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Erecords & Print Records Retention and Disposal, Part 2: Best Practices

Close-Up of a Cardboard Banker's BoxI have a ritual every January – cleaning out and shredding personal and business records that are no longer needed or legally required. Of course, as in any home or organization, there are some records, such as the title to a home, a birth certificate, record of incorporation and other documents that must be kept much longer or indefinitely.

ARMA International has published Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP) which offers much useful information for assessing how your organization is effectively organizing its records.

Two sections cover retention and disposition and offer metrics on how to measure the effectiveness of organizational information governance.

GARP provides guidance for establishing and operating a retention and disposition program as a component of a complete records and information management (RIM) program. It covers general principles, including:

  1. targeting a specific level for each of the principles
  2. determining the level of current practices and identifying the gap between the current practices and the desired level for each principle.
  3. assessing the risk(s) to the organization and the opportunities for greatest benefit.
  4. determining retention periods for all records on all media and in all formats
  5. developing priorities and assign accountability for suitable remediation and improvement strategies and processes
  6. implementing a process to ensure continuous improvement through routine monitoring and periodic assessments

Once implemented, a solid information retention and disposition program will help ensure compliance with operational, legal/regulatory, fiscal, archival, and other requirements by defining:

  1. periods of time for which records are to be maintained
  2. appropriate methods for disposition of records
  3. who will pre-approve record destruction or deletion
  4. measures to be taken when disposition must be suspended

Depending on organization type (government, insurance, private, etc.), proof of authorization destruction may be required.

How is your organization doing? Are you in compliance?

Part 1 of this article is here.


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