A policy and procedure structure is an essential part of making good policies and procedures. This is particularly important in large organizations with many departments having diverse needs, in order to ensure that the policies work together as seamlessly as possible. High level policy tools include:
-- a high-level Information Management and Records Management Policy Manual, which is the foundation for all other IMC policies and procedures created or adopted throughout the organization;
-- organizational retention rules, which provide retention periods for different categories of records in the organization;
-- an electronic records policy, which can be useful for bringing specific focus to electronic records issues, and
-- a Legal Hold policy, for informing affected individuals and departments when normal IMC practices must be suspended due to anticipated or commenced investigations, audits, or litigation.
Clear and unambiguous directives are important to make sure that employees understand organizational IMC objectives, and to limit interpretation, which helps to provide greater certainty about the outcome of a dispute. Clarity is important, because courts typically interpret ambiguities in favor of employees, rather than the employer who drafted the language of a policy in dispute.
The second edition of Information Nation, available from John W. Wiley & Sons, lists other characteristics of good policies and procedures. For more information, see http://www.informationnationbook.com/.
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