This week we continue on TAB’s Roadmap to Compliance with a look at records retention schedules–what they are, why you need one, and how they work.
Retention schedules form the second pillar of the Corporate Governance model, and this is the ‘why’ component of the Roadmap.
What is a retention schedule?
A records retention schedule establishes how long an organization needs to keep its records as they progress through their organizational life cycle, including whether records are ultimately destroyed or archived. Retention schedules must be applied to each activity identified and documented within the functional classification system developed in the first step of the Roadmap.
Why do I need one?
A records retention schedule helps control the growth of records by providing an approved timeline for the disposal of records at appropriate periods. In fact implementing a sound records retention program can reduce storage costs by up to one-third or more. And reducing the size of your active collection helps facilitate and accelerate the day-to-day retrieval of records.
It also helps minimize the risks and liabilities that can be associated with document retention. Established records retention methods can insure that you meet all legal and administrative requirements and limit your exposure to litigation and its scope of discovery.
How it works
We conduct extensive legal research into the legal requirements that pertain to your business activities and resulting records. Legal citations and operational requirements are then evaluated and retention periods are applied to the activities identified in your functional classification system.
Mapping the retention schedule to the classification system allows for the identification of all your records, what you have and where they are. At the same time, we develop comprehensive programs outlining everything from duplication and dispersal requirements, through storage and access restrictions to the eventual destruction of records no longer deemed vital as outlined by a retention schedule.
The next step is to develop corporate policies and procedures, which we will examine in more detail in an upcoming blog.