National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Model Plan Guidance to Element 12

Model Plan Guidance to Element 12

As a result of changes to the Keeper’s Model Plan, this guidance is currently being reviewed. We hope to have this completed by the end of 2021. In the meantime, if you have any queries about the guidance, please contact the Assessment team.

Competency framework for records management staff

A competency framework lists the core competencies and the key knowledge and skills required by a records manager. It can be used as a basis for developing job specifications, identifying training needs, and assessing performance.

In line with the Keeper of the Records of Scotland's (The Keeper) obligations under the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (the Act) the following guidance is issued regarding the skills required by an authority's records manager:

As part of a robust plan, the Keeper would expect to see that the individual(s) responsible for the implementation and operation of the overall RMP has the relevant skills and training to carry out the task to a reasonable standard. He will welcome proof that a public authority recognises that records management is a separate function from general office duties and will require specific resources applied in the form of training. He will also expect that the individual or individuals named in element 2 (Responsibility - Records Manager) have access to the latest thinking in the field.

The Keeper would expect to be assured that a continuing personal development programme is available to the records manager, and be provided with evidence that a records management 'learning stream' is offered to relevant staff members.

The Keeper would expect individuals who are carrying out records management in a public authority should have this as a specific formal 'objective'.

However, it is also understood that, in many cases, it will not be practical for a public authority to appoint a qualified records manager to carry out this function and also that it may be necessary for the individual to carry out a records management function alongside other duties.


Potential evidence that an authority considers records management as a specific business activity requiring specific skills might include: a copy of the records manager's annual objectives; a job vacancy description or a statement, perhaps included as part of the records management policy (Element 3), that senior officers in the authority appreciate the specific skills required to operate an efficient records management system. This would be accompanied by an agreement that resources will be allocated to maintaining an appropriate level of competence in this business activity.

Sample documents showing suggested records management skills

The Scottish Police Services Authority set out the expectations for a records manager (N.B. this sample refers to a post-graduate qualification - the Keeper does not insist on this)

SPSA Records Manager Job Role (228 KB PDF)

A local authority has provided a sample of a 'Records Officer' description which might be of use:

Midlothian Council Job Description (256 KB PDF)

Scottish Natural Heritage offers this sample job description:

SNH Corporate Records Manager - Job Description (244 KB PDF)

Guidance Specific to records management staff

The 'Section 61' Code has this short statement:

Section 61 1.7 2011(221 KB PDF)

The National Archives short statement regarding the records management training required at different levels in an organisation:

TNA Staff training and awareness (258 KB PDF)

Competencies Framework Higher and Further Education:

This competency framework was published in 2003 as an appendix to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Model Action Plan. This plan was designed with the education sector in mind. However, many of the competencies would apply to records managers in general. This guidance refers to records managers having a formal professional qualification. This is not a requirement of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011:

Competencies Framework Higher and Further Education (15 KB PDF)

Complete Guidance Documents

Scottish Ministers' Code of Practice on records management by Scottish public authorities under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 -16 December 2011(Section 61)

The National Archives records management guidance

If you encounter difficulties opening linked websites, PDF documents and RTF documents listed on this page, please contact us at

Return to Model Plan

Return to Model Plan or read the complete guidance to Model Plan.

PDF files require Acrobat Reader. Download it free Get Acrobat Reader.