Assessing classification and filing of current records at Ministry of East African Community Affairs-Kampala
Kivelege, Jackson Godwin
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A study was undertaken to assess classification and filing of current records at the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA), The objectives of the study were; to establish the current status of records classification and filing; to find out how records classification and filing at MEACA is managed; to identify the challenges of records classification and filing at MEACA and to make suggestions to the best practices of records classification and filing at MEACA. The study adopted a case study design and used interview, observation and document analysis as data collection methods. Purposive sampling method was used to select (3 records management staff, 5 office attendants, 1 human resource staff and 1 information management staff) The study revealed that, MEACA creates and receives correspondence, personal, legal, administrative and financial records in both paper and electronic formats. Such records are manually classified and filed by registry staff and office attendants in their respective offices. Equipment, tools, and supplies such as; reference chart, file folders, box files, fasteners, paper clips, punching machine, suspension folder, file cabinets, open shelves and cupboards were used for classification and filing of current records. In relation to management of records classification and filing the study found out that MEACA employed skilled registry staff to manage classification and filing of its records and trained office attendant at office level. The study discovered that MEACA allocated special budget to facilitate records management activities and followed the basic registry procedure manual issued by Ministry of Public Service as the guide to records classification and filing. The study identified challenges of classification as; insufficient skills in standardized classification procedures resulted into misclassification of records and lack of automated classification system which resulted into work overload and inconsistency classification of record. The study revealed challenges of records filing at MEACA to be; inadequate of filing equipment evidenced by huge piles of files on floor, top of filing cabinets in the registry and other offices; misfiling and delay returning of files by action officers. The study recommended, the use of automated classification technologies to classify records, refresher training on basic records management practices such as classification and filing should be given to both registry staff and office attendants, use of numbered temporary files instead of subject temporary files to solve the challenge of having multiple files on the same subject, and provision of adequate filing equipment.