As we enter the new year, it’s time to think about records management and records retention initiatives for 2017.
A clearly defined plan for record retention and disposal is a vital component of a Records and Information Management program.
A Records Retention Schedule (RRS) will ensure that records are identified, maintained, and retrievable for the appropriate amount of time. Records will then be disposed of accordingly (destroyed or transferred to an archives for permanent preservation) at the end of their retention period. It may be time to update your RRS or perhaps you are tasked with building your organization’s first RRS.
Sound good? Below are some tips for rebooting your Records Retention Schedule whether you just need a few tweaks or a major overhaul.
Record keeping requirements vary worldwide. What works in the US is not a one size fits all solution due to different legal and regulatory requirements as well as cultural differences and use of different terms.
Consider Information Assets
Retention schedules focus on official records that have value to your organization. Each year fewer information assets are structured as document-centric records. Consider how to include other information assets in your schedule or at the very least assure that you are governing these assets through clear and concise policy statements.
Build Bigger Buckets
An RRS is listing all the records series, length of time each record will be retained as an active record, the reason for its retention (administrative, legal, fiscal, regulatory, and historical) and disposition period. Too many records series and retention periods can make an RRS complicated for users to be compliant so try to lighten the load for them.
Reduce Trigger Events
Trigger events are when a record’s retention period is not based on a specific time (such as 7 years) but an event like end of employment, life of product, or expiration of contract.
Stay current with recordkeeping requirements (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, GPDR, GxP, etc.). Don’t miss any record types, be sure to get from and cover all business areas.
Integrate Retention Schedules - Acquired Companies
Does the acquired company have an RRS? Add/big bucket record types from M&A, Remove record types no longer managed if a business is spun-off or divested to another company.
Automate & Support Retention Schedule
Updated Records & Information Management (RIM) policy, addressing all information regardless of location or format, and related RIM standards and SOPs on records clean-up/archiving/destruction to enforce your RRS, automate/bake it in to systems to manage retention and disposition of digital records (starting with your records management system), records coordinators in functional areas to provide records & information management guidance across business units, make sure employees are aware of your RRS and know where to find and how to use it during RIM on-boarding/training).
Read Also: 3 First Steps to RIM Transformation
Make it a Habit
Rebooting your RRS is not a one and done deal. Make sure roles and responsibilities are in place for development, implementation, regular review and modification (updated record types by functional area? Every 1-3 years for legal citations?) of your RRS.