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AAU Handbook

RULES REGARDING RECORD-KEEPING AT AALBORG UNIVERSITY

How to use WorkZone

Published: 05.12.2018 (Last revised: 20.05.2019)

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Content

Why workzone?

Aalborg University is a government agency, and as such, we are required to document our work and existence in an approved electronic file and document management system. At Aalborg University, we use the system WorkZone.

As an employee, you must file all documents that are of importance to a case (letters, internal and external e-mail, notes, minutes, telephone notes etc.) in WorkZone.

Likewise, we are obliged to file all internal rules and procedures in order to document the University’s activities.

The only exception to these rules is, if you work in an approved administrative system that already works under the obligation of delivery agreements with the State Archives. Please notice that Outlook folders, private drives, shared drives, USB sticks etc. DO NOT fall into the category “approved administrative systems”. Thus, case related e-mails and documents from these drives must be filed in WorkZone.

Appendix T contains a list of approved administrative systems that has entered into agreements with the State Archives. The list is not conclusive. If you are in doubt about whether a system is approved or not, please contact the system owner at Aalborg University.


Record-keeping responsibility at Aalborg University

Your local head of department/unit is responsible for correct filing in accordance with the law and the University’s rules regarding record-keeping.

As member of staff, you are responsible for correct filing and saving of all relevant case material that you receive/send/produce in WorkZone.  


When do you work in WorkZone?

All AAU employees are subject to the duty of record-keeping if they “handle documents that constitute documentation regarding administrative actions e.g. information tied to binding agreements/contracts, strategies, as well as other information that can be used for knowledge sharing across the organization” (cf. Duty of record-keeping).

If you are in doubt about whether the documents you are working on should be filed in WorkZone or not, you can ask yourself the following questions.  If you can answer Yes to one of them, you must save the information and documents in a case in WorkZone.

Are you working on a task where:

  • You collect general, sensitive or confidential personal information about a natural person e.g., social security number, name, address, employment, or illness?
  • Is it a task which may lead to complaints or requests regarding right of access to the documents?
  • You or someone else will have to make decisions or rulings. For example, it can be in connection with employing a member of staff, rejecting/granting credit, applying for funds to/planning of research projects, approval of a rule/strategy/policy, establishing a workflow, or planning a tender.
  • You collect/note case-relevant knowledge that you or your colleagues may need for solving the task, or solving similar tasks in the future?
  • You are preparing an agenda/minute for e.g. an internal department or management meeting?

If you are still in doubt, you can check appendix P that contains a list of which documents that usually require filing, and which documents that do not. Please notice that the list is not exhaustive. You are always welcome to contact the WorkZone Secretariat if you are in doubt about filing a document.


Cases

What is a case?

You can compare a case to a physical folder where you keep all documents, e-mails, notes, parts etc. that you collect and note down in connection with solving a task/complete a project.

When do you need to create a case?

You must create a case, when you begin solving a task/project. When you receive a document/write a note based on a telephone conversation, or start gathering knowledge/describing the status of a case, you must create a case and save your case documents, notes etc.

When you create a case, you must add some information regarding the subject of the case - e.g. case number, title, responsible unit, and case handler.

How to delimit a case (single-issue principle)?

Record-keeping at Aalborg University is based on a single-issue principle. That is, the individual case alone contains the documents, parties, notes etc. that pertain to one specific task. For example, you must always create complaints and cases regarding access to documents as separate cases.

When the individual case is completed, you must close the case.

The single-issue principle ensures that no information is hidden in cases where they have no relevance. At the same time, it ensures clarity of which acts and parties that have led to which decisions. Additionally, it helps to secure that general, sensitive, or confidential personal data is not stored for longer time than what is permitted. 

An example of how to apply the single-issue principle in practice could be a case regarding a tender:

A tender case may be divided into cases regarding, tender documents, tender, contract, implementation, and evaluation.

The individual cases concern the same tender, but are divided according to which part of the tender process you are working on. In order to ensure a visible link between these cases, you can relate the cases to each other. In WorkZone, you do this by distinguishing between parent (main) and child (sub) cases.

For the sake of clarity, it is possible to use assembled cases in subject cases containing only a few documents. This may be in connection with minutes from staff meetings where you collect all minutes from the same year in one case.

Naming of cases

A case should be named with a short, descriptive title with direct relation to the theme of the case. This makes it easier for you and others to retrieve the case later on.

The University has specific rules for case naming in several areas (cf. appendices on case types).

