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Its everyones business

by MORETA FORDE
PRESIDENT, BARIM

FIVE-PAGE FEATURE
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2008.

MORETA FORDE

by CHERRI-ANN BECKLES
BARIM IMMEDIATE
PAST-PRESIDENT (ARCHIVIST)

IN BARBADOS, there are many


well established, long-standing
businesses that have made
significant contributions to the
advancement of Barbadian society
throughout the years.
These contributions are
unknowingly enshrined in some of
the records that have accumulated
as a result of their business activity
over time. Corporate records,
regardless of their form, are
initially created, received and
maintained by businesses in
pursuance of their objectives and
obligations, providing evidence of
their daily transactions and
activities.
However, as time passes, some
of these records accrue secondary
values by revealing the history and
development of the business within

CHERRI-ANN BECKLES
the Barbadian context. In other
words, a small percentage of
business records are archival,
possessing enduring
administrative, legal, fiscal,
cultural, intrinsic, artifactual or
historical value and thus they
become a vital part of the history

and heritage of the business and of


the nation.
Tragically, many businesses in
Barbados have lost significant
proportions of their valuable
archival materials due to
inappropriate storage and
indiscriminate destruction of these
records. The absence of a
comprehensive records
management programme means
that they are unable to properly
appraise their records in order to
determine which ones have
permanent or enduring value.
Additionally, Barbadian
businesses, as well as many across
the region, have not understood or
embraced the concept of
preserving corporate memory
through the establishment of a
Business Archives. This practice is
already deep-rooted in the
developed world where reputable
and respected businesses recognise
the benefits and value of taking

records are accurate, authentic,


have integrity and be useable.
In driving value in businesses, it
THIS YEARS theme focuses on the must be understood that a record
importance of records and
must be made captured for
information to businesses and why purpose and intent and kept in a
management and staff should see
proper medium be it in paper,
them as key to the functioning of
electronic or a hybrid system.
the company.
Accurate records and sound
Records and Information
information management practices
management is everyones business can give a company a competitive
and companies should ensure that
advantage and assist in maximisation
of profits.
With a good system, decision are
documented and stored for easy and
quick retrieval.
Such documentation provides
evidence which could be used to
justify certain actions, if the
special care to preserve their
company ever faces litigation or a
archival records both old and new. customer/client wishes to challenge
Preserving corporate memory
a decision.
through business archives
Another way of driving value in
enhances the ability of
business is proving the authenticity
directors/managers to make
of records and information.
accurate, sound and informed
There must be proof of who
decisions by providing historical
created or sent the record; that
context and perspective. Valuable
it was distributed in a timely
lessons can be learnt from business manner and the actual record
archives on the dos and donts of and information are what they
business in order to avoid
purport to be.
repeating the same mistakes or bad
The assurance that a record
decisions and/or improve on past
has integrity is another way of
good ideas.
driving value in business.
There is also the added benefit
It must be proven that the
of being able to demonstrate the
data was never altered and
longevity of the business, thereby
followed an accepted record and
improving the image of the
information management
business as an experienced,
process creation, retention,
trustworthy and reliable one.
disposition.
Putting the past to work for your
Additionally, access to
business today should be seen as
records should be granted to
an investment in the future
authorised persons only.
success of any
business.

MIDWEEK NATION. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2008. 37A

by BRIAN COZIER
BARIM EXECUTIVE/FLOOR MEMBER
ISO 15489 definition of a record: A
record is information created, received,
and maintained as evidence by an
organisation or person in the transaction
of business, or in the pursuance of legal
obligations, regardless of media.
If we look at records and information
management in terms of its value to
business imagine not knowing who your
clients are, who owes you money, or who
your employees are.
It would be impossible today for any
business to survive without accurate
records, stored and maintained in a way to
keep them current and easily accessible.

