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Cardiff University Human Resources Appraisal and Retention Project (HARP) 1.

Introduction

Cardiff University’s Human Resources Division holds personnel files containing almost all of the personnel records relating to an employee and their contract. Prior to the Human Resources Appraisal and Retention Project (HARP) various records of short term value were placed on these files and as a result the files had become bulky, taking up large quantities of space. It also took HR staff some time to find information on file. Managerial staff in Schools and Divisions across the University also retain local personnel files for their staff much of the documents contained in these files are duplicates of documents held centrally. Prior to the project Schools often contacted the University’s Records Manager with queries about the retention of personnel records. 2.

Project Drivers & Aims

HARP aimed to improve the management of personnel records within the University's Human Resources Division and within the Schools and Divisions in line with the University's ‘enabler’ aims (as stated in its Strategic Plan) of developing rapid and efficient processes and maintaining good governance. The project was initiated by the Director of Human Resources, Safety, Health & Environment. From the Director’s perspective there were two drivers for the project. The first was as a response to a recent assessment received by the University from the Information Commissioner’s Office concerning the constitution of a ‘relevant filing system’. In light of the assessment the University had decided that its HR files constituted a ‘relevant filing system’ and that personal information held manually in the files would be accessible under subject access rights. The University therefore wanted to ensure that its personnel files were in good order, that it was not retaining excessive or irrelevant personal information, or retaining information for any longer than necessary. The second driver was the forthcoming development of the University’s new electronic employee information management system (Cardiff People). Document management is being considered as one of the first elements of this new system and the Director was keen to ensure that the files were cleansed and classified prior to scanning to aid implementation and to ensure that money was not wasted scanning documents no longer needed. The Director was also keen to identify any documents which should also be retained on paper for legal admissibility purposes. For some time the Governance & Compliance Division had aimed to set up a more user friendly human resources records retention schedule in order to make it easier for staff across the University to dispose of records no longer required. The JISC project was therefore seen as a perfect opportunity to marry these objectives together and to measure their impact. It was also hoped that this would enable the Governance & Compliance Division to highlight digital preservation, migration and retention issues for information in the current and proposed electronic employee information management system. The project aimed to make it easier for HR staff to find information, to make space savings both in HR and the Schools/Divisions, to carry out preparatory work for the implementation of the Cardiff People system, to make it easier for staff to identify when information should be retained or destroyed and to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act, 1998. It was decided to measure the progress of the project towards meeting these aims by using the following metrics: •

time taken by HR staff to access information from an HR file;


• • • •

time taken to process a file in response to a subject access request; amount of space used to store HR personnel files; amount of space used to store HR files in Schools and Divisions; amount of paper destroyed during project and therefore extent of future scanning costs reduced.

By assessing the net cost and non monetary benefits of the pilot project it would also be possible to provide evidence to enable the Director to determine whether to continue the project on the remaining personnel files and to therefore seek further funding. 3.

Methodology

The University Records Manager carried out audit visits with staff from each team in the Human Resources Division and with a selection of managerial staff in Schools and Divisions. A survey was also carried out on a selection of personnel files to try and capture a true list of the types of documents on file. The information from the audits and file survey was used to draw up a detailed records retention schedule covering the personnel files and all other records series generated by the Human Resources Division and managerial staff in Schools and Divisions in human resources management processes. The records retention schedule was sent out for consultation and amendments were made. As the schedule was lengthy it was signed off in stages by the Director of Human Resources, Safety, Health & Environment and the Director of Registry, Governance & Students. Once the first section of the schedule pertaining to the Human Resources personnel files was signed off two temporary staff were employed for eight weeks. Temporary staff with previous Human Resources experience were employed to ensure that they would be familiar with the processes evidenced by the documents in the files. The temporary staff weeded the files in accordance with the schedule and placed the records in date order. At the beginning of the project it was anticipated that the temporary staff would also classify the documents within the files in order to aid the future scanning exercise. However after discussions with the Cardiff People project team it was decided that as so little was known about the possible future document management system and scanning implementation it would not be possible to apply extensive classification. It was therefore decided that the temporary staff’s time should be used to concentrate on appraising as many files as possible and to apply minimal classification by labelling any documents from particular categories with stickers. It is hoped that by using optical character recognition on the stickers it will be possible to identify documents to which access should be restricted in line with the security settings for the corresponding electronic information in the current information management system. The temporary staff targeted files of employee’s who had worked for the University for five years or more as their files were likely to be larger and contain documents no longer required. 3.1