To the extent that it is possible, in terms of navigation in WorkZone, you must avoid using social security numbers in case titles (cf. appendices on special rules regarding naming in student and staff cases).

You should always avoid using abbreviations when naming cases or documents. Abbreviations make it difficult to search and assess the contents of a case. Finally, a case should speak for itself and not require an explanation.

Thus, it would be insufficient simply to name a case “Minutes” if it concerns the minutes of a specific department. The title should also specify the meeting type, organisational unit and year e.g. "Minutes weekly meeting WorkZone Secretariat 2018". 

Case number

When you create a case, you must give it a case number from the University’s records index. The records index is divided into main groups, then subject groups, and finally case groups.

The records index is embedded in WorkZone. Thus, when you create a case, you can simply select the case group that fits your case, and then WorkZone adds a case number automatically. 

Please notice: All subject groups contain a case group termed "General", and one termed "Miscellaneous”.

"General" is for cases concerning principal matters, as well as cases that transverse multiple case groups.

"Miscellaneous" is for cases that cannot be placed in any of the other case groups.

Case protection

Subject cases in WorkZone are usually open to all member of staff to ensure the possibility for collaboration and knowledge sharing across Aalborg University.

Naturally, cases containing sensitive or confidential personal data are not open to all. Student and staff cases are automatically created with access restriction (cf. appendices containing rules for different case types).

If you create a confidential subject case, on the other hand, you have to add the access restrictions yourself. If you contact the WorkZone Secretariat, it is possible to get pre-defined group-access. 

Examples of subject cases with restricted access can be cases of political/strategic importance to the University where confidentiality is necessary for the university management in order to protect the University’s interests both internally and externally.

There may be other instances where restricted access to a subject case is deemed necessary. However, you should always refrain from restricting access to yourself only. Instead, you should use the appropriate group-access.

Reversely, you are not permitted to search for cases unless you need the information in connection with your work.

Should you acquire knowledge of cases without access restriction, which contain sensitive or confidential personal data, you must contact the WorkZone Secretariat. We will see to that proper access restrictions are applied to the case. 

Handing over cases to others

All active cases in WorkZone must be assigned to a case handler employed at Aalborg University.

If a case handler is no longer employed at Aalborg University, his/her open cases must be assigned to another case handler.

In such cases, it is the responsibility of the individual head of department/unit to make sure that cases are handed over to another case handler.  

Closing cases

You must complete your cases concurrently with solving your tasks. Thus, when a task is completed so is the task's case.

There should be no drafts in a completed case. Thus, before you close a case you must file all relevant documents and delete the rest. Furthermore, you must make sure that all filed documents in the case have significant titles.

Please notice: Special rules apply to completion of staff and student cases (cf. rules regarding these case types in the appendices).

Parties

Parties in decision cases

In cases requiring decisions, you must assign the parties of the case in accordance with the Public Administration Act. This is usually the part/parties to whom the decision is addressed. For example, in student cases you should always assign the student as a party.

Parties as contacts in subject cases

In many subject cases – i.e. cases that do not affect a physical person – there will be no parties to assign.

However, if a subject case contains communication with persons/companies, you must assign them/it as parties in the case. In research project cases, you must assign project manager and possibly the funder as parties.

Before you create a party, you must search the contacts in WorkZone, to make sure that the party is not entered into the system more than once.

Please be thorough when you enter new contacts. We use their social security number or CVR number whenever we communicate with them via their digital mailbox at www.borger.dk or www.virk.dk


Documents

All documents - e.g. e-mails, Excel-sheets, Word or PowerPoint files - that are relevant to your case handling must be stored in WorkZone. The same applies to pictures, drawings, audio files etc. In appendix T, you can see which file formats you can store in WorkZone and how.

Naming of documents

Just like cases, documents must have precise titles that point directly to the contents of the document. Please avoid abbreviations. State the file name briefly and accurately based on the theme of the document.

Regarding e-mails

E-mails also have the status of documents. If you send or receive e-mails, which are relevant to a case, you must file them in WorkZone.

According to the Danish Data Protection Agency, we are only permitted to store sensitive and confidential personal data in Outlook for 30 days maximum, and only with sufficient warrant.

However, the Ombudsman does determine that e-mails should be recorded as soon as possible and no later than 7 workdays after receiving/sending the e-mail. As such, you should record e-mails from your inbox in WorkZone on a regular basis, as well as whenever you send some. If you have long correspondences on the same matter, you should only record the final e-mail of the correspondence. 

