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R ecords management guidance:

r ecords management guidance: managing your emails the freedom of information act applies to all information that you
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R ecords management guidance:

Managing your emails

The Freedom of Information Act applies to all information that you
receive and create as part of your employment with the University and
the Data Protection Act applies to all such information that contains
personal data. This includes emails: these are electronic University
records and need managing, just like the other records the University
creates.
Managing your work emails will help:
*
you ensure that you can find what you want when you need it,
*
your colleagues to find important information even if you are not
in the office,
*
your department to save server space and make better use of
resources,
*
the University to comply with the Data Protection Act and the
Freedom of Information Act,
*
the University to ensure that your emails carry weight in court
(as emails may be requested as evidence as part of legal
proceedings).
The University’s Records Management Policy states that all University
staff who create, receive and use records (including emails) have
records management responsibilities. These can be summarised as a
responsibility:
*
to create appropriate email records;
*
to capture important emails in your School’s or Service’s record
keeping system(s);
*
to send emails securely;
*
to destroy those emails that are no longer needed, and
*
to manage emails during absence.
This guidance aims to assist staff to meet these responsibilities with
regard to email. It should be read in conjunction with the Records
Management Policy, Data Protection Policy, Computing Regulations and
other relevant University policies.
Create appropriate records: sending emails

*
Think about what information you are communicating before you
start (a telephone call or visit in person might be more
appropriate).
*
Consider whether the email is:
*
for information only?
*
a request for action?
*
a request for information?
*
a response to a request?
*
Indicate the emails purpose by entering a short, clear and
relevant description in the subject field. The reader should be
able to determine what your message is about before opening it, as
this will help them to prioritise their time.
*
Make it easy to respond to your message by clearly identifying
(e.g. by numbering) your questions/requests.
*
Avoid mixing personal and University matters in one email. This
will mean that you will not have to spend time blanking out
irrelevant or personal information if we receive an information
governance related request for that email.
*
If you are sending your message to a long list of people, or to
external individuals (ie nonUniversity of Huddersfield employees)
that do not already know each other’s email addresses, use a
distribution list so that the full email addresses of all the
recipients are not included in the message. Sharing email
addresses without the individual’s permission breaches the Data
Protection Act.
*
You must not disclose information about another person outside the
University without safeguards, such as encryption.
*
You may only disclose information about another person within the
University for legitimate work purposes.
*
Your email message may be disclosed in response to an information
request under the Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection
Act or as part of a court case. In view of this, take care what
you write. Avoid using email to let off steam, including copying
the email to a large number of people.
*
If you are not acting in your capacity as a member of University
staff, please make this clear.
*
If your email is about an identifiable living person, the Data
Protection Act requires the University to ensure that the
information we hold is relevant, accurate but not excessive. So:
*
do not include irrelevant information
*
clearly differentiate between matters of fact, and opinion
*
do not express opinions that you are not prepared to defend or
cannot substantiate
*
do not express opinions in areas where you are not qualified
*
always be sure of the facts
*
do not write in anger or in haste
*
always speak respectfully of the person, even when expressing
negative information.
*
Avoid attaching documents to emails, if a hyperlink to the
document can be used, as hyperlinks provide securer access.
Create appropriate records: replying to emails

The guidance on sending emails above also applies, but particular
issues to note when replying are:
*
You must not disclose information about another person outside the
University without safeguards, such as encryption.
*
You can only disclose information about an identifiable individual
with the individual’s consent.
*
You may only disclose information about another person within the
University for legitimate work purposes.
*
Include the original text in your reply to an email, as this
ensures that you have a complete record.
*
If you are involved in an email discussion, try to prevent the
discussion from drifting off topic. If a new subject is being
introduced, start a new email. This will make your email easier to
manage, and will mean that you will not have to spend time
blanking out irrelevant or personal information if we receive an
information governance related request for that email.
*
Using “reply all” will send your reply to everyone that received
the original email. Before using this option, consider whether
everyone included in the original email really needs to see your
response.
Capture important emails

*
Do not retain emails in your sent items folder – this means they
are generally inaccessible to others that might need them, and can
make it difficult to retrieve information once the folder becomes
too large.
*
When dealing with long email strings, provided that the string has
not been edited and all previous emails are included, it is
sufficient to keep the last email in the string and destroy the
earlier ones.
*
As well as the text of the email, it is important to keep the
associated metadata about the email, such as to, from, date, time,
and subject. This is necessary to understand the email and can
affect the credibility a court will give to email evidence.
*
Consider saving emails to shared folders in Outlook or on the SAN
if others need to access the information.
*
If you save an email with an attachment outside your mailbox, you
should ensure the title associates the items eg.
PlanningRound20151027” and the attachment,
“PlanningRound20151027Attachment”.
*
If you are a user of Wisdom, emails which relate to students
should be saved to the student’s file. Often these become relevant
to the consideration of complaints, appeals and disciplinary
proceedings. The Outlook plugin tool means that you can save an
email direct to Wisdom from your mailbox. Please contact IT
Support ([email protected]) if you need any assistance.
Sending emails securely