Data Capture

3.1.1 Predictive Data In order to provide the HR Director with substantive estimates of the cost and impact of continuing the pilot project until all of the HR personnel files had been completed the impact calculator was used predicatively. The average number of files being cleansed each week was calculated and the number of files to have been completed by the end of years one and two forecast. It was predicted that all of the HR personnel files would have been cleansed by the end of the first month of year two. 3.1.2 Time taken by HR staff to access information from an HR file In order to measure the time taken to find information, staff in the HR Advisory team and the HR Advisory administration team were asked to complete a form each time they searched for information on a personnel file. These results were then averaged. The staff were subsequently asked to log how many times they picked up a personnel file to look for information in a week.


These figures were extrapolated to obtain the number of enquiries that are likely to be dealt with by the teams in a year. The average salary of a member of staff in these teams was also established. Once the temporary staff had cleansed roughly 500 files the teams were asked to complete the same form each time they searched for information on a personnel file which had been cleansed. In order to predict the amount of time it would take to find information on file at the end of year one when only 5129 (85.11%) of the files would have been cleansed, 85.11% of the annual performance figure was established. This figure was then multiplied by the information search time (post weeding) and the remaining performance figure multiplied by the benchmark information search time. The average of these figures was then established to work out the predicted actual figure for year one. As all of the files were predicted to have been completed by year two the information search time post weeding was recorded for years two to five. Consideration was given to amending the benchmark and actual figures for years two to five to reflect the impact of on-going filing on the live files. As the actual data had been derived from cleansing the larger personnel files (of staff who had been at the University for five years or more) it was decided that the predicted figures for years two to five were actually conservative and that this variance would off set the impact of on-going filing. 3.1.3 Time taken to process a file in response to a subject access request The Information Rights Officer recorded how long it took to process a personnel file for a member of staff’s subject access request pre and post the cleansing exercise. In order to predict the time taken for years one to five the same methodology as described above was used. 3.1.4 Amount of space used to store HR personnel files The amount of linear metres being used to shelve the Human Resources personnel files was measured prior to the start of the cleansing exercise. As the temporary staff were targeting files of staff who had worked for the University for over five years rather than commencing with all files for employee’s whose names started with ‘A’, it was not possible to go to the shelves and physically measure the amount of space which had been generated at the end of the project. Instead the number of pieces of paper being disposed of was calculated by establishing the amount of paper in a confidential waste sack (filled to the guidance line) and by recording the number of confidential waste sacks destroyed during the project. The number of metres this paper would take up if filed was then calculated. Based on the amount of paper destroyed during the project from 816 files the average amount of paper destroyed from each file was calculated and used to predict the amount of paper which would be destroyed in years one and two and therefore the amount of space created. The amount of shelf space made available was recorded as a non-monetary benefit as the HR Division is currently running out of storage space. As the number of staff joining and leaving the University’s employment over the next five years and therefore the number of files added or withdrawn from the series could not be predicted it was decided to use the predicted actual data for year two for years three to five as well. 3.1.5 Amount of paper destroyed during project and therefore extent of future scanning costs reduced The amount of paper destroyed during the project was calculated as above. In order to establish the extent of the cost reduction the total amount of paper which would be scanned each year was calculated. This was established by calculating what percentage of the contents of the files cleansed the amount of paper destroyed represented. From this, 100% of the files contents was calculated. The savings were calculated using prices charged by the University’s current external scanning provider. Figures for years three to five were not recorded as by year two it was predicted that all of the Human Resources personnel files would have been scanned. 3.1.6 Amount of space used to store HR files in Schools and Divisions Although the amount of space taken to store HR files was measured for each School and Division which took part in the audit visits, because of the short lead up to the start of the project and the project’s HR Division drivers, insufficient ground work had been carried out with the Schools and Divisions to impel them to take part in the project. As the Human Resources Division’s focus


for the project was their files there was a significant delay in getting the School/Division sections of the schedule signed off. The School of Medicine (one of the audited Schools) expressed an interest in using the schedule and had hired a temporary member of staff for the summer who could implement it. However the School/Division section of the schedule was not signed off in sufficient time to enable them to commence cleansing prior to the end of the project. 4.

