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Developing Functional Classification and Records Retention Schedules

Every good records management program is built on two crucial components: a functional classification system and a records retention schedule. Both are critical if you want to get all the benefits of good records management.

Creating and implementing them is a challenge for many organizations though, because the process can be resource intensive. That’s where TAB comes in. Our consultants have extensive experience developing functional classification systems and records retention schedules across all industries and verticals.

Functional Classification

This is a system which allows you to properly organize your records based on what your business does. This helps with everything from managing risk and compliance to improving access and collaboration, as well as reducing unnecessary duplication of documents.

Creating the right system means taking a holistic view of your RM program with respect to your business activities and the records, both paper and electronic, that support them.

Here’s a quick overview of Jeter’s process for creating a functional classification system:

  • Interview staff and review existing material to learn more about the organization and the information it creates
  • Identify and name unique business activities
  • Group activities together based on functions
  • Apply the resulting functional classification system to every piece of information that is created

Records Retention Schedules

The challenge when it comes to creating a records retention schedule, whether you are using electronic records, paper records, or a hybrid of the two, lies in creating a schedule that covers all the regulatory and legal requirements, and then applying it to all your RM functions. This can be very time consuming, and requires deep records management knowledge, especially if you need to apply it to RM software or an electronic content management system.

Here’s a quick overview of our approach to creating a records retention schedule:

  • Start with extensive research into the relevant legal requirements
  • Evaluate legal citations and operational requirements
  • Apply retention periods to activities identified in your functional classification system
  • Map the resulting retention schedule to the classification system, which allows us to identify all your records
  • Comprehensive programs are simultaneously developed outlining everything from:
    • Duplication and dispersal requirements
    • Storage and access restrictions
    • Eventual destruction of records as outlined by a records retention schedule
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