Applying Retention Periods and Complying with (Retention) Schedules

By Roger Poole posted 10-28-2010 14:51

  

**Views expressed in this blog are my personal views and not those of my employer. Any reference to any living person or organisation, past or present, is entirely co-incidental**

This week I have penned some thoughts relating to the application of Retention Schedules which, in reality, leads us to disposition - potentially a very "scary" place to be!? No, I hear you proclaim, disposition is just the obvious finale to the document/record life-cycle... Yes I agree. However, in practice, how many of you can put your hand on your heart and say that, in your organisation, you have an efficient and prompt disposition process whereby all records as disposed of soon after reaching the end of their retention period? I, and I'm sure, anyone reading this will be interested to hear your views and experiences.

There are a number of obstacles/challenges to disposition both for physical and electronic/digital records. Many of the challenges stem from how records are archived or indexed. Clear archiving/indexing on a record by record basis will, clearly, facilitate disposition. However, in real life, how often can this be achieved?Further, you may have great processes now but what about all of those legacy records..

The following is a summary of some of the main methods used to archive records. These will (or most will) present some challenges when it comes to disposition.  

Hard copy Records

How do your staff archive their hard copy records?

  • by record type (issues - calculating destruction review date as you will have transactions for different periods)
  • by date of transaction (issues - calculating destruction review date as you will have transactions for different periods)
  • by date of archiving (issues - calculating destruction review date as you will have transactions for different periods)
  • by month/year (issues - calculating destruction review date as you will have transactions for different periods)
  • by transaction (issues - may not have sufficient volume to fill a box)

Digital (inc. system) Records

How does your IT Department archive digital/system records?

  • by system to a database
  • by system to a database - backed up to tape
  • by system to tape only
  • system feeds to a data warehouse
  • system feeds to an Enterprise Wide Document Management System

So, how do you apply retention periods to digital/systems records?

  • ignore - keep all data forever (cost and data privacy issues)
  • by date record created (a simple solution - but does not capture true retention requirements)
  • a fixed period (risk based approach) say 7 or 10 years
  • utilising a Records Management module within a Document Management system (e.g. FileNet)

 It would be great to hear of your experiences/methods!



#ElectronicRecordsManagement #ScanningandCapture #disposition #compliance #retention
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