Experiences of Using the Impact Calculator

The impact calculator spreadsheet itself was easy to use and the advice notes easy to understand. The impact calculator guidance provides a non records management example of a business process. It was difficult at first to think of the management of personnel files and employee records as a business process. We were changing the way in which records generated from many business processes such as recruiting staff, setting up staff contracts, appraising staff performance etc were being managed, and managing the records could be seen as one of the tasks within each of these processes rather than as a separate overall process. However we understand why a non records management example had been used and hope that it may encourage records managers to engage more with those responsible for business process review within their organisation. The other difficulty we had with identifying the business process was that within one project we were changing a process that was going to have an impact on two different areas, i.e. the way that records held centrally and in the Schools and Divisions were managed. The project money was mainly being used to pay for the HR files to be cleansed but this action would have no direct impact on the records management processes in the Schools and Divisions. We therefore decided to set up separate impact calculators to measure the implementation of the schedule in Human Resources and the School of Medicine (although we did not get the opportunity to measure the impact in the School by the end of the project). As our project was a pilot to establish whether it was justifiable to cleanse the remainder of the 6026 personnel files in Human Resources it was frustrating that there was nowhere in the calculator to capture the data at the close of the project as well as the predictions for the continuing years (for the data at the close of the project see appendix one). Consideration was given to amending the titles of each year column but as we were unable to establish how to amend the graph axes we used the calculator to present the predictive data. As mentioned in the data capture methodology section we had difficulty establishing the impact that future filing would have on the predicted benchmark figures for each of the metrics and of future appraisal in accordance with the detailed records retention schedule on the actual figures. We feel that this could be a potential stumbling block for future users of the impact calculator. If I was using the impact calculator again I would spend more time before the project to thoroughly consider the metrics and data collection methods. For example it was not until we started to record the actual data at the end of the project that we realised that we would be unable to calculate the reduction in scanning costs by purely recording the amount of paper thrown away. We realised that we would need to establish the total amount of paper held in the 6026 files prior to the cleansing exercise and the reduction of this figure after the cleansing. We also found that rather than putting the total amount of paper in the benchmark for each year that we would have to predict how much of that paper would be scanned in year one and year two otherwise some of the saving would be counted twice. There are some areas where we have made a change to the process but have not measured the impact, such as the level of assurance staff have disposing of records now that the new human resources retention schedule is in place and the impact of throwing away other records (both


paper and electronic) in the Human Resources Division which are not on the personnel files. We have also not managed to capture the benefits of complying with the Data Protection Act. These include the potential benefit to staff relations in not holding onto irrelevant and excessive personal data for longer than necessary and legal costs avoided from potential legal cases resulting from or exacerbated by breaches in data protection legislation. Other potential costs avoided by having developed a detailed records retention schedule include the cost of a health and safety legal case brought against the institution where insufficient evidence was available to support the University’s case because records had been destroyed prematurely. The impact calculator produced substantive estimates of the cost and impact of continuing the pilot project until all of the HR personnel files had been completed. However it was unable to elaborate on the cause of the costs and explain that they represented an accumulation of appraisal and retention activities which had not occurred over the past forty years. If I were to use the impact calculator in the future I would consider using it as a tool to produce data for a business case and incorporating the data into an explanatory business case document. 5.

Practical Hints & Tips for using the Impact Calculator

We would advise anyone using the impact calculator to allow sufficient preparation time in the lead up to their project for clearly defining the business process that they are changing and to identify the metrics that they will use to measure the change. Consideration should also be given to the size of the project to ensure that the direct impact of spending can be measured. Sufficient time needs to be allocated within the project plan to preparing the methods for data collection to ensure accuracy. It is vital to have full support from any areas of the institution who will be involved in the project prior to implementation to ensure full cooperation and take up. The impact calculator also needs to be fully explained to all staff involved in the project implementation and data gathering to ensure their full support and speedy data collection. 6.

