What are Records?
A record is anything, in any media, which contains information about a client or group and which is gathered as a result of any aspect of the work carried out within the guidance service.
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives a very broad definition of what constitutes a record:-
'….any memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work or other document, any photograph, film or recording (whether sound or images or both , any form in which data (within the meaning of the Data Protection Act, 1998) are held, any other form (including machine readable form) or thing in which information is held or stored manually, mechanically or electronically and anything that is part or a copy, in any form, of any of the foregoing or is a combination of two or more of the foregoing…'
This means that practically every record we keep is subject to the terms of the Data Protection Act.
Why do we need to keep records?
Recording the guidance process, its activities and outcomes is essential to providing Guidance Services within a quality assurance framework. Systems for tracking and monitoring service delivery demonstrate our actions and ensure accountability.
Records give us both quantitative and qualitative data to measure and evaluate our Service. Essential reasons for record keeping within adult guidance include:
- Department of Education and Skills (DES) requirement;
- Provides qualitative and quantitative data to NCGE/DES/SOLAS for monitoring and evaluation;
- Informs policy development work;
- Represents professional guidance practice;
- Can inform issues for discussion under caseload supervision;
- Supports reflective practice;
- Informs guidance/client planning process;
- Informs strategic planning;
- Is useful as a research tool;
- Essential for professional transfer of caseload to a new staff member.