Records Management - Example filing schemes
There are three main types of filing scheme, the University recommends the function based model for most uses.
|1. A subject based filing scheme|
|2. An organization filing scheme|
|3. A function based filing scheme|
In a subject based system the files are grouped together under common subject areas that allows for associated files to be easily consulted . The system requires an agreed list of the main subject areas that adequately cover the whole work of the school or section.
Subject based classification works well for case files. The approach is not however, recommended for other types of records and the development of a comprehensive subject-based classification scheme is a lengthy and time-consuming process both to create and to maintain.
The main advantage of an organization based filing system is that it keeps together related business issues in a specific file series which, when seen together, can provide a rapid understanding of the work and structure of the University, school or section. The major disadvantage of the system is that the University's organizational structure is clearly not static (evidenced by the recent re-structuring exercise) and is always subject to change due to both internal and external reasons.
Whilst in practice an organization based approach requires the structuring of the filing scheme to reflect the organizational structure of the University, school or section, it also means that the filing scheme itself would have to be revised each and every time there was a re-structuring of the University, school or section. Secondly and inevitably, with an organization based scheme, it becomes more difficult to locate information over time, as those who remember earlier organizational arrangements gradually leave University employment.
It is simply the case that business functions and activities are generally more stable than organizational structures. A functional filing scheme needs to be based on an analysis of the business functions and activities of the University, school or section and not simply on their organizational structure. A major advantage of the system is that it allows for additions and deletions without undermining the scheme itself. eg If a function moves from one part of the University to another, little or no modification is required to the file plan itself.
Similarly, if the name of a particular school or section changes (which within the University of Newcastle upon Tyne is certainly not uncommon), the function would remain as is and the file structure itself would remain unaffected. It is of course important, when using a function based scheme, that all business functions are included and that the titles of files are derived strictly from those functions and not from the organizational units. This involves identifying and documenting each business function, activity and transaction and establishing a functional hierarchy for them. You will have discovered this information when developing your information map.