FILING PRACTICE IN THE CIVIL SERVICE

Publication Date01 February 1946
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/eb026079
Pages8-16
Date01 February 1946
AuthorK.S. JEFFERIES
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Library & information science
FILING PRACTICE IN THE CIVIL SERVICE
by K. S. JEFFERIES
Treasury Organization and Methods
Division
THE
filing and indexing of unpublished papers in government departments
is a job given in the great majority of departments to a special section known
as 'the registry', and a description of the practice in government departments
reduces to a description of 'registry procedure'.
Any attempt to review registry procedure in the civil service is met at the
outset by the great variations in practice which exist between departments.
Many of these variations are not arbitrary but spring from the genuine
differences in the needs of departments and in the conditions under which
they operate. An inter-departmental study group which recently reviewed
this subject in great detail was convinced that standardization was impractic-
able.
Their report (dated October 1945) has been sent to Aslib; it contains
a detailed review of the procedures in some fourteen of the largest depart-
ments.
Because the registry practice in no one department could be said to be
typical of the registry practice in the civil service as a whole, this paper has
been written rather as a commentary on some of the problems which are
known to be common to a number of departments. To give an adequate
picture of registry procedure, it has been necessary to go a little outside a
strict interpretation of the title of the paper, but even so the full range of
registry duties in a department are not described. For example, no reference
is made to the dispatch of outgoing mail.
The papers to be filed
The papers to be filed in a department include incoming letters, copies
of outgoing letters, memoranda, documents (e.g. legal documents), reports,
minutes of
meetings,
inter-branch minutes, and forms.
It is unusual to make any distinction between types of papers for the pur-
pose of filing. Occasionally separate
files
may be set up for a series of papers,
for example, for the minutes of a committee, but in a broad picture, these
distinctions may be ignored. The filing scheme is developed on the basis of:
(a) Case papers, each case based, for example, on an application, or on an
inquiry, or on dealings with one individual.
(b) Subject files, each file containing papers on a particular subject, for
example, the development of a policy, or the negotiations with another
department on an issue, such as 'provision of accommodation'.
Many of the forms received by departments in their dealings with the
public will be filed in case files, but forms used by departments in the execu-
tion of its routine business, for example, purchase orders or invoices, are

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT