Vital Records

All Jargon Busters

Vital records are irreplaceable, would require significant resources to recreate or are those without which organisations could not continue to operate
They contain information essential to effectively restore the organisation’s business operations during, or following an exceptional event (e.g. network failure, a disaster).
Vital records protect the assets and interests of an organisation, its clients and stakeholders, and are usually associated with the organisation’s infrastructure, legal and financial matters. Generally these records require significant resources (e.g. time, money) to reconstruct if lost or damaged, or may be impossible to recreate altogether.
Vital records typically contain information critical to:

  • emergency preparation and response
  • core business operations (i.e. critical client services)
  • protecting the legal and financial rights of the agency
  • protecting the legal and financial rights of agency clients Other vital records may include:
  • the agency’s disaster management or business continuity plan (which should include a vital records recovery plan)
  • employee details, including contact information and payroll details • delegations of authority
  • current customer and stakeholder records or registers
  • current (active) contracts, titles, and other signed original legal records such as grant deeds, partnerships or memorandums of understanding.
  • current (active) licences, leases, permits which enable the agency to operate or perform a particular action

Vital records include those records which are required to recreate an organisation’s legal and financial status, to preserve its rights, and to ensure that it can continue to fulfil its obligations to its stakeholders in the event of a disaster. Vital records may be in any format such as paper, electronic, microfilm etc.