Published OnFebruary 27, 2019What are centralized and decentralized records centers, and which is better for your organization? We break it down here.
All records and information managers must decide whether to store records in a centralized or a decentralized location. Before deciding, they should fully understand these methods, along with the pros and cons of each.
What Are Centralized and Decentralized Records Centers?
In a centralized records center, all physical files are stored in a single location. The location is administered by the records management staff.
In a decentralized records center, the physical files are located in different places within the organization, such as an end users’ office, workstation or other workroom space.
Files in a centralized records center are controlled exclusively by the entire records department, while files in a decentralized records center are controlled by the end user who creates the files.
Pros and Cons of Centralized Records Centers
- All physical files relating to a particular case exist in one location. If a file is needed, end users simply ask the records department via email or online portal to send the file to the end user upon approval.
- A centralized records center is very secure. The entrance is virtually impenetrable to anyone but authorized users.
- Standardized departmental practices are authenticated and circulated to all end users.
- End users may have to wait a long time to access files, depending on the approval speed of the records department.
- Hiring full-time staff to manage the location is a considerable expense.
Pros and Cons of Decentralized Records Centers
- End users have instant access to a file they created.
- End users are responsible for maintaining file accuracy.
- A decentralized center does not necessitate a full-time staff.
- A group of end users will be unable to access a file created by another end user if the file creator is not present.
- End users may struggle to locate a file without records department staff or a chain-of-custody procedure.