Records Management Standards and Procedures
Chapter 5 - Records Control
Section 5.2 - File Lists
Effective: March 31, 1995
Updated: September 15, 1997
A file list provides a listing of each file which is currently in use or which
has been created within an office.
An accurate and current file list is essential to records management
- documents the creation and existence of government records
- assures the integrity and authenticity of records
- may serve as legal evidence
- functions as a tool for the retrieval, control, and maintenance of
Master File List
Each ministry office must create and maintain a master file list -- i.e., a
detailed list of all active and semi-active files in the office. The master file
list will indicate which files have been opened and direct the user to the
proper primary and secondary.
Guidelines: Master File List Creation and Maintenance
Content of List
The master file list will include primary, secondary, and case coding, plus
the complete file title. To make file retrieval easier for staff not fully
knowledgeable of the filing system, an alphabetic listing should also be
produced. Use the automated records management system to build such a listing
(refer to 5.6, Records Control -- Automation).
The semi-active file list should include the accession number, box number,
and telephone number of the storage facility (for semi-active files that are
stored offsite only) and a detailed box listing for each box in storage.
Distribution of Lists
The master file list of active records should be distributed in full or in part
as determined by the needs of each office. Access should be provided
through both hard copy (paper) and electronic (automated records management system) media.
The automated records management system also provides access to active files through an alpha-numeric index
of files. The alpha-numeric index is the main access point for the
inexperienced user who cannot quickly locate a subject or file through the
numeric file list. Refer also to 5.6.
To allow better control of semi-active (offsite) records, the semi-active file
list should not be given general distribution.
Files Containing Confidential Information
Files containing confidential information must be listed in the master file
list, but the codes should not reveal confidential information. For example,
grievance files should not be coded by the surname of the griever,
but should be assigned codes such as chronological numbers.
The person responsible for files containing confidential information will hold
a key to the codes, and the master file list will be notated with a statement
such as “for access to files, see (name of person authorized).” Each file
must be listed in the master file list.
Temporary staff from outside government should not do confidential filing.
Only government personnel who have taken the Oath of Employment
should file confidential documents.
Maintenance of Lists
Updating of the hard-copy master file list will be dependent on the records
activity of an office, but a quarterly update would be a minimum standard.
If a file does not appear on the master file list, the user can request that a
file be opened to cover the information.
Note: How file lists are created and maintained will vary from office to
office. Specific procedures are to be documented in the office’s file
operations (refer to 2.3, File Operations).
- Administrative Records Classification System manual, “Introduction,” 2.3
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Information Management Group, B.C. Ministry of Forests
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This page last updated: November 18, 1997.