Information Quality in the Workplace

Having a high quality of information means that businesses are maintaining reliable, accurate and secure documents. This guide from DeltaNet explores how to achieve high information quality, and why this is so important for companies in the long-term.

Having good quality of information means that you keep records to a high standard so that they are accurate, secure, and reliable. Good record management can only be achieved by making sure your records are up to scratch in the first place if you’re managing badly kept documents, it takes away the whole point of looking after them in the first place.

Every organisation needs its information to be reliable in order to plan, allocate and prioritise resources and deliver their services effectively. As an employee, you have a responsibility to ensure that the quality of records you create will support this.

The importance of good documentation shouldn’t be underestimated.

Information Quality Criteria

Accurate: Records must be accurate, meaning that all the details are correct and exact. To ensure that the information in a record is accurate, it should be captured as soon as possible after the event has taken place.

Valid: Information in records must be valid. This means that it has a sound basis working alongside logic and fact. It also means that where national rules apply they need to be followed. For example, the government requirements require that financial records need to contain certain information in order to be classed as valid for businesses in the public sector both. Pushing for validity also means that the information you are producing is consistent over time too.

Reliable: Information in records should always be collected in the same way to ensure reliability. This means that anyone using the records can be confident that variations are due to real changes, rather than differences caused by a changing collection method.

Timely: Information in records must be used in a timely manner, this doesn’t mean rushing, but you can’t be slow when it comes to record management. This is because they can quickly become out-of-date, something that means they lose their value.

Relevant: Information in records should be relevant to its purpose. If the requirements for the records change, then you need to review the information to make sure that it meets the new requirements, maintaining its relevance as a result.

Complete: This sounds simple, but an unfinished document is pretty useless. There tend to be requirements for records that need to be met so that they achieve everything they’re supposed to. By including everything needed, you are meeting these requirements.

Information Security at Work

Having a file plan is the perfect way to keep control of your records to increase efficiency and organisation of the business information. A file plan is a structure for the organisation to control their documents, whether that’s paper-based or electronic records. File plans should be based on the activities and functions of the company rather than organisational structures as these are more likely to change. A good file plan in place means that:

  • It’s easier and quicker to find records
  • Information sharing is improved
  • Duplication is reduced
  • Retention and disposal are more manageable
  • Records are accessible when someone leaves

An Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS) is a computer-based system that holds file plans and guidance on where and how to file digital records. Many other tools may be provided, such as search and retrieve systems, version control systems, e-discovery tools, tools to assist with records requests and tools to manage the record 4-stage lifecycle.

Records need to be stored safely, securely and in good conditions. Avoiding shared storage areas is a great way of doing this, but if filing cabinets are used, then make sure they are kept locked. Basic things like making sure records are dry, kept out of extreme temperature conditions, and out of reach of unwanted visitors make all the difference too.

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