Become a WBN Professional

10. WBN Files Management Policy

Summary

This Policy establishes standards for document management across all of Work Better Now functions and operations, and for ensuring documents are created, maintained, and disposed of appropriately, taking full account of operational needs.

Scope

This policy applies to all staff of Work Better Now and any individual creating or handling documents on Work Better Now’s behalf.

The policy applies to all documents held in any format, including (but not limited to):

  • Letters (digital and hard copy)

  • Emails

  • Policies and guidance

  • Meeting papers and minutes

  • Reports

  • Contracts

  • Presentations

  • Official communications

  • Photographs

  • Audio recordings (other than voicemail messages)

    Voicemail, text, or instant messages do not constitute documents for the purposes of this policy, unless recorded or retained for specified purposes in accordance with legal requirements.

1. Introduction

Documents are a vital part in the effective functioning of any organization. We need documents on a short-term basis to help us work consistently and productively and to keep track of progress in projects and activities. Creating standards for document management and ensuring that documents are created, managed, and disposed of appropriately is a key part of good information management that will improve efficiency and mitigate legal and compliance risks (e.g., requirements relating to data protection).

2. Document lifecycle

All documents created have a “lifecycle” from creation through to disposition, as shown below:

Creation Distribution Use Maintenance Disposition

It is important to understand this cycle and the various stages when creating and handling documents to ensure that they are managed effectively.

2.1 Creation

Documents that will represent formal, compliant, and trusted communications or records must be well-designed from the point of creation, using relevant naming conventions and document templates when necessary. All staff must act responsibly, lawfully, and professionally when creating documents relating to WBN’s activities and/or on WBN systems.

2.2 Distribution

When documents are transmitted or otherwise made available to those who need them and, upon receipt, are used in the conduct of the WBN’s operations.

2.3 Use

Use takes place after a document has been distributed internally, and can generate business decisions, further actions, or serve other purposes.

2.4 Maintenance

While a document is in active use, it is vital that the content is maintained, accurate and available to those who always require it.

2.5 Disposition

The practice of handling information that is accessed less frequently or has reached its assigned retention periods. This could mean destruction of the document(s) or transfer to an archive until the assigned retention period is reached.

3. Document management practices

The below list sets out practices that must be adhered to when creating and handling documents on behalf of Work Better Now:

  • Documents must be clearly named (with date and version number if relevant) and stored in a structured manner (see section 8)

  • Duplicate copies of documents must not be created unnecessarily

  • Wherever possible, documents must be shared from their source location rather

    than attaching documents to emails

  • Key documents (that others may require access to) must be stored in an appropriate

    shared file store: SharePoint or OneDrive only, i.e., not personal file stores (including

    desktop or device file stores)

  • Digital copies of document should never be emailed to a personal email account or

    stored on a personal cloud-based storage account

  • Once a document is finalized, previous versions and drafts of documents should only

    be retained where entirely necessary

  • Final copies of formal documents (such as policies or minutes) must be saved and

    stored in the relevant SharePoint area.

  • Regular audits (at least annual) of digital and hard copy information must be

    conducted to ensure that information is not retained longer than it is required, and to make sure it maintains its relevance.

4. Naming conventions and folder structures

A naming convention is a collection of consistent rules followed in naming documents, which should allow users to work effectively, ensure that files can be easily accessed by all who require access and to ensure that individuals are referring to and working on the correct document.

The use of consistent naming conventions will improve efficiency by allowing staff to quickly identify the nature of the information contained within a document when searching through an archive or file store.

Folder structures and names are also important in allowing the efficient retrieval of documents. The below principles must be followed when creating new folder structures:

  • Folders must be clearly named by a relevant and meaningful subject area:
Folders must be clearly named by a relevant and meaningful subject area
  • The names of individuals should only be used when creating a case file, i.e., not creating a personal folder in a shared file store

 

The names of individuals should only be used when creating a case file, i.e., not creating a personal folder in a shared file store
  • Top level folders must be kept to a minimum

  • Ideally, file structures should not exceed six levels of subfolders

Ideally, file structures should not exceed six levels of subfolders
  • Appropriate access levels must be assigned depending on necessity to access the documents contained within the folder

Below is a good example for naming conventions:

examples for naming conventions

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