or LinkedIn here uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/
Is data retention starting to encroach on your radar? I have been wading through the latest guidance from the ICO and other sources, including https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1160/retention-and-destruction-of-requested-information.pdf for someone I have been working with the last few months.
I can see too why in particular, social housing providers find the rules and keeping to them challenging. While procurements always reference archiving and sometimes data retention, it's not the top of the heap of priorities when choosing those applications. Its generally six or more years later that it becomes a headache.
EDRM often being a different kettle of fish, most housing management systems out there are pretty damn dismal in practical terms in practical application of this stuff. No problem archiving a data file into long term storage, but what of terms of purging data over the requisite retention period we set? Very few true and flexible archiving features can be found with many of the big six HMS providers out there.
This is the first thing that these suppliers are all going to have to wake up to and design into their systems. More often than not there is just reliance on backups in the database, some quite blunt archiving scripts and that's your lot. If you wanted to recover any data or view a tenant or account from the old data, you might well have to re-install an old version of the application (if that's even possible) , to see the data in a coherent form. It's unclear if even Civica Cx, the first HMS designed and coded wholly in the 21st Century, has this capability.
Truth is, it's unlikely that in the procurement demo, we will be picking over archiving in any great extent. We will concentrate on the look and feel, efficiencies to be found and does it support our staff doing their job better. If I fancied a client of mine sitting through 30 minutes of an archiving demo, they would give me some gip. It's important though, and will come back to bite us. For the moment users have to put up with what's provided, but users will need to press at user groups, to obtain suitable functionality that meets legislation needs. Now we all probably have that clause in our contracts, don't we?
Around data protection, the other elephant in the room is FOI (Freedom Of Information) requests. These can be elaborate and messy, often anecdotally, staff have told me just one takes between half and 2 days. Phew! That's a lot of time.
Obviously, if all your documents are stored in an EDRM system, potentially the job is easier, but even so, FOI requests should be easy to collate & satisfy. Indeed, all new integrated HMS systems I have procured, have incorporated such a requirement. It's not rocket surgery is it? If a nominal charge is being made to collate the info relevant to the request, e.g. £12, let's make the retrieval process cost no more than that.
If you are specifying or choosing a new replacement Housing Management System, ensure you put FOI and wider archiving/retention of information on your agenda. It will save you hassle and expense six years further down the line.
Related Post: Skype in multiple language translation, could it be a God-send for #UKhousing?
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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