Zandvlei Trust

Guidelines for ZEMF documentation control. adopted on 27th March 2013.


Why document control?
A few simple answers;

  • so that all the Forum participants are on the same page.

  • so that when individuals or groups leave or become unavailable, there is continuity of the Forum and its workings for others to carry it on.

  • so that the current members, receive all the correct documentation and data.

  • the current and past documentation and data becomes the structured working history of the Forum, identifying the issues it has addressed or is addressing.

Medium adopted.
MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat should be used as the preferred working medium, as the majority of the Forum members use these products on their computer devices.

Document identification and layout for distribution and archiving purposes.
The Forum Constitution, Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Addendum documents and other data should be clearly named in the printed and electronic file title with a naming protocol and date.
The page footer must have the document name, version and date format = year, month, day, together with the page numbers as per this document, below in grey.

examples for electronic file naming;

  • zemf constitution ver A 20120512.doc

  • zemf forum agenda ver A 20130304.doc

  • zemf forum minutes ver A 20130304.doc

  • zemf pondweed agenda ver 01 20130304.doc

  • zemf pondweed minutes ver 01 20130304.doc

to relate these documents to the various meetings, which take or took place. This also includes all documentation and data for Task Working Group meetings.

An example.
Sometimes agendas have to change with additional or changed items, before the proposed meeting date. This may require individuals to change or prepare different and or additional documentation / information before the meeting and all participants should receive an updated agenda (new version) before the meeting. This is the reason for a  2 – 3 week prior notice, for the meeting to be able to make the changes and redistribute the new information to the Forum members.

Understanding version control.
All initial documents are regarded as draft documents, until they are formally accepted and adopted at a meeting. The Chairman formally proposes the acceptance of the document, by the relevant TWG and or Forum members. If additional changes are required, the updated document requires a version change in the print document title and the electronic file title.

Draft documents need to be alpha designated in the version control. eg;

  • initial document is version A,

  • then becomes version B if it requires changes out of the meeting. If the document requires more changes it becomes version C, D etc before adoption by the Forum for distribution and archiving.


ZEMF - document control guideline - version 01 - 20130328                                      page 1 of 3.


Adopted documents need to change to numerical version, before general publishing, distribution and archiving eg;

  • the adopted document becomes version 1.

  • any subsequent changes to this document become version 2, 3, 4 etc.

  • only then they may be distributed and archived.

Whose responsibility and why.
The current nominated Chairman’s of the Forum and TWG’s need to take this responsibility as part of their position. They are the persons most likely to call the required meetings and distribute the various documents to the participants prior to the meetings.
(Until the Forum has a designated admin authority, this is the suggestion). See below under Way Forward.

Distribution and handing over of the Forum documents.
Currently the contracted post of the Forum co-ordinator and administrator is funded. Lynn Jackson has distributed all the documents to the Forum members to date. This may change. All master electronic documents need to be handed over to the Chairman or some other designated responsible person, if and when the current contract ends, and it is not renewed.

Documents may be circulated electronically to members for comment and or information. If comment is required, a circulation roster with names should be included in the email. A time constraint next to each name should indicate how many calendar days the individuals have to read and comment, before passing the document on to the next name on the roster.

Each respondent’s initials should precede the inserted comment. Respondents may also change the colour of the font for their comments to be visible from the document text. The colour selected should be legible for all to read.

When the document returns to the initiator all the comments can be read and included into the next version for adoption at the next formal meeting. This practise will save time and help move the Forum activities along and reduce the administrative activities out of the formal meetings.

Archiving of the Forum documents.
Not all of the past generated documents have been published on the Zandvlei Trust website. This facility is also being used as an interim solution, until an agreed archiving centre can be identified. Once this is done all the information will be handed over to the new centre.

All documents generated at or from the meetings will be made available on the ZEMF web page on the Zandvlei Trust website for information purposes. This is a voluntary action for the Forum by the Zandvlei Trust webmaster.

Way forward.
We appear to have an impasse currently.

National, Provincial and Local government budgets and structures are not yet in place to take responsibility for the Forum admin and document control, publishing, distribution and archiving of all the generated data.
The current speculation is that the Local government may be the future responsible authority and will have to take on this task.


ZEMF - document control guideline - version 01 - 20130328 page 2 of 3.


There are possibly two temporary short-term solutions;

1. The Forum members need to raise funds / budget for this function from this meeting in January 2013, until the formal entities are in place. There are legal funding consequences, which need to be worked through and addressed. From what we currently understand The Forum is not a legal entity and therefore cannot raise funds legally. The civil society organisations need to raise the budget required to perform this function on behalf of the Forum.
2. A City directorate needs to fulfil this function and take control of it with the relevant skilled persons, with budget, and the required archive and distribution infrastructure.



ZEMF - document control guideline - version 01 - 20130328 page 3 of 3.


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