Vital Records are those that protect the University’s rights. They are a sub-set of all records created for and on behalf of the University and are those records that the University would require to recover from disaster. They generally are those that protect rights and entitlement.
They are deemed essential (vital) to resume or continue operations of the University, and include records necessary to recreate the organisation’s legal and financial position. In essence they establish and protect the rights and interests of the University and its employees, students, customers and stakeholders at all times. In particular they are those documents that provide the information the University needs to conduct business in the event of a disaster and assist the University to resume normal business afterwards.
Examples of Vital Records include:-
- original signed contracts or agreements, leases and licenses,
- official signed copies of minutes of meetings of committees of the University,
- insurance information,
- disaster management plans,
- institutional policies,
- title deeds and
- other records documenting the University’s property rights.
In short, Vital Records are considered ‘vital’ because they provide the legal basis for the University’s existence and enable it to recover quickly and effectively from a disaster.
Records Management is the custodian of the Vital Records of the University and hence all areas of the University, administrative and academic, are required to provide the Records Management office with original Vital Record documents, on an on-going basis. Copies can be kept by all departments and will, in almost all cases, suffice as a working reference document. All Vital Records are also captured in the University’s electronic records management system – Records Manager.
To lodge a Vital Record
Create a local official folder
You will need to create an official folder regarding the Vital Record in the University’s electronic records management system – Records Manager. No Vital Record should exist without a corresponding official folder which should contain background and supporting documentation. This would normally have already been undertaken within your business unit.
Ensure the Vital Record is complete, and signed where appropriate
Please ensure that only complete Vital Records are forwarded to Records Management. You are in the best position to know whether a Vital Record document is complete or not. To reduce double handling, your Vital Record must be signed (where applicable) – this would generally be an indication that the document has been finalised and accepted as the ultimate, final document.
Copy the Vital Record for filing on your local official folder
You are encouraged to make a copy of the Vital Record for your local file – as a working reference document. Only the original Vital Record should be lodged with Records Management. Any supporting documentation will be returned to you if lodged with the Vital Record. All background and supporting documentation (correspondence, negotiations, drafts, emails, etc.) should remain on your local official folder within your business unit.
Exemptions to lodging the original document
There will be occasions where USP will not receive the original document, but will receive a copy – fax, email, scanned copy, a photograph even. In this instance the copy that you receive should be lodged with Records Management as an original (the above conditions still apply), and the lodgement form should explicitly state this, with an explanation that the original was not received (and where the original is held, if known). There will be instances where the Vital Record will need to remain with you (for example, government issued trade licences/certificates, or building regulation compliance certificates). In these instances a copy will need to be lodged as a vital record.
To lodge a Vital Record please complete the Vital_Records_Lodgement_Form