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1.5.3 Storage of Records

AMENDMENT

This chapter significantly updated in March 2017 to acknowledge the requirements of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to retain files whilst the Inquiry is sitting or unless otherwise advised by it. (See Section 2, Current Position Adults Health and Social Care and Children's).


Contents

  1. Background and Purpose
  2. Current Position Adults Health and Social Care and Children's
  3. Current Position - Council
  4. Archive Storage Process

    Appendix 1

    Appendix 2

    Appendix 3


1. Background and Purpose

1.1 Following the Office Accommodation Strategy Report approved by Members in June 2007 this report outlines the current position in relation to archive and on site storage of paper records in Adults Health and Social Care and Children's Services. (including Education).
1.2 It includes details of a Council contract with an external provider for storage of seldom accessed records held by other Departments.
1.3 The Council has a responsibility to retain copies of records until the retention date outlined in the Council’s Retention Schedule has been reached, these paper records are to be held in offsite archive storage maintained by the Council’s preferred provider. The schedule can be viewed on the source using the following link: The Source
1.4 Finally, it looks at the process for staff wishing to seek access to copies of paper held by the Department in Archive Storage.


2. Current Position Adults Health and Social Care and Children's

Important Note: The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse requires all institutions to retain their records relating to the care of children for the duration of the Inquiry under Section 21 of the Inquiries Act 2005. There is therefore an obligation to preserve records for the Inquiry for as long as is necessary.

(See Letter to Chief Executive of Local Authorities).


2.1

All Business Units in Adults Health and Social Care and Children's Social Care Services (and children’s Education) may occasionally need to hold some paper records that are required on a day-to-day basis; these will be located either by the Information and Records Team based at Sumner House Ground Floor in secure storage facilities, or very occasionally, within their offices in lockable cabinets or rooms. This enables day to day activity on cases to be undertaken. Some files may also be held by Legal Services, the Council’s Insurance Team or the Complaints team in order that these teams can undertaken activities on behalf of Children’s or Adults Services teams.

In Children's Social Care Services there has been a move to holding service user records in electronic format. In January 2007 there was a phased programme to introduce the Electronic Social Care Record. Case records made from the period January to July 2007 when the phased package was introduced are held in electronic format, previous records remain stored in paper format in archive storage with the Council’s preferred provider for this activity. Adults Social Care followed the same process and since August 2012 they now also hold electronic records on service users, they also have paper records held in archive storage with the Council’s preferred provider.
2.2

The items in offsite archive store facilities will fall under the following headings: -

  • Previous volumes on current service users;
  • Records of former service users;
  • Records on service user where cases have recently been closed;
  • Files on former employees;
  • Records from previous financial years;
  • Adoption records;
  • Carers records;
  • Records from Specific investigations and enquiries.
2.3 Records currently held in the archives cover the following broad activity categories:
Children's Services (Looked After Children, Safeguarding, Adoption, Carers etc.)
Adult Services
Finance
HR
Other Services - Complaints, Secretariat
2.4 There are no on site storage facilities in Children’s Services premises for archive records. All records should be returned using the archive procedure outlined below in section 4. There are small store areas within each building that can be used for very short term storage of records to enable day to day work with the records to be undertaken.


3. Current Position - Council

3.1 Internal

As within Adults Health & Social Care and Children's Services, all Business Units in other Departments hold their current / day-to-day paper records within their office location. There are some on site archive facilities in use in other Departments that are monitored by the Departmental Records Manager, (e.g. Children's Education, Environment & Housing and Legal Services all have departmental store facilities).

3.2 External

In November 2006 a contract was set up with Archival Records Management (ARM), an external provider based within Southwark for storage of archive records. A further contract was agreed to run for a period of 5 years from 1st September 2011. Details of this contract are available from the SOURCE, Link to page on the Source with all the relevant information.


4. Archive Storage Process

4.1 Making a request for access to paper records held in archive storage

All requests for Children’s Services paper records from the Social Work teams based at Sumner House, Talfourd Place/ Curlew House and Sunshine House will be handled by the Information & Records team members based in the Ground Floor room in Sumner House. This service began in September 2012.

