Assessment of storage and security of active paper records at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Central Registry
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A study was undertaken to assess storage and security of active paper records at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs central registry. It was centered on the following objectives; to find out the types of active paper records kept at MOFA central registry, to examine the storage of active paper records at MOFA central registry, to find out the security threats of active paper records at MOFA central registry, to analyze security of active paper records at MOFA central registry, to find out challenges affecting storage and security of active paper records at MOFA central registry and to suggest appropriate measures for effective and efficient storage and security of active paper records at MOFA central registry. The study adopted a mixed research approach where aspects of quantitative and qualitative research designs were used. Data was collected using interviews, observation and document analysis from 6 central registry staff who were purposively selected for first-hand data collection because the researcher believed that they had trustworthy information on storage and retrieval of records. The finding of the study revealed that MOFA central registry was engaged in various activities like opening up new files, closing files when due, routing files and mails for action, dispatching of incoming and outgoing mails, shelving of files, retrieving of files requested, file re-dressing, sorting of files and filing of documents, security grading that is the top secret, secret, confidential and unrestricted/open. As a result, various categories of records were produced; personnel, administrative, financial, legal, policy and vital records and were stored in boxes, steel cabinets, floor space, office trays, tables and open shelves. The central registry had arrangements for handling security classified active paper records and access to the registry was controlled by serving clients from the counter, locking and control of the keys. The overwhelming challenges among others were limited registry space, funds and inadequate storage and security equipment. The study recommended that MOFA central registry should automate and computerize its functions to minimize the congestion in the storage areas and working space. In addition, automation and computerization will enable easy retrieval of information, reduced damages during storage and retrieval of records as well as reduced cost of buying expensive paper records equipment like cabinets and shelves. The study concluded that it is important for MOFA to install CCTV cameras to supplement the available security equipment and supplies. CCTV systems can make a would-be criminal think twice about any wrong-doing.