Records Management - Conformance Testing

By Roger Poole posted 04-24-2012 16:56


***The views expressed in this blog are my personal views and not the views/thoughts of my employer*** Records Management Conformance Testing Programmes. Last week I mentioned Conformance Testing Programmes in my blog regarding the advantages of a good Records Management Programme. I would like to expand on what I think a good Conformance Testing could look like or, at least, some of the components of such a programme. In the context of Records Management why do we need conformance testing? The benefits of conformance testing are:-

1/ enables you to validate your Records Management

2/ provides an insight as to where you may need to focus additional resource

3/ may indicate where some further RM training is required

4/ gives you the opportunity of providing some "hard facts" to demonstrate the success of your Records Management programme

So, hopefully having established conformance testing Is a good idea how should we go about this? The is no right or wrong way - my suggestion is start small and progress to a more intrusive/comprehensive plan. Select some "easy" quick wins. The following are some tests you could consider:-

1/ review the results of requests to retrieve boxes of physical records from your off-site storage vendor. E.g. Does the vendor find all of the boxes you request, and within the SLA timescales?

2/ speak to the users who have retrieved the boxes and ask them to confirm that they found the Records they expected to find in the boxes retrieved

3/ repeat the above for IT tapes (back up etc.) held off-site

4/ Obtain a list of critical systems from IT (IT Risk?) select a small number at random

5/ Select a small number of systems and ask the relevant user departments to retrieve some records which were created relatively recently - and should still be contained within the systems

6/ From the same systems ask to retrieve records created 2 or more years ago (you can select longer periods of time)

As stated, the above is just some suggestions. It is key that you develop a collaborative relationship with the business and IT. If you do not do this it will be very difficult to achieve completion of the tests. Above all, tead carefully, if any issues arise take care to work with the business or IT to work through the problems. If gaps are found work on the resolution and re-test. remember, no one is to blame - the aim is to fix any issues. I suggest a quarterly programme, changing records types/systems in order not to take up the time of the same people each quarter. Good luck and enjoy!

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