Organisations achieve success in their competitive environment by realising their business goals through proper management of their strategic resources. Effective records management is a key enabler for achieving business success, it ensures that records containing strategic information which should be used as a basis of sound decision-making are readily available.
A records classification is an essential tool which ensures that organisation’s business activities that generate records are classified in groups or fond to facilitate information retrieval. In other words, classification scheme (file plan) determines where a record should be placed in a larger aggregation of records.
There are different ways of classifying records, among others; subject classification and functional classification. The subject classification scheme enables institutions and individuals to classified records according to the subject which stimulated the creation of the records.
This type of a system is usually not recommended by the National Archives as it causes discrepancies and bring about major amendments of file plans, which includes to remove items which are no longer in existence and add those that were overlooked.
The reason being that organisational structures are bound to change through amalgamation, devolution and decentralisation and if an organisation had implemented a subject classification scheme, when changes of organisational structures are achieved it could bring about major impact to the filing system which could result in most files being closed because the reference number might have changed, and when most files are closed and new are opened a large amount of records would be created, resulting in an institution not have adequate space for keeping current records.
On the other hand, functional classification scheme, it requires records to be treated as an entity, in other words, records should be organised according to the functions of organisations (provenance). The best practice, International Standard for Records Management, AS ISO 15489 supports a functional classification scheme and posit that it is a stable scheme grounded on an analysis of organisation’s business activities. This is because when the structures of an organisation change, its functions usually remain much the same over time and therefore the filing of documents may not be affected since reference numbers remains the same.
The National Archives of Namibia has adopted the functional classification scheme as recommended by international standards, the scheme provides a platform for organisations to allocate reference numbers to all correspondences. The most common referencing system used in the Namibian public service is numeric system. It has been adopted across government as a model although they may be exceptions. The system ensures a systematic and consistence filing of records. Without a classification scheme, institutions would be challenged with huge backlog of unorganised records, misfiled records and missing dockets, making it difficult to retrieve information for the discharge justice, provide good services to the clientele, and prove the rights of the citizen as well as claim benefits among others. Institutions are therefore encouraged to develop their classification scheme for improved access to information and service delivery. Assistance on compilation of a classification scheme (file plan) can be acquired at National Archives of Namibia.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-26 09:43:53 6 months ago