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New ISO Management System Standards for Records Facilitate Transparency in Corporate Governance

November 18, 2011
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In the wake of recent failures in corporate governance, two new ISO standards will help organizations to disclose corporate information quickly and effectively. Increased pressure by industry regulators obliges companies to provide such information because irregularities in financial management, ethical dealings, disclosure, and transparency of decisions have become common.

ISO 30300:2011, Information and documentation - Management systems for records - Fundamentals and vocabulary , and ISO 30301:2011, Information and documentation - Management systems for records – Requirements , distil the expertise of experts drawn from 27 countries on five continents.

These standards have been developed to be compatible with and complementary to other management system standards (MSSs) developed by ISO, such as ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management), and ISO/IEC 27001 (information security management).

ISO 30300 is the umbrella standard which includes the fundamentals and vocabulary common to the whole series, while ISO 30301 specifies requirements for an MSR (management system for records). Further standards in the ISO 30300 series are under development.

"The ISO 30300 series offers the methodology for a systematic approach to the creation and management of records, aligned with organizational objectives and strategies,” say Judith Ellis and Carlota Bustelo, leaders of the working groups that developed the standards. “Managing records using an MSS supports cost-effective operational processes, such as storage, information retrieval, information re-use, litigation and due diligence."

The cost of developing an MSR depends on the scope of implementation within each organization and is determined by business needs and an assessment of risk, and can provide both short- and long-term returns on investment, as well as cost avoidance.

Global factors drive organizations, both profit and non-profit, commercial and government, large and small, to reduce their costs and increase their responsiveness to the external environment by implementing an MSR. They include:

  • Intensified commercial competition
  • Technological change leading to e-commerce and e-government
  • Speed of communications and dissemination of information through the Internet
  • Increasing complexity of the regulatory environment – local, national and international
  • Increased expectations of citizens that organizations should operate in an accountable, transparent and socially responsible manner
  • Heightened risk from the external environment including security threats and natural disasters.

    Creation of records is integral to any organization’s activities, processes and systems. An MSR enables business efficiency, accountability, risk management and business continuity and empowers organizations to capitalize on the value of their information resources as business, commercial and knowledge assets. At the same time, an MSR contributes to the preservation of organizational memory, in response to the challenges of the global and digital environment.

    Sectors towards which the new ISO standards are targeted include governments, education, and manufacturing industry (especially pharmaceuticals and mining). Companies involved in social responsibility programmes as well as sectors with a strong need to demonstrate compliance, such as nuclear energy and telecommunications, are particularly expected to benefit from effective implementation.

    Development of these new standards incorporates experience gained in the implementation of ISO15489, Information and documentation - Records management, published some 10 years ago.

    ISO 30300:2011 and ISO30301:2011 were developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation, subcommittee SC 11, Archives/records management, and are available from ISO national member bodies. They may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price is 86 and 106 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the marketing, communication and information department.

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