Basics of Records Management

1. Difference between documents and records

  • Documents are created and received by a public office or individual in pursuance of legal obligation(s) or in the transaction of business and subsequently kept and managed by that  office or individual as evidence
  • Documents must be filed to become records

2. What is filing?

Filing is a process by which documents of the same business are assembled together chronologically to form a file. Upon the completion of a business transaction, all types of relevant documents (textual or non-textual, main document and attachment) should be arranged by time order and assembled together to form a file/folder. 

3. What is records management?

Records management is the operation process that continues throughout the cycle of administration of records. Records management activities include creation, use, storage and disposal of records. It aims to maintain a robust record keeping system and ensure the integrity, authenticity and usability of records/information.

4. Importance of records management

Records are invaluable assets of a public office. Good records management can enable public offices to:

5. Good practices in records management

Public offices should adopt different management approaches in different stages:

6. Two types of records

Two types of records that are commonly created in public offices: 

7. Records management tools

8. Development of functional records retention schedule

Each public office shall develop a retention schedule for its functional records according to the principle of provenance, organizational structure or business nature

9. Format of retention schedule

10. Records preservation

To prevent records from unauthorized access and protect them from floods, insect attacks, mold, missing and other damages, pubic offices should ensure that their records are properly preserved in an appropriate environment:

11. Records disposal

When a record is determined to be of no utilization or permanent value, the public office shall proceed with the destruction of the records on their expiry in accordance with the retention schedule. Records appraised with historical value shall be transferred for permanent preservation in the Archives of Macao. According to Paragraph 1 under Article 20 of Decree-Law no. 73/89/M, records are forbidden to be destroyed before the publication of their retention schedule.