conducted by email are managed efficiently, effectively and economically and in line with the University’s broader Records Management Policy.
In order to manage business records in email format effectively it is essential that key underlying systems and protocols are embedded, particularly before embarking on large-scale electronic records management (ERM) software solutions. This includes:
- Clearing out time-expired emails.
- Organising current business records in email format so that they are clearly identified, held in well-structured folders and accessible to the University, not just an individual.
- Training staff in good email management practice.
In order to effect the culture change needed to put in place good email management practices, the University needs to implement processes gradually and appropriately.
This policy aims to meet the requirements of good records management and therefore applies to all business records in email format created and received by the University.
The University’s Records Management Policy for Business Emails is:
To encourage the controlled use of email and the use of alternative forms of communication where more appropriate.
To ensure that where business is conducted by email, those emails are created and maintained as records.
In other words, to make sure that information needed to fulfil legal obligations and reconstruct activities and transactions that have taken place is recorded. Normal business practice is to store and access emails electronically for the duration of their lifetime, but there may be limited instances where it is appropriate, or advisable, to print emails out.
To ensure that records in email format can be accessed by the University.
In other words, to make sure that it is possible for the University (not just an individual) to quickly and easily locate and access business emails.
To ensure that the content of business records created in email format is appropriate.
In other words, to make sure that the contents of business emails created are not illegal, malicious or offensive and do not put the University’s reputation at risk.
To ensure that business records in email format can be interpreted.
In other words, to make sure that a context for business emails can be established, showing when and by whom they were created or received, and how they relate to other information e.g. where an email constitutes an approval, it should be stored alongside information about what is being approved, if this is not evident in the email itself.
To ensure that business records in email format can be maintained.
In other words, to make sure that business emails are deemed to be present in the University and can be accessed and interpreted for as long as necessary, including on transfer to other systems and technologies or on transfer to the University Archives.
To ensure that business records in email format are disposed of in accordance with the University Records Retention Schedule.
The Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the Management of records under Section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 sets the framework of records management expectations on a public body. This includes email management. Good email management is also fundamental to helping the University to meet its obligations under data protection legislation.
Email management InfoKit, JISC, 2009
Standards for the management of Government records: Corporate policy on electronic records, Public Record Office, 2000
 The International Standard on records management (ISO 15489:2001) defines records as information “created, received and maintained as evidence and information by an organisation or person in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business”. This applies to all formats and media, both paper and electronic.