Archive for October 29, 2015

Archiving and Making Records Obsolete

Archiving and making records obsolete are intricate to a Records Retention Plan. There is a difference between archived versus obsolete records.
• Archived records have been identified as being needed for historical or permanent purposes. An archived record would be moved to an inactive location.
• Obsolete records, on the other hand, are defined as no longer relevant or needed. Often, the record has been replaced by a more recent version.

Regardless of whether the record is defined as archived or obsolete, it typically should no longer be considered active and readily accessed. These files are typically moved to a separate location until it is determined they can be destroyed. This timeframe for discarding these records is defined within the Records Retention Schedule.

Need help determining which records should be made obsolete or archived? Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or to discuss how we can assist you in creating a Records Retention Plan.

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A Records Retention Schedule

A Records Retention Schedule is a document used as part of a Records Retention Plan that summarizes:
• The length of time each type of record should be retained, typically reflected in number of years
• The action that should be taken on the date identified. This could be moving the records to archive, making them obsolete, reviewing them for validity, etc.
• The frequency that action is taken for reviewing the schedule. This could be a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual review. During this review, the action to be taken on those records would be reviewed with the necessary next steps occurring.

Common challenges with a Records Retention Schedule include:
• Once the Records Retention Plan is implemented, the ongoing effort for review of the schedule does not consistently occur. The schedule should be dynamic and evaluated based on the defined timeframe.
• The action to be taken is not clearly defined. The schedule should have defined results and timeframes for success.
• Ensuring all Staff knows where the Records Retention Schedule is published and its required specifics. In order for records retention to be successful, Staff must be able to reference the requirements in order to adhere to them.

If you have a records management system, it may have a schedule included that can assist in ensuring the success of your Records Retention Plan.

Aldridge Kerr can assist you in establishing your Records Retention Schedule. Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or for assistance.

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Organizing the Records to Establish Retention

In our most recent newsletter, we discussed Records Retention Management. Addressing records retention can be overwhelming. So, as an organization looks to begin defining the requirements around records management, we recommend you organize your records (i.e., files) based on any of the following:
• Functional Area (i.e., Accounting, Operations, Legal, Information Technology),
• Type of record (i.e., Policies and Procedures, forms, reports),
• Process (i.e., accounts payable, accounts receivable, social media communication)

Using any of the approaches outlined above, you can begin to define how long your organization wants to retain each. EXAMPLE: The length of time to retain Accounting records may be shorter than how long you want to retain Legal records.

Organizing the types of records is a good foundation for building a Records Retention Plan. Look for more hints related to records retention in future blogs.

Need help with building your Records Retention Plan? Contact Charlene Aldridge at 972.447.9787 or for assistance.

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