Developing Retention Schedules for E–Records

Robert Smallwood; edited by Paula Lederman, MLS

With limited resources, today's records manager is faced with an onslaught of increasingly pressing and complex compliance and legal demands. At the core of these demands is the ability of the organization to demonstrate that it has legally defensible records management practices that can hold up in court. Organizations can legally destroy records—but will have a greater legal defensibility if the authority to destroy the records is identified on a retention schedule, the retention requirements have been met, the records are slated for destruction in the normal course of business, so long as there are no existing legal or financial holds, and all records of the same type are treated consistently and systematically.

The guidance in this chapter applies generally to records in all formats, but also contains specific information for the retention and disposition of electronic records.

The foundation of legally defensible records management practices is a solid information governance (IG) underpinning, where policies and processes, supported and enforced by information technology (IT), help the organization meet its externally mandated legal requirements and internally mandated IG requirements for handling and controlling information.

A complete, current, and documented records retention program reduces storage and handling costs and improves searchability for records by making records ...

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