Develop Written Policies and Procedures

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Both large and small offices can benefit from having written records management policies on certain issues. The policies should adopt the Records Retention Schedules, incorporate any Records Disposition Authorizations developed by your office, and include policies for dealing with inactive records, for allowing public access to records and making copies, for responding to emergencies that threaten records, for maintaining confidential records, for keeping records in alternative storage media, and for interacting with the county public records commission, the Tennessee State Library and Archives, and a records center or archive if one is in existence in your county. If you think your office has had or may have a problem with files being lost, stolen, or misplaced, develop a policy and procedures for tracking files as well. Require anyone removing a file from its storage space to fill out a “sign-out” sheet indicating who they are, what record they are taking, and the date of its removal. This procedure should help your office track down misplaced records and cut down on losses. If you have an active records commission in your county, it may have already used its authority to develop policies on some of these issues. In that case, you could simply incorporate the commission’s policies into your office procedures.