Revised: 23 December 2015 (Eco:Maps)
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Reports to Customers
Reports and letters to customers are written in Microsoft Word, using the approriate templates (Delta report template, Delta management plan template, Delta letterhead, Delta lab report, etc).
A shortened form of the title shall be placed in the header and the project code (made of 3 letter abbreviations for client-site-report number-author) shall be inserted into the footer of the document.
The documents are labelled DRAFT in the document header until the client is happy that the work meets the brief's requirements. The file name for a draft document should include the word "DRAFT" and the date or version number. As each version is modified, the date or version number in the filemane should be updated. These drafts may be saved together in a draft directory within the project file, so that the different versions may be compared if necessary. In this manner, the most recently dated version is always the version to which any changes are made.
During the DRAFT stage the documents are provided to the client for editing & approval. As well as editing for spelling, grammar and general correctness, the report should be compared to the brief to determine the degree of compliance. Use of a compliance matrix may be helpful in this process. This is simply a table showing the brief requirements and the matching sections of the report.
Drafts of very large documents may not be accepted by cleints' email servers and in this case the documents may be uploaded to the client secure document store or a Dropbox shared link may be provided to them, so that clients may download the document to their hard drives.
Editing may be done electronically, using "Track Changes" or on paper copies of the documents. If proofing paper copies, refer to the table of proofreading symbols so that standard symbols are used. Besides the grammar and spelling advice provided in the word processing program, Delta keeps dictionaries, style manuals and grammar books in the library.
After the client is satisfied, the DRAFT label may be removed from both the header within the document and from the filename. The document revision template (near the limitations statement in the front of the report) shall be filled in, and the document shall be printed and converted to pdf format.
Two bound copies shall be provided to the client (unless they specify otherwise). A further bound paper copy shall be retained in the reports section of the library. A CDROM containing the final document (in pdf format) and the related document, image and spreadheet files shall be produced for the client and for the Delta filing system.
Once a report is issued and copies are placed in the Delta filing system, the following shall take place:
Use the Delta Lab Report template to provide clients with results of any laboratory analyses. Lab reports have specific requirements. Double check the information you are transferring from your Lab Notebook. Check unique sample identifiers carefully.
Method details: In the column where the method is described, enter at least the test method number (Merck, APHA etc) or describe more fully if the client requires this. If the client has asked for details on the speciation detected in the particular analysis, supply this information in the same column. Details relating to commonly conducted tests are found here.
Once you have filled in the Lab Report, sign it.
Record Keeping with Field and Lab Notebooks
Documentation of activities shall occur as specified in the Field and Test Method procedure and in the Field Notebooks, Lab Notebooks and Eco:maps instruction. A record of each lab or field notebook shall be maintained in the report register. In the event that the business begins to use electronic lab notebooks, records of these shall also be maintained in the report registry and the notebooks shall be backed up regularly.
Management System Manual - Operating Procedures & Instructions
Overview: The Management System Manual, Procedures, Test Methods, Instructions and Quality/Environment Plans are maintained by the Owner, on the main computer system. This copy of these documents is the current revision. All paper copies are UNCONTROLLED copies and should be checked against the computer for current status.
All documents forming part of this online system are dated, with the date at the top of each document. All changes to documents are reviewed and approved by the person responsible for the original issue and, where appropriate, the nature of the change is indicated on the document. The modified document is redated prior to release.
The manual is modified once several changes are required. Whenever a batch of changes is made, a CDROM copy of the Management System as a whole is made, and placed in storage.
Design: Where possible, documentation for the Management System shall be prepared in HTML format. This is not to suggest a rewriting of accepted Standard Methods and other existing documentation. Where such reference material is available, it shall be referenced in bibliographies. Similarly, many government environmental agencies keep up-to-date copies of recommended manuals and protocols on-line, and these may be simply linked to this Management System using hypertext links, in the appropriate Bibliographies.
While not prepared to enforce a "house-style" on writers of Management System documents (pointless in the face of the links to the Internet), the following recommendations will ensure that documents are easy to read and meet the requirements of the system.
Maintenance of Records
Bound paper copies of reports to clients shall be stored in the Delta library in the shelves set aside for that purpose. These records are not to be disposed.
Finalised lab and field notebooks shall be stored in the laboratory library shelf, and not disposed.
Electronic copies of all client reports, lab reports, project files, Outlook pst files and business financial files are stored on the main network computer and are backed up monthly to external hard drives.
Physical financial records shall be stored and disposed as specified in the Monthly Account Keeping Instruction.
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