*
One of the main causes of data protection breaches notified to the
Information Commissioner’s Office relates to errors made when
sending emails containing personal data, including emails sent to
the wrong recipients or containing the wrong data.
*
The University’s policy is that all emails sent containing
personal data or other confidential or sensitive information
should be encrypted or password protected. Please contact IT
Support ([email protected]) if you need any assistance. 
*
If you are including an attachment in your email, check and
doublecheck that it is the correct attachment and, if it contains
personal data or other confidential information, that it is
encrypted or password protected.
*
Don’t include long email strings when replying to or forwarding
emails where the strings contain information that does not need to
be sent. Take extra care when using the “reply all” function.
*
When you start to type in the name of the recipient, your email
software will suggest similar addresses you have used before. If
you have previously emailed several people whose name or address
starts the same way e.g. “Dave” the autocomplete function may
bring up several “Daves”. Check and doublecheck the right address
before you click send.
*
If you want to send an email to a recipient without revealing
their address to other recipients, make sure you use blind carbon
copy (bcc), not carbon copy (cc). When you use cc every recipient
of the message will be able to see the address it was sent to. 
*
Be careful when using a group email address. Check who is in the
group and make sure that all of those people really need to see
the information in the email before you send it.
*
If you send a sensitive email from a secure server to an insecure
recipient, security will be threatened. You may need to check that
the recipient’s arrangements are secure enough before sending your
message.
Delete emails which are no longer needed

*
If an information governance related request for information has
been made, it will be a personal criminal offence to delete
email(s) relevant to the request in order to prevent disclosure.
*
Requests for information do not have to specify the “Data
Protection” or “Freedom of Information Act” to be valid requests,
nor do they need to be received through “official” channels, such
as the University’s Freedom of Information inbox, or using the
Subject Access Request form.
*
It is not possible to set a standard retention period for all
emails because email is used to communicate about such a wide
range of things, ranging from the instantly disposable (e.g.
canvassing possible meeting dates) to the highly significant (e.g.
a decision to commit the University to a significant amount of
expenditure).
The retention period of email is determined by the importance of its
contents as with any other record. Therefore, retention decisions have
to be taken on a casebycase basis at the time of receiving or
sending email.
The University’s retention & disposal schedule should be used.
If the email is about an important issue, you should save it to
Wisdom, SharePoint, a shared drive or other similar facility so that
your colleagues are able to access it easily even if you are away from
the office.
*
Many emails do not need to be kept beyond the timeframe of the
task to which they refer. A simple way to deal with this is to
review your sent items at the end of each day and delete those
that don’t need to be retained. You could also move them to a
temporary folder named after the task and then to delete the
folder and its contents when the task is complete.
*
Delete ephemeral or outofdate emails as soon as they are no
longer required. The most efficient ways of doing this include:
sorting by date and deleting all those over a certain age;
sorting by addressee/sender and deleting all those sent to or
received from certain individuals;
sorting by subject and deleting those relating to completed
business;
sorting by size and deleting large emails that are no longer
required.
*
Opening and deleting individual emails should be avoided as it is
time consuming and unlikely to be cost effective.
*
When dealing with long email strings, provided that the string has
not been edited and all previous emails are included, it is
sufficient to keep the last email in the string and destroy the
earlier ones.
*
Make sure that emails you meant to delete are actually deleted by
emptying the deleted items folder.
*
If you are the line manager of a member of staff who is leaving,
please refer to the Checklist for managing information when staff
are due to leave. You should confirm that they have saved
important emails to a shared area where they will remain
accessible to everyone still employed by the University that needs
them. On their last day, the member of staff should either set an
out of office message that gives details of a new contact point or
arrange to forward all their emails to another member of staff.
Within a few weeks of the member of staff’s departure, their email
account will be deleted from the system.
Manage emails during absence

*
Use shared mailboxes and email addresses as far as possible and
where appropriate.
*
Set an outofoffice message providing an alternative contact
point for the time you are absent.
*
If you are a line manager and a member of staff is unexpectedly
away from the office (e.g. on longterm sick leave), a Dean or
Director may authorise access to the member of staff’s mailbox and
network drive in accordance with the Conduct (Monitoring of Email
and Internet use) Policy. Once outstanding mail has been dealt
with, an out of office message should be set with alternative
contact details.
For further advice and assistance please contact
AmyJo CameronWilliams, University Records Manager 2963
Version 1, January 2018

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