RMS Glossary: Pro-Rec

Property and Evidence – Records Destruction

Archive Records – Business Filing Systems
Business Process Consulting – Case File Management
Chain of Custody – Digital Records Management
Document Access – Document Workflow
Electronic Chain of Custody – Evidence Software
Federal Recordkeeping – Information Lifecycle Management
Law Enforcement Management – Police Records Software
Property and Evidence – Records Destruction
Records Information Management – Retention Software
RMS Project – Workflow

Property and Evidence
Physical items and documents (paper or electronic) collected by law enforcement authorities in the course of a criminal investigation. After being collected and tagged, property and evidence is typically stored in a property room, evidence locker or other secure facility. The chain of custody for evidence must be strictly controlled to assure that crucial items are not lost, mishandled or tainted and that all access to them is logged. Evidence software is often used to catalog, store, access, track, and ultimately dispose of (destroy, return to owner or auction) evidence and maintain an audit trail of the chain of custody. Related terms include police property and evidence, property and evidence management, and property and evidence room.

Public Record Access
Management of the availability of government record information available to citizens whether through online viewing (e.g. certain criminal case records, real estate ownership and transfer information, etc.) or walk-in receipt (e.g. birth certificates). Records management systems enable city and county clerks and registrarshealth and human services professionals and other government records management professionals to quickly locate and provide the public access to the records in any format. Related terms include public access record and public record keeping.

Public Records Software
A computer application designed to manage non-classified and de-classified documents and information collected and produced by federal, state, county or local government agencies. Many health and human services agencies, police departments, and city and county clerks and registrars have adopted unified records management systems to meet their public records management needs, managing both paper and electronic records through their complete lifecycle while making public records easily searchable and accessible.

Record Retention Policy
Certain types of files and documents must be maintained for a specified period of time based on regulatory requirements, such as employee injury reports and safety records (OSHA), medical records (HIPAA), financial records (IRS, Sarbanes-Oxley), and clinical test data (FDA). The lifecycle of content and communications not covered by regulation is controlled by record retention policies, which specify how long such records must be stored and accessible and when they may or must be destroyed or discarded. Businesses and government agencies typically use a records retention policy to cover both regulated and non-regulated documents and communications such as memos, meeting notes, product designs, marketing collateral and vendor agreements.

Record Retention Schedule
A calendar or date-based form specifying the requirements for storing and maintaining specific files and documents or types of information. A records retention schedule shows how long each record or type of record must be maintained within a business or government agency, based on the organization’s record retention policy (see above) or regulatory requirements. A records management system can automatically manage the lifecycle of records to help ensure that individual records are stored and are accessible for the period as required, and archived, destroyed or other disposed of at the proper time. See also Archive Records and Retention Software.

Records Access
The ability to quickly and easily find and retrieve files, documents and other items, which is facilitated by records management systems. Rapid records retrieval is a key requirement for both short lived (e.g. purchase orders, invoices) and long lived (e.g. criminal evidence, property ownership) records.

Records Compliance
Activity and practices of a business entity or government agency to store, retain and eventually archive or destroy specific types of paper documents, electronic files and physical items in accordance with local, state and federal statutes and requirements. Examples include HIPAA for medical records, OSHA regulations for worker safety records and reports, DoD 5015.02 for records pertaining to Department of Defense agencies, Sarbanes-Oxley for financial records in publicly-held corporations, and IRS regulations for personal, business and non-profit financial records. Records management systems provide the tools organizations can use around their practices and policies to meet regulatory compliance for documents and other records throughout their lifecycle, and provide an audit trail of records disposition.

Records Destruction
Elimination through physical obliteration (e.g. through shredding or burning) of documents, files and physical items no longer required to be stored or archived based on their record retention schedule (see above). Depending on the type, records may be destroyed as required by law (e.g. juvenile justice records) or corporate/agency policy, or simply to save space by destroying records no longer needing to be retained. Records management software manages the complete lifecycle of records, ensuring that obsolete records are destroyed in a timely manner and this process has been audited. See also Document Destruction and Records Retention.