The basic process


All businesses therefore need to collect
information that due to the nature of their
operations and functioning are necessary.
That information needs to be easily and
quickly updated.
The information collected should also
be accessible by all of those in the
organisation who require it.
In addition, that information should be
properly disposed of when it is no longer
required.
I will try to demonstrate how each of

the above points affects both businesses


and their clients every day.
We take for granted that when we
interact with a service supplier, for
example, our electricity supplier, they
know who we are. You will first be asked
for your name, address, and maybe your
meter number. That is because we expect
them to know who we are, and where we
live. We expect that they have a record of
us. We also do not expect to be asked about
our blood type, as this has no relevance to
the supply of electricity to our home. The
expectation is therefore that the company
is only collecting information that is
needed to perform the service.
If we are questioning a charge on our
account, we expect that they have access to
updated information, such as the last
payment we made. Today that expectation
is for the service provider to have almost
real-time data, meaning that if I made a
payment even just yesterday, I expect the
company to know that. It is also relevant
that they have historical information (the
payments that I have made over the past
12 months), but to be useful the company
must have system to constantly update
their records.
We also expect that when we call the
companys customer service department,
the person that we are interacting with has
at least this basic information. This means

that the company must have a system to


disseminate the right information to the
right people within their organisation.
Having the right information but not
making it accessible benefits no one.
The final point has more to do with
internal company functions than client
servicing does. Try to imagine if an
organisation kept every record for clients
past and present forever. Well the Barbados
Electric Supply Company, the forerunner
to the Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd.
opened in June 17, 1911! It would be
unnecessary for the company to have client
records detailing every installation, every
invoice, and every client interaction for
almost 100 years!
It is therefore necessary that an
organisation has a documented and

BRIAN COZIER
well-managed system of identifying on an
ongoing basis what records can be
destroyed without having a negative
impact on business operations.
Of course, I also assume that even after
my death that the information that the
company has gathered concerning me,
would be confidentially disposed of.
In closing, I hope that I have been able
to articulate how important records
management is to us all, as we really take
all of the above for granted, but it does
require people, systems and management
to work, for all businesses to function and,
more importantly, provide a good service.

38A. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2008. MIDWEEK NATION

by EMERSON O. ST. G. BRYAN


Records are recorded
information regardless of
medium or characteristics.
Records can be defined 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.
(ISO 15489-1, 2001)
The old saying, What you
cant see wont hurt you
has never in the history of the
world been further from the
truth than today, especially in
government.
In this information age,
evidence of our activities,
present or past, professional
or private, is also recorded in
electronic format.
Even more significant is
the pace at which various
platforms and electronic
record storage media change.
Are the people managing
these electronic records
aware of vulnerabilities
associated with new
technologies?
Are policymakers
(including permanent
secretaries) aware of their
responsibility as the
responsible officers for the
record keeping process?
These are challenges
Barbadian policymakers and
information professionals
across the public service are
grappling with.
Whatever the nature of the
business, ministry or
department, it must be
recognised as a vital
underpinning.
The development of a
strategy for managing
recorded information across
all platforms both
traditional paper-based and
electronic is paramount and
it must conform to prevailing
legal mandates, as well as
reflect management practices
and technological options.

EMERSON BRYAN

employment of a retention
schedule should provide
evidence that they have
official policies for disposing
of records in compliance with
any legislation affecting the
organisation.
This can help avoid certain
legal problems associated
with illegal and arbitrary
disposal of records.
There are usually many
outside regulations that
oblige records managers to
apply consistent, structured
management to their
organisations documents.
These apply equally to
electronic documents.
A sampling may include:
Government legislation
which may require employers
to destroy sensitive
information (such as personal
employees/data) after a
specified time, or keep certain
legal documents for a
minimum period.
Adhering to a consistent
schedule of retention and
destruction will strengthen
the defence of an
organisations recordskeeping, if required to do so
by any court action.
Courts accept records as
evidence if they are
managed according to
corporately sanctioned
policies and procedures.
Records management
helps identify documents that
Legal Aspects of
should have a formal
Records
certification process applied
Management: The
for destruction.
Records Retention
In some cases, the prior
Schedule
consent of a CEO/permanent
secretary/or archivist may be
A records retention
required.
schedule identifies the
Legislation may require
period a records series
must be retained in active that vital documents
and inactive storage before (essential to continuation of
the business in the event of a
final disposition to
disaster) be properly
permanent storage,
identified, handled, and
archival preservation, or
monitored and properly
destruction.
protected.
When organisations
Access to
sanction the destruction of
information/privacy
records in the normal
legislation may oblige an
course of business, the

