Ensuring Records are Reliable
Keeping documents as evidence of events or for future reference is useless unless the documents are a reliable representation of what actually happened. In terms of transparency, it would greatly damage the University's accountability and reputation in the eyes of its funding bodies and the public if it were discovered that a document trail had been tampered with. It is unsurprising then that under the State Records Act, the University is forbidden from altering or interfering with records once they've been created and captured - and is only allowed to destroy records in accordance with specific disposal rules and schedules.
This means that if you discover a problem with a document which you have already "finalised" and captured as a University record, you should never simply change or destroy it. Instead, you should create a new document related to the previous document, and if appropriate, add a note explaining why the old version should not be used, and store these together with the old (incorrect) version on your file. In TRIM, you can use revisions to keep track of changes and finalise the last revision.
As a general guide, the following techniques will help you ensure reliability of your records:
- Use revisions to trace the development of a document.
- Save final, signed documents as "Finalised" in TRIM or as PDF so that they cannot be edited - and so that it is clear later on which version was ultimately distributed.
- Once a document has been finalised in TRIM it cannot be changed. By routinely applying such techniques, you will help ensure that any record you create or receive is (and remains) reliable evidence of University activity.