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Developing Functional Classification and Records Retention Schedules

Every solid 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 however,  as 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

Functional classification 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 information 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’ is a quick overview of the TAB’ process for designing 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 in developing a records retention schedule, whether for electronic records, paper records, or a hybrid combination of the two, is in creating a schedule that covers all the regulatory and legal requirements, and then applying it to all your records management functions. This can be very time consuming, and requires deep RM 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 developing 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 functional classification system, which allows us to identify all your records
  • Simultaneously develop comprehensive programs outlining everything from:
    • Duplication and dispersal requirements
    • Storage and access restrictions
    • Eventual destruction of records as specified by the records retention schedule
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