organisation to produce
accurate and reliable
information at the right time.
With sound records
management in place, it is
less likely that the
organisation would find itself
unable to supply requested
information.
NB. A major legal objective
and benefit of a retention
scheduling programme is to
serve as evidence to indicate
that the organisation does, in

fact, observe an official policy


for the disposal of its business
information, and the policy is
research plan with legal
implemented systematically
representative/counsel.
in the normal course of
This can be addressed via:
business.
Identifying which
general business activities
A legal research
may be subject to recordsexercise
keeping statutes and
A sure way of minimising regulations.
or eliminating potential legal
Determining the
organisations products or
threats would be the
services which could be
development of a legal

subject to legal recordkeeping requirements. (for


example; in the banking
sector/utilities companies
which keep customers
personal data by law).
Examining which of the
organisations industries or
business activities are

Continued on Page 40A.

MIDWEEK NATION. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2008. 39A

by JANICE CANDY
BROWNE
FOUNDING MEMBER & FORMER
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY (BARIM)
CAMPUS RECORDS CENTRE,
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES

HAVE YOU EVER had the experience of


trying to find an important document, for
example, an invoice to validate an exchange
transaction, a certificate to confirm a job
opportunity or educational pursuit; or even
your original birth certificate to
authenticate your existence as obvious as it
may seem?
If your answer is yes, then you have an
appreciation of the importance of records
management within the home.
Without efficient and effective
management of important and vital records
in the home, chaos will inevitably occur.
While every home may not have a fully
equipped office, it is still imperative that a
secured area be allocated for the keeping of
documents and records.
There are filing cabinets and boxes in a
variety of colours and sizes to fit the need
and dcor of every household.
Here is a simple generic plan that you
can follow to start or improve the records
management system at home.
One will need a sturdy cabinet or box
(initially), along with file jackets, folders,
and labels.
The cabinet/box (under lock and key),
should be kept off the floor in the event of
flooding, and away from windows in case of
rain, and direct sunlight.
One should also invest in a sturdy
portable waterproof container that can
store and carry all the vital
(See Table at right).
Of course, each home has its
uniqueness, and there may be different
categories like sports, fashions, cuisine, law
suit, music, personal letters and so on.
I am mainly addressing paper records in
this article, but there are other forms of
records for example, electronic records,
photographs, stamps, memorabilia and so
on which require special methods of
storage and maintenance.
Effective and efficient management will
ensure accurate and quick access

JANICE BROWNE
to your records, thus saving much time,
effort, and money.
It is also important that a simple
retention schedule is practiced (for
example, bi-annually) so that records are
not kept longer than are necessary, and are
discarded in an appropriate manner for
example by burning of sensitive/personal
information.
Without the correct management of
records in your home, you lose the identity
and uniqueness of your family.
Records not only reflect what has
happened in the past, but are available
so that planning, decision making,
performance assessments can be done,
and control can be maintained. What
would this world be like if there were
no records within the home?
My favourite book, the Bible, is a
record of several families and how
they managed their lives.
We would not know who we are,
and where we ought to be if God did
not preserve his record, the Bible.
Should you need further advice on
the efficient and effective management
of your home records, you may
contact BARIM, or email me at
janice.browne@cavehill.uwi.edu.

MAIN SUBJECT
HEADINGS

SUB HEADINGS (File folder for each of these)

EXPENSES

Valuables (Household items e.g. furniture, equipment,


etc, Vehicle, Boat,etc) Miscellaneous (Groceries,
Stationery, Clothes, Travel, Events, etc.)

FINANCE

Charge Account, Credit Card Account, Magna Awards,


Savings Account, Credit Union, Insurance Company
(house, car,etc.) Income tax, mortgage, budget, pay slips, etc.

HEALTH

Dental, Optical, Medical, Spa, Hair care etc. (correspondence


articles, receipts)

ASSOCIATIONS

BARIM, Employee, Church, fitness club, Social Club, etc.

