RECORD KEEPING – A GUIDE

 

Why do we record?

Recording may have several functions:

1. To allow us to access information eg addresses and contact details

2. To allow us to review what we are doing

3. To provide information

4. To provide material for other people eg Minister; Childrens/Adults services of

the local authority, Police, Courts, Safeguarding risk assessment, Complaints

and Discipline procedure

What should be recorded

As little as possible.  A minimum of what needs to be recorded probably depends on

the position which is occupied.  However, it would be good if the information

recorded would allow someone else to do the work in the event of the individual

being unable to do so.  Therefore for a Pastoral visitor, this would probably be a list

of names and addresses and the date of visits.  For a children’s organisation leader,

this would be a register of attendance together with names and addresses anc

contact details.  Each child would have their own record sheet which would include

names, addresses, contact details, any health issues, names and contact details of

those with Parental Responsibility, a note section for particular issues, consents for

activities including photographs and any safeguarding matters. For a safeguarding

representative, it would be the names and addresses of all those who have

disclosures together with the date for renewal. The Safeguarding representative

would also need to record any safeguarding referrals made (at the end of this

handout, there is an example of how such recording may be undertaken).

How long should records be stored

For children’s records, these should be stored for 70 years.  For adults records,

these should be stored for at least the lifetime of the individual plus five years.

Where should records be stored

A straightforward way of storing records is by doing so electronically, either as

electronic documents or scanning paper documents.  However, if this is to be done

by scanning, then all records (including diaried notes etc) should be scanned or

alternatively an electronic record of where such notes can be accessed.  If the latter

option is used, then those who have provided this information must also be

responsible for updating it and an administrator of the record needs to maintain an

updating system (eg an electronic calendar)


Such an electronic record needs to be stored securely and either behind a password

or encrypted.  Access should be carefully limited and the password etc changed

regularly.


If paper records are maintained (either exclusively, as a back up or as part of a

hybrid system), then this must be done with a filing system which can be accessed

by those who are entitled to do so.  A record should be maintained of those who

access the system and what they see (this can be done with an access sheet on the

front of each file and a ring binder with a table maintained in it).  The files should be

maintained as complete documents and there needs to be someone with

responsibility for this.  The files should be kept in a secure locked cabinet the

position of which is known to those who need to know about it.  Documents which

are not kept in this system should be listed together with their whereabouts and

those who actually have those records maintain a responsibility for notification of any

change.  The person who administers the records should have a bring forward

system (eg a diary).  This may refer to attendance records at children’s activities,

recording in respect of sponsored uniformed organisations, etc.


To whom should records be communicated


The Data Protection Act prevents holders of information disclosing that information to

others except in particular circumstances.  This includes disclosure to friends or

relatives of the individual. These circumstances relate to the disclosure of

information for the purposes of prevention of detection of crime and for the public

good.  Any disclosure to statutory agencies or the police should be discussed with

the District Safeguarding Officer.  No person should be allowed to remove original

documents.  However, the person to whom the information relates is always entitled

to see that information and to receive a copy (at a reasonable copying cost).  If that

person requests a copy, you should make sure the document does not contain

information about other people as well.  If the document does contain such

information, you should copy the document, black out the information about others

with a black marker pen, recopy (so that the original cannot be seen through the ink)

and hand this to the person  This process is called redacting.  If you are involved in

this, you should contact a member of the District Safeguarding Group for

assistance/advice.


If you receive a Court requirement to disclose information, contact the District

Safeguarding Officer.


How should records/information be communicated


If records are communicated electronically, this should never name people or include

identifying details, but use initials.  If necessary the name can be sent in another

email.  Documents which are attached to emails should be password protected (with

the password going in a separate email).  Clarification should be sought that the



person requesting the information is entitled to receive it eg a telephone request of

the individual requesting their email address.


If the information is communicated by telephone or fax, then the person’s telephone

number should be requested  - preferably a landline number – and their call should

be returned.  If this does not check the receiver of the information sufficiently, then

another method of checking should be used. Eg if a call is received from a worker in

Methodist Church House, ring the helpline and ask to be put through to that person.

If the information is communicated by fax, include a front sheet with your contact

details and the details of the person to whom the information is being sent with a

request that if this is accessed by someone for whom the information is not intended,

it is shredded and a request that confirmation of receipt by the correct person is

made.


If the information is communicated by post, think how this should be done. Include a

letter stating what information is being sent and requesting a receipt.  It may be

necessary to send the information  in separate packages.  Think about sending the

information by recorded delivery (so that it can be tracked).  In some circumstances,

it may be appropriate to hand deliver information or to arrange for its collection by

the receiver.  Do not send original documents.


How should information be destroyed


By shredding and record that this has happened.  You should also keep a diary of

when material will be shredded.