Please notice whether filing concerns both e-mail and attachments, or just one of them.

Provide the e-mails with a sensible name when you file them. It is difficult to understand the contents of an e-mail entitle “SV: VS: SV: SV”. Instead you can write the subject of the e-mail e.g. “Answer to application for XXX, “Decision regarding application” or “Discussion on the collaborative framework of YYY”.

Classification of documents

According to the University’s security model, you must classify a document upon filing it. The University’s document classifications are integrated in WorkZone, so you can simply select the classification whenever you save a document. If you are in doubt about the University’s document classification model, you can read more about it here: https://www.informationssikkerhed.aau.dk/klassifikation-af-data/

Please notice: You cannot restrict access to a case/a document via the document classification. To restrict access, you must apply “read access” to the case/document.

Additionally, you must state the document type (incoming, internal, outgoing) and state a document group.

Drafts

To the extent that it is possible, document drafts should be drafted directly into the relevant cases in WorkZone. In doing so, you and any relevant colleagues will always have access to the latest version of the document, and you can work together in the document and switch between new and old versions. Furthermore, it will give you the possibility for using the University’s standard templates for e.g. letters and memos.

Outgoing mail

All outgoing letters/documents/e-mail must contain the date, case handler and case number.

Access restriction on documents

Documents have the same access restrictions as the case to which they belong. However, you can add further restrictions regarding reading /writing to documents.

Filing documents

When you are finished working on a document, you must file it to ensure documentation of which document is the final document. 

Remember that documents that serve as appendices to agendas must be filed before they are processed at the meeting.

Deletion of filed documents

You cannot delete filed documents. If a document has been filed to the wrong case, you must move it to the correct case.

If you have filed a document by mistake, you must move it to the recycle bin of your unit that should be created under group 909. Remember to ensure that access to your shared recycle bin is limited to your unit, and to close the case annually.

Please notice and consider whether you should add additional access limitations to a document – e.g. access to staff cases – before you move the document to your unit’s shared recycle bin.

Non-digital documents

If the case contains vast physical documents that cannot be scanned - e.g. key maps - you must state the location of the physical document(s) in the case.


The duty of taking notes

If you receive oral information regarding decisions in a case, you are obliged to make notes of it in the case. However, this does not apply if the information is already reflected in the content. 


Agendas and minutes

Agendas, appendices and minutes from internal meetings must be filed in WorkZone. This also applies to agendas/minutes from internal development project meetings. This ensures knowledge sharing and documentation of our decisions.

Meeting structure in Work Zone:

AD HOC MEETINGS
In cases where only a few meetings are related to a project, you can create a case for the meetings and make it a sub-case to the project case.

REGULAR MEETINGS/COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Regular meetings - e.g. section meetings, academic study board meetings, department meetings and committee meetings - must be filed according to the structure in appendix G. Appendix G contains more detailed rules for handling meetings containing subject presentations.


Processes

The “Process”-tool is used for sending out documents - e.g. financial reports and minutes - in consultation, as well as for situations where a number of employees must sign for reception, or fill in the same fields, in a document.

Once each employee has responded to the document in question, his/her responses and approval will be filed to the case automatically.
 

Quality Assurance

The WorkZone Secretariat conducts control searches to make sure that all cases have a case number. If the secretariat finds cases without case number, they will send a list of the cases in question to the relevant organisational unit that is responsible for adding the case numbers.

Additionally, the WorkZone Secretariat extracts lists of open cases in the individual units/departments. Subsequently, the unit/department must go through the lists and close cases that are not longer relevant.

Finally, every month ten cases are extracted at random to ensure correct metadata (title and metadata). If the metadata are incorrect, the secretariat will inform the relevant unit/department, who subsequently is responsible for correcting the data.

Origin, background and history

These rules are drawn up on behalf of the University’s Administrative Management Group (handled on a meeting on 5 April 2018).

The rules are drawn up and revised in a transverse work group from May to September 2018.

The WorkZone Secretariat is responsible for updating the rules and for updating the University’s records index. 

Overall framework

Workzone guide for Aalborg University (January 2016)

Records index for Aalborg University 2016 - 2020

The EU Data Protection Regulation

The Danish Data Protection Act

The Act on Public Access to Documents in Administrative Files

The Public Administration Act

The Archives Act

Contact and responsibility

The WorkZone Secretariat: esdh-sekretariat@adm.aau.dk 

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