VITAL RECORDS

All original documents re: Travel (passports),


Education, immigrant/residency status, birth,
deeds, wills, covenants, insurance, social security,
work permit, medical records, identification, etc.

EDUCATION

Past papers, research papers, correspondence, receipts, etc.

40A. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2008. MIDWEEK NATION

THE Barbados Association of Records and Information


Management (BARIM), was officially launched on October 27,
2004 at the Amaryllis Beach Resort, Christ Church.
The objectives of the association are:
To promote and advance the improvement of records
and information administration and management and related
fields through study, education and research.
To advance professional knowledge and techniques by
sharing and exchanging experience and information related
to the field of Records and Information Management.
To develop and advance standards of professional
competence in the field of records and information
management.
BARIM was formed in May 2004 when a group of records
professionals and practitioners met at Cable & Wireless
(Barbados), Windsor Lodge, St Michael, to discuss the idea of
a records and information association established in
Barbados.
It was spearheaded by Vera Iyatunde Forde, the current
Records and Information Corporate Administrator at Cable &
Wireless.
The first committee was established by founding members
who put together ideas for establishing the association.

immediate past president


The bi-monthly general meetings on the last Wednesday
of the month promote sound records and information
management via various presentations, and encourage
participation of all members so that information can be
shared.
BARIM has successfully coordinated three
workshop/seminars as well as other activities promoting the
discipline of records and information management.
Last month there was a social networking event: An
Evening With BARIM, at Cedar Court, Wildey, Christ
Church, and there will be another workshop/seminar on
Friday, April 25, celebrating the month as International
Records and Information Month at Sherbourne Conference
Centre.
BARIM presently has on record approximately xx
members, and is on a membership drive to encourage greater
participation from the wider Barbadian community and
business sector.

Contact Information:
BARIM
c/o The Archives and Records Management Programme
University of the West Indies,
Cave Hill Campus,
Cave Hill, St Michael,
BARBADOS
Telephone Number: 246-417-4052
Email Address: barim2004@yahoo.co.uk
Group: http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/barim2004

The Executive Committee 2007-2008 is as follows:


Moreta Forde Cable & Wireless Barbados president
Ingrid Cumberbatch Barbados Archives vicepresident
Sharon Alexander-Gooding, assistant registrar-records,
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill (International
Director of ARMA International). ARMA (Association for
Information Management Professionals) advisor
Vera Forde, Cable & Wireless Barbados executive
secretary
Eglah Atwell FirstCaribbean International Bank
(Barbados) treasurer
Helena Lyte personal assistant, Cable & Wireless
assistant treasurer
Emerson Bryan Caribbean Regional Negotiating
Machinery (CRNM) public relations officer
Elena Henkel Illuminat Barbados executive/floor
member
Brian Cozier Secure Shred Inc. executive/floor
member
Cherri-Ann Beckles University of the West Indies

Documenting
legal research
From Page 38A.
currently or could potentially be regulated by government
and thus be subject to record-keeping laws and
regulations.
NB. This may be best approached by identifying
which agency (ies) of government oversees the
organisations activities.
Researching the organisations litigation history and
what it suggests in terms of developing future records
retention policies to better protect its interests.
Examining what future roles legal counsel may wish
in the development and operation of the records retention
programme as well as consideration of the geographical
areas that the organisation conducts business.
Documenting the legal research
It is advisable to document results of legal research
because attorneys should be provided with complete
documentation to determine whether the law has been
reasonably and appropriately applied.
It may be necessary in the future, to do a follow-up
exercise, or to provide evidence to regulatory officials or,
in cases of litigation, that the organisation did its best to
comply fully with all legal requirements.
Simple ways of doing this include posting the proper
statutory or regulatory citation of all legal requirements
on record inventory worksheets; making copies of
relevant laws and regulations and filing them as
supporting papers along with inventory worksheets or in
a separate file; or posting a summary of the legal
requirements on the retention schedules themselves or
on separate supporting documentation.

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.


- Ko Annan

Sagicor salutes the Barbados Association of Records and


Information Management (BARIM) in its mission to promote
the importance of using Records and Information Management
to drive the value of businesses in Barbados today and for future
generations to follow.

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