HM Treasury’s Records Management Policy
HM Treasury is legally required to create and manage records, which provide a comprehensive, reliable, and authentic audit trail of the department’s decision-making process and activities. This policy sets out the framework for the management of those records.
Treasury Senior Management recognises the importance of fit for purpose records management.
This policy is reviewed monthly to ensure it continues to meet existing legislation, evolving government and business requirements, and accepted best practice.
This policy applies to all personnel carrying out work on behalf of the Treasury. This includes permanent and temporary staff, secondees, consultants, contractors and subcontractors.
Information and records created by all the above remain the property of HM Treasury under the terms of Parliamentary or Crown copyright. Re-use of Government information is permitted under certain conditions.
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The department is also actively committed to complying with the Coalition government’s transparency agenda wherever possible.
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The aim of the policy is to ensure that all parties are aware of their personal obligations regarding the efficient, cost effective and legally compliant creation and management of information and records.
This policy relates to information created and held in all formats and media including, but not limited to:
- Documents, presentations and spreadsheets received and stored electronically
- Paper based files
- Social media tools, wikis and blogs
- Brochures and reports
- E-TWEB-pages on both the intranet and the public web site
- Evidence supplied by third parties
- Mobile tools: e.g. Blackberries
- Audio and video recordings
- Microfiche and microfilm
- Maps and plans
It is a legislative requirement - the key pieces of legislation are:
Public Records Act 1958 and 1967
The Treasury is a public records body as defined by the Public Records Act 1958. This act sets out how public records should be managed to ensure records of historical importance are identified for permanent preservation at The National Archives (TNA). At the Treasury this review and transfer occurs when the record is thirty years after the date of closure of the file or folder. This is in line with the requirements of the Public Records Act 1967.
Data Protection Act 1998
The Treasury handles personal data in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. The department has a charter which sets out the standards individuals can expect from the Treasury.
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
The Treasury works to standards laid down in the Lord Chancellor's Code of Practice on the Management of Records issued under Section 46 of the FOIA as well as the Codes of Practice issued under Section 45 of the Act relating to the handling of access requests.
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)
To provide an audit trail of evidence
The Treasury is accountable to the Public via Parliament. Regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing accountability include the Parliamentary Ombudsman, The National Audit Office and the Treasury Select Committee.
To build the corporate memory
In order to deliver evidence based policy making and make best use of available resources, it is vital that Treasury officials have timely access to the records created by their predecessors.
The information created during delivery of the Treasury objectives broadly falls into one of three functions:
- securing an economy that is growing sustainably and reforming the regulatory framework for the financial sector to avoid future crises (i.e. the policy function): The records created in delivering these functions are retained for the corporate memory and because they are deemed to be of historical importance;
- reducing the structural deficit in a fair and responsible way (i.e. the government expenditure function): The records created in delivering these functions are retained for the corporate memory and because they are deemed to be of historical importance; and
- corporate governance functions: These records are managed in accordance with legal and business requirements. They are not usually transferred to The National Archives.
The following categories of information (drafts and final versions) must be captured into the appropriate corporate repository and declared/managed as a record:
- information created and received in decision making by the Treasury: a documented audit trail is required for all decisions made by the HM Treasury;
- information created and received during the development and revision of government policy in the UK and internationally, e.g. briefings and submissions and Ministers’ responses to them, press notices, agendas and minutes of meetings, research, consultations with stakeholders and impact assessments;
- information created and received during the process of forecasting, e.g. research, advice, agendas and minutes of meetings, briefings and press information;
- information relating to the effective control and allocation of public spending;
- information created and received to show the direction, key stages and outcomes of projects, e.g. project initiation documents, business cases, scope notes, risk registers, authorisations for transactions, meeting minutes, reports, cost benefit analysis and post-project reviews;
- information created and received during the course of HM Treasury sponsored reviews or inquiries, e.g. Northern Rock, Lyons Review, Stern Review;
- information created and received to manage the Treasury and government resources, e.g. Board and Committee discussion papers and minutes, risk management, performance measurements, internal audit records, consultations and feedback;
- information created and received in accounting processes; and
- information created in response to queries from stakeholders, e.g. responses to PQs and research and responses to FOI enquiries.
Records for drafts and reports
- The final report;
- important stages in its drafting that are significant to decisions made; and
- supporting documentation – Information relating to, sent in support of, or as evidence that targets have been met.
Private Office records
The Treasury Private Offices retain their own records in accordance with Model 1 of the Cabinet Office’s Guidance on the Management of Private Office Papers. These records are transferred to the Corporate Information and Records Management Unit at regular intervals.
The Treasury does not create a significant number of case files. Where these records do exist they are destroyed 7 yearsafter they become inactive.
The Treasury works to standards and guidelines set out by the The National Archives and the Cabinet Office.
The Treasury had a purely paper based records management system until 1997. Searches can only be conducted on file titles not on the contents.
Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS)
The Treasury has had an EDRMS since 2005. It is the corporate repository for the majority of information created and received by Treasury officials in the course of their duties; this includes emails that must be retained for business or historical purposes. Items protectively marked, as TOP SECRET or SECRET must be retained on a paper file.
It is not technically feasible to store linked spreadsheets and databases in the EDRMS. These are stored on team-shared drives. There should be a pointer from the EDRMS to these repositories. When these datasets become inactive they must be transferred to the Corporate Information and Records Management Unit.
The Treasury manages its information and records in accordance with the Government’s Security Policy Framework. The Treasury also recognises and incorporates the best practice identified in the Government’s Knowledge Council’s strategy Information Matters: building our capability in knowledge and information management.
It is also actively contributing towards the Coalition government transparency agenda through the publication – whenever possible – of its datasets.
The storage capacity of personal mailboxes is limited to 1GB and 2GB for shared mailboxes. The storage capacity of personal drives is limited to 2GB.
During their time in post, it is the sender’s responsibility to ensure that Emails containing information that must be kept for the record are saved into the appropriate corporate repository.
Emails from third parties are to be captured into the appropriate corporate repository by the lead policy recipient. This is to ensure context and a comprehensive audit trial are maintained.
All personal mailboxes and drives provided to all personnel carrying out work on behalf of HM Treasury are deleted ten working days after the departure of the individuals concerned from the employment of the department.
Everyone who works for the Treasury, directly or indirectly, has a role to play in ensuring the department has fit for purpose records management.
The Treasury Board has:
- overall responsibility for ensuring the quality of the Treasury’s records keeping meets business needs and statutory requirements.
The departmental records officer is responsible for:
- developing and managing an organisation wide records management programme that meets the requirements of the Public Records Act;
- providing advice on records management issues and promoting best information/records management practice;
- ensuring the records management policy complies with the Government’s Security Policy Framework; and
ensuring that the department complies with the Coalition government’s transparency agenda whenever practicable.
Team leaders are responsible for:
- ensuring all staff, consultants, contractors and subcontractors appointed to their team to deliver activities on behalf of the Treasury are aware that the information they create and receive during that period belongs to HM Treasury;
- responsible for ensuring the information created and received by team members is managed, captured and shared in accordance with departmental policy and procedures; and
- appointing team folder controllers and ensuring they have sufficient time and support to undertake their responsibilities.
Team folder controllers are responsible for:
- managing and maintaining team file plans in accordance with departmental procedures;
- creating and maintaining folders and classes;
- maintaining security settings on classes, folders and on individual documents;
- initialising the business review of documents within their teams to determine which items should be declared as a record;
- providing advice and promoting departmental records management policy; and
- briefing new starters on the use of the EDRMS.
Treasury officials are responsible for:
- ensuring items they create are saved into the appropriate corporate repository;
- ensuring emails they receive as a policy lead from external parties are saved into the appropriate corporate repository;
- ensuring items they create are assigned the appropriate protective marking in accordance with the Government’s Security Policy Framework. Reviewing and revising the protective marking as appropriate;
- determining access controls and reviewing and revising these controls as appropriate;
- determining which items should be declared as records in accordance with departmental policy; and
- deleting items that no longer have any corporate or historical value.
The Corporate Information and Records Management Unit are responsible for:
- creating, revising and promoting departmental information and records management polices and procedures;
- providing advice on best practice; and
- conducting the statutory review of records to determine which are of continued corporate and historical value and should be transferred to TNA.
Directorate Knowledge Managers are responsible for:
- supporting promotion of the record management policy and procedures; and
- monitoring teams within their directorates for compliance with departmental policy and procedures.
Treasury Records Reviewers conduct an appraisal of thirty-year-old records to determine which are of historical value. This review is conducted in accordance with TNA’s generic Selection and Disposition Strategy and the more specific TNA Operational Selection Policies.
TNA representatives review and validate the Treasury’s appraisal decisions. Where both parties agree that a record has no historical value it is destroyed in accordance with the Government’s Security Policy Framework. A record of the review decision is kept.
The Treasury has retention and disposal schedules in place for its corporate governance functions. The retention policies for its policy development and government expenditure functions are currently under review, but it is our aim to have them agreed and revised by the end of 2011.
The Treasury has a naming convention for documents and folders which Treasury personnel are required to adopt.
Before new joiners are granted access to the Treasury EDRMS they must have a minimum of CTC security clearance. New joiners are also required to attend a training course on using the system in accordance with the departmental records management policy and procedures.
By searching the National Archives catalogue
Most Treasury records over thirty years old are held at The National Archives in Kew. It is possible to search TNA’s online catalogue by keyword, date range, places, people, and the department’s file series code. The Treasury’s code is T.
By placing a Freedom of Information request
Requests for records/information less than thirty years old will be handled in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Advice on requesting information can be found on the Treasury website Placing a FOI Request to HM Treasury
By placing a Subject Access request
Please follow the guidance for placing an FOI request.
Access to the departmental archive
For security reasons, and because of the level of demand, it isn’t possible for the Treasury to host visits from researchers, academics and historians to the departmental archive.
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