BS10008:2009 Legal Admissibility

The standard for the legal admissibility and evidential weight of information stored electronically

If your paper information contains confidential information or records that must be retained for statutory periods (as would be the case for health records or financial files for example) then digitisation can deliver significant benefits.

Primarily these centre on the fact that digital records are far easier to manage and keep secure than their paper counterparts. Also, if digitised correctly and to the right standards the digital information can become the master record and then allow you to securely destroy the paper originals. This frees up space and plugs the hole in security that the paper records represent.

That is where the BS10008 standard for the legal admissibility and evidential weight of electronic information comes in.

The standard is all about ensuring that the digital version of records maintain their integrity. What that means is that in converting a record from a paper form, and then the process for accessing that record digitally, the standard will record and effectively prove that the information has remained untampered with and intact.

When scanning records this means that the information within a record and its sequence needs to be maintained. When scanning therefore you need to capture all pages in a record in the correct order and on both sides (including blank pages). Also you need to record aspects of the paperwork that may impair the digital result such as whether the original is a photocopy or a fax, or whether the original is of poor quality. There are also special procedures for dealing with stick on notes or pieces of paper that are affixed to the main page using tape.

In addition the levels of quality assurance need to be significantly higher and every process that touches the paper record needs to be recorded in a full audit trail down to the individual file level.

The standard also covers processes to ensure that the correct indexing information is assigned to the record from the outset so that (if we use health records as an example) the right patient demographic information is assigned to the right file.

After the record is digital the recording of the audit trail must continue to capture every event in the information unit’s lifecycle. From viewing the file to printing it (or attempting to if the functionality is disabled).

The net result is that the digital record’s integrity and completeness can be assured from the moment the original paper file is selected for the scanning process.

At Scan Data Experts we have designed and implemented many projects to this standard working with a variety of EDRMS solutions. When delivered properly and certified to the BS10008 standard the electronic record can be considered to be legally admissible and therefore the original paper copy can then be securely and confidentially destroyed.

Scan Data Experts can help you to design and implement projects to the BS10008 standard and can feed into existing planning processes to ensure that all of the legal admissibility considerations are accounted for.