Conclusion

Using the impact calculator did add to the time required from both the University Records Manager and Human Resources Division staff to carry out the business process change project. However it also meant that at the end of the project comprehensive data was available to the Director of Human Resources, Safety, Health & Environment to evaluate its impact in terms of financial net costs and non-monetary factors and to decide on whether to cleanse the rest of the HR personnel files. The calculator highlighted the costs involved in fully implementing the project but was unable to reflect their cause as an accumulation of appraisal and retention activities from the past forty years. The calculator also did not capture the potential savings in terms of legal compliance costs which benefitted from the project. Although the full value of using the calculator to measure the impact of drawing up the records retention schedule for the Schools and Divisions has not been captured it is hoped that in the near future sufficient statistics will be available to enable the Governance & Compliance Division to promote the use of the new records retention schedule widely across the University. The impact calculator is a very useful tool for determining the net costs and benefits of projects aimed at generating money savings. However it may be more difficult to use the calculator to set out the business case for projects which require an investment in order to meet compliance needs as many of the compliance benefits cannot be reflected in monetary terms.


Appendix 1 2.2.01 Metric - Area of change:

1

Reduction in time taken by HR staff to find information on personnel files.

Measurements

Descriptions

6 months Benchmark

Actual

Measurement of performance

2.2.02 Unit of measurement

minutes

2.2.03 Area of change

minutes per search for information

2.2.04 Performance

6.6969

6.19

2.2.05 Annual multiplier

300

300

2.2.06

Impact in monetary terms

2.2.07 Conversion of unit to £

2.2.08 Annualised performance (£/pa)

2.2.09

Impact in non-monetary terms

2.2.10 Conversion of unit in non-monetary terms

2.2.11 Annualised performance (non-monetary)

2.2.12

2.2.01 Metric - Area of change:

2

Performance change % salary (incl on costs) per minute

Monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

8% £0.280

£0.280

£562.54

£519.96

£42.58

None to note 0.00 Non-monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

0.00

0.00

Reduction in time taken to process a personnel file in response to a subject access request.

Measurements

Descriptions

6 months Benchmark

Actual

Measurement of performance

2.2.02 Unit of measurement

hours

2.2.03 Area of change

hours per process

2.2.04 Performance

1.5

1.35

2.2.05 Annual multiplier

1

1

2.2.06

Impact in monetary terms

2.2.07 Conversion of unit to £

2.2.08 Annualised performance (£/pa)

2.2.09

Impact in non-monetary terms

2.2.10 Conversion of unit in non-monetary terms

2.2.11 Annualised performance (non-monetary)

2.2.12

Performance change % salary (incl. on costs) per hour Monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

10% £16.380

£16.380

£24.57

£22.11

£2.46

None to note 0.00 Non-monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

0.00

0.00


2.2.01 Metric - Area of change:

3

Reduction in space used to store HR personnel files.

Measurements

Descriptions

6 Months Benchmark

Actual

Measurement of performance

2.2.02 Unit of measurement

metres

2.2.03 Area of change

storage space for files

2.2.04 Performance

151.2

144.76

2.2.05 Annual multiplier

1

1

2.2.06

Impact in monetary terms

2.2.07 Conversion of unit to £

2.2.08 Annualised performance (£/pa)

2.2.09

Impact in non-monetary terms

2.2.10 Conversion of unit in non-monetary terms

Shelf space per metre

2.2.11 Annualised performance (non-monetary)

Shelves used to store files

2.2.12

2.2.01 Metric - Area of change:

4

Performance change %

4%

none to note £0.00 Monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

Non-monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

£0.00

£0.00

1.110

1.110

167.83

160.68

7.15

Amount of paper destroyed during project and therefore extent of future scanning costs reduced.

Measurements

Descriptions

6 Months Benchmark

Actual

Measurement of performance

2.2.02 Unit of measurement

pieces of paper

2.2.03 Area of change

amount of paper to be scanned

2.2.04 Performance

143011

78656

2.2.05 Annual multiplier

1

1

2.2.06

Impact in monetary terms

2.2.07 Conversion of unit to £

2.2.08 Annualised performance (£/pa)

2.2.09

Impact in non-monetary terms

2.2.10 Conversion of unit in non-monetary terms

2.2.11 Annualised performance (non-monetary)

2.2.12

Performance change % cost of scanning per piece of paper (not incl indexing & return of scans)

Monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

45%

£0.042

£0.042

£6,006.46

£3,303.55

£2,702.91

0.00 Non-monetary benefits experienced from redesigned process

0.00

0.00


Costs 3.1 Staff costs 3.2 Non staff costs 3.3 Overall costs

Implementation costs £5,710.37 £5,710.37

Additional annual costs to maintain the 'To be' process 6 months £13,675.78 £18.00 £13,693.78


Cardiff LessonsLearned Amended