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Records Management


Records Management is that field of general administrative management which aims at attaining economy and efficiency in the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, storage and the disposal of records during their entire life cycle.

What is a record?

A record is any material that contains information, example: any paper, correspondence, book, microfilm, card, magnetic tape, CD-ROMs, floppy disk, map or any copy of a print out, that has been created or received by an organization or its successors . Records are essential in the conduct of the day-to-day activities of all organisations. They provide evidence and information about these activities.

The five stages in the life cycle of a record


Records management provides a framework to enable these actions to be undertaken. It aims to ensure that:-

  • records serve the purposes for which they were created;
  • records are managed in an effective way;
  • records are housed in such a way that they should be retrieved quickly;
  • the growth of records is controlled at their very inception;
  • the costs of keeping records are at the lowest possible;
  • there be regular disposal of non current records (PRAC, Retention Schedule);
  • records of archival value are retained permanently;
  • records which are needed for legal, administrative and fiscal purposes are retained; and
  • records are kept in a secure place.

In order to reach its goal, that is, to achieve economy and efficiency in the creation, maintenance, use and the disposal of records, a good records management programme is needed. This programme includes, amongst others, a performing Records Centre.

The Records Centre

The Records Centre has been created under Section 25 of the National Archives Act No. 22 of 1999; it is an important component of the National Archives. The Records Centre is administered by a Records Manager. It is equipped with a purposely designed, air-conditioned, and humidity controlled area as well as acid-free boxes and less-expensive steel shelving to keep records.

The Records Centre plays a significant role in the management of public sector records. It supports the entire records management process. The Records Centre houses non-current records which have been appraised by the Public Records Appraisal Committee. It is in fact the intermediate repository to keep non-current records according to established norms of preservation. Once these records are received, they are treated before they are sent to the National Archives for permanent preservation.

Records Centre is a treatment station where the following operations are carried out:
  • receipt of records from creating/depositing agencies;
  • cleaning and disinfecting of the records;
  • listing, working out of checklists and inventories of the records;
  • arranging the records according to the Principle of Provenance and Original Order; and
  • placing the records in acid-free boxes and other containers and shelving them.

Records kept at the Records Centre are not made available for consultation to the public during the time of their stay there.

The main objectives for the establishment of the Records Centre are to:-
  • ensure the effective and efficient management of non-current public records that are generated by Government organisations in the course of their day-to-day activities;
  • ensure that records which are no longer in active use are subjected to effective procedures; for the identification of those which can be destroyed at the end of agreed retention periods, and those which should be transferred to the National Archives for permanent preservation;
  • provide relatively cheaper storage space, facility and security for certain types of records that regularly accumulate in the Government organisations and must be held for long periods of time; and
  • accommodate special collections of records of defunct agencies or of terminated activities.


Last Updated: 14 September, 2017
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