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June 2017: The RM relationship between public authorities and commissioned services in the third sector

Posted By IRMS, 28 September 2017
Updated: 28 September 2017

The event started at 9.30am with a welcome address by the Chair, Elizabeth Barber, with a word of appreciation to the host Westminster Archives.

Neil Reeves gave an overview of the work of the Exec since the last meeting and he gave a demonstration of the new IRMS website. Geoff Gray from Lewisham Homes asked where the data on the website was being held – Neil noted that it was the USA, but the appropriate checks have been made to ensure that the data is safe and secure. This was followed by presentations from the various speakers, who discussed broad range of issues relating to the theme of the day.


10.15am – Keynote speaker: Alison North – Creating and managing retention schedules so that third sector and public sector can work together

Alison spoke about retention and the many and varied challenges of its implementation. This sparked much interest and discussion in the room as many attending had faced similar difficulties and challenges!

A key element is to look at contracts with a ‘data protection hat’ on! Another key subject to consider is the purpose of the information – retention becomes easier to implement if you know the purpose for which is it being retained.


11.45am – Discussion section: Elizabeth Barber (Chair)

Some thoughts about how local authorities manage relationships with their third sector partners, followed by a workshop to produce 10 steps to managing partnership relationships between local authorities and the third sector. The room was divided into four groups and each was asked to come up with a list of 10 steps to managing partnership relations.

Lots of ideas were sparked and there was a lot of commonality amongst the groups – several key themes emerged. The groups came up with the following sets of priorities (in no particular order):


Group one (which was a mixture of County and District Councils):

1. Maturity of commissioning organisation and third party

2. Privacy impact assessment/information sharing agreement

3. Contract 4. Purpose

5. Ownership

6. Access/security

7. Performing/information systems

8. Taxonomy/reference data

9. Protective marking/handling

10. Classification/retention


Group two (which was a mixture of organisation types):

1. Retention and disposal

2. Common language

3. Legal basis for sharing

4. Early engagement at procurement stage

5. Clear about the information that is being shared

6. Transfer of data – rules need to be created around this

7. Clarity in contracting re ownership of the data/ information

8. Levels of security/sensitivity

9. Audit/assurance of the partnership


Group three (which was a mixture of organisation types):

1. Storage

2. Transfer management

3. Retention/disposal

4. Quality audit

5. Disclosure agreements

6. Training/awareness

7. Risk register


Group four (which was a mixture of organisation types):

1. Education

2. Clarity of purpose

3. Principles/standards

4. File formats/standards

5. Monitoring requests for access

6. Transfer at end of partnerships

7. Ensure information governance and records management included

8. Financial risk/cost

9. Lessons learned


2:00pm – Dr Paul Duller – Business continuity

Paul presented a very lively and entertaining talk on business continuity – the things that go well… and the things that go badly! Paul considered disaster planning for both information management and for information technology – the two go hand in hand.


3:00pm – Tony May – What records should be retained around fostering arrangements

Tony provided some useful hints and tips on the retention of fostering information. There tends to be a lengthy time period for this information and organisations need to take this into account.


Review written by Sarah Graham and originally published in the IRMS Bulletin, September 2017

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