18 months ago, I had a chat to a regulation expert in local government.
He explained how he thought about the work that he did.
It came down to this:
- We know that it takes 6 hours to complete an audit.
- We know that we need to do a certain number each year.
- We’ve asked for a budget that lets us do slightly more than that.
3 months ago, his council won an award for effectiveness in the area that he regulates.
I thought that they’re questions worth asking about Records practice:
- How long does a compliance audit take?
- How much time does the remediation/training etc. take?
- How many are you likely to need to do?
- How much budget do you need to do that?
The quality of Records that your organisation is producing probably depends heavily on whether you’re getting the funding you need for audit.
There are only actually two reasons to fail an audit:
- You’re not doing the right things.
- You can’t prove you did the right things.
Doing the right things is obvious.
What is less obvious, is proving that the right things were done.
If you work in a regulated organisation, at some point the auditors are going to show up. When they do, they’re going to ask you for your records. Records are your evidence that you did the right things.
If you don’t have a records management program, chances are, you’re failing at capturing the right evidence, or you’re handling the audit process with a massive overcommitment of resources.
A records management program starts with a great records manager. A great records manager will review your regulations, work out what needs to be captured to provide evidence, and then execute a program to ensure that it is.
Then all you need to do is make sure your organisation does the right things.
“Regulatory audits are enjoyable experiences.”
That’s what organisations say when they have good records.
The audit process is smooth, efficient, and low stress, because they’re permanently ready.
Mostly though, regulatory audits aren’t enjoyable experiences. They are high stress, and there’s a huge rush of last minute work to try and be ready.
The last minute rush is record assembly.
It’s trying to create complete records out of all the pieces of information collected and created by your process.
When you have a complete record, you can hand it to the auditor knowing that it’s everything you have.
If you’ve got an audit problem, you’ve got a records problemAnd the audit is, for lack of a better word – enjoyable.