Principle of Transparency

    An organization shall document its policies, processes and activities, including its information governance program, in a manner that is available to and understood by staff and appropriate interested parties.

    It delivers:

    • Traceable and verifiable information in support of the organization’s activities;
    •  Complete and consistent policies and processes.

    Many parties have a legitimate interest in understanding the processes that govern the management of a recordkeeping program and the activities undertaken within it. In addition to the organization itself and its personnel, those parties include but are not limited to government authorities, auditors and investigators, litigants, and, for some organizations, the general public.

    It is in the best interest of every organization, and of society in general, that all parties clearly understand:

    • The organization conducts its activities in a lawful and appropriate manner.
    • The recordkeeping system accurately and completely records the activities of the organization.
    • The recordkeeping system is itself structured in a lawful and appropriate manner.
    • Activities conducted to implement the recordkeeping program are conducted in a lawful and appropriate manner.

    The clearest and most durable evidence of these things are records. In the case of a recordkeeping program, those records include recordkeeping policies and procedures and transactional records of the activities undertaken during the course of the recordkeeping program. To ensure that interested parties will have confidence in them, records documenting the recordkeeping program must themselves adhere to the fundamentals of records management. They should:

    • Document the principles and processes that govern the program
    • Accurately and completely record the activities undertaken to implement the program
    • Be written or recorded in a manner that clearly sets forth the information recorded
    • Be readily available to legitimately interested parties

    The information recorded in these records and the extent to which they are available to interested parties will vary depending upon the circumstances of the organization.

    An organization that is subject to open records laws may need to make all records available to any person upon request. Other organizations may have a legitimate need to protect confidential or proprietary information, and they may therefore reasonably put in place procedures designed to control access to information. Complex and highly regulated recordkeeping systems may require extensive records documenting them. Simple systems may require only a few. In each case, however, the rationales and outcomes should be clear to legitimately interested parties.

    Every organization must therefore create and manage the records documenting its recordkeeping program to ensure that the structure, processes, and activities of the program are apparent and understandable to legitimately interested parties and that the records documenting the program and its activities are reasonably available to them.


    © 2017, ARMA International