Staff members wishing to make a request for files or to just to make a check on whether a record is held can do so contacting a member of the Admin Team in their workplace or by making contact direct to the members of the Information & Records team by completing the Archive Request Form. (Sample attached in Appendix 2.). Admin team members in Children’s Social Care services can make a check using the following link: \\lbsmgh-fps02\SocServ_Team_Folders - to follow.

Send your completed request to the Information Records Team by Email to csadaccessinfo; include box number and bar code number where checks have already been undertaken.

In circumstances where a file is required urgently, please contact the members of the Information & Records Team - On ext 53624 or ext 53770 Please note that the Form will still have to be completed.

A response to your request will be given within one working day via email request.

Where records are held the worker requesting access will be advised of the delivery arrangement for the boxes. The boxes will remain in secure storage in the Ground Floor room at Sumner House. Appointments can be made to view documents held between 9am and 4.30pm Monday - Friday. Please contact ext 53624 or 53770 to book an appointment. The worker will have 10 working days in which to have visited the Information and Records team office to read the records held. After 10 working days the boxes will be returned to archive storage.

Where copies of any items held on the files are required, let the archive members of the Information & Records team know by marking the records with a post it note. An electronic copy will be produced and uploaded on to Care First. The worker will be advised when this activity has been completed.

4.2 Children’s Education Services records

Staff in the education team hold details of the records in archive storage and can make requests for access to boxes of records by sending a copy of the completed request form to csadaccesinfo for the attention of the Information and Records team. Sample request form in appendix 2. Records where held will be returned to the workplace where the team are based.

4.3 Adults Services records

Staff in the Adults Services teams hold details of the records in archive storage and can make requests for access to boxes of records by sending a copy of the completed request form to csadaccesinfo for the attention of the Information and Records team. Sample request form in Appendix 2. Records where held will be returned to the workplace where the team are based.

4.4 Sending new boxes to archive storage

There may be occasions where copies of paper records are held that have not previously bee sent for archive storage. The procedure outlined in Appendix 3 should be followed. Advice on this activity can be obtained by contacting members of the Information & records team by email at csadaccessinfo.

4.5 Returning boxes to offsite archive storage

Please refer to the process outlined in Appendix 3 or contact members of the Information & records team via email using the csadaccessinfo email link.


Appendix 1

Storage costs ARM contract

Link to page on the Source with all the relevant information.


Appendix 2

Click here to view Request For Access - Archive Files Form.


Appendix 3

RETURNS

  1. The admin team member in each workplace will identify the number of boxes ready to be returned for archive storage;
  2. A spreadsheet list containing the following details must be submitted to the csadaccessinfo email inbox;
    1. Box number;
    2. Bar code number;
    3. Security tag numbers;
    4. If the box contains any alteration to the box contents a revised contents list must be provided.
  3. The information and records team will make arrangements for ARM (the current preferred provider) to be advised that boxes need to be collected. Once a date a time for collection has been confirmed by ARM the admin team member will be informed. PLEASE NOTE that all boxes must be available for collection on the ground floor in the building.

STORAGE FOR NEW FILES

A Records Template has been provided to each service area for preparation of storing new files. To complete the template, fill in the details of outlined below:

  1. Reference Type/Number: e.g. CF: 0000000;
  2. Names: Last Names - all related family names and First Name(s);
  3. D.O.B: Use date code 00/00/0000;
  4. Address: Latest Southwark address and current address if not in Southwark;
  5. Number of Files - Total number of files relating to the family placed in the box;
  6. Box Number - Number boxes for your reference. Once you identify the quantity of new boxes, the Records Team will provide the archive box number;
  7. Retention Date - Use the Retention of Records Schedule to determine the correct retention period to the relevant files. E.g. Child Protection files - 35 years from date of birth of the last child born;
  8. Bar code number and security tag numbers.

Send the completed form to csadaccessinfo inbox

Health and Safety: Please avoid over packing of files into boxes and ensure that boxes are in reasonable condition for transportation.

  1. The information and records team will arrange for ARM to collect the box or boxes from your workplace. You will be advised of the date and time;
  2. Boxes will be collected from the ground floor of your premises;
  3. ARM will provide documentation confirming details of the boxes to be collected and you will need to sign to confirm that they have been taken.

For any further advice on preparing new boxes for archive storage contact the Information & Records team via using the csdaccessinfo email link.

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