Records Management Revealed – Behind the Scenes of your Information Governance Program

By: In: Records Management and Storage On: Oct 13, 2014

It’s Not Just for Kids – The Importance of Putting Legal Research on a Schedule

When you have children, one of the first things you learn, is how much better they thrive under a schedule. By planning the days and weeks, children are calmed and comforted by the routine and flow, and it is a way in which they anticipate what will or will not happen next. This consistency gives kids security, and it is also a way in which trust is fostered between kids and the adults in their lives. This is important, because children need to know what’s coming next, and alleviating unknowns reduces anxiety.

It is not at all a stretch to extrapolate this to your Information Governance program. The best thing that you can do to bring peace to your IG platform, is to have a consistent Retention Schedule supported by recent and demonstrable legal research, which is the cornerstone of your program. You can have the most well-structured Retention Schedule ever created, but if the supporting research and retention conclusions behind it are unverifiable or timeworn, what faith can be put in what is being presented?

So, the first thing to ask is, how long has it been since the legal research behind your Retention Schedule was updated?  Legal research that supports your Retention Schedule should be viewed as dynamic and ever-changing, and as a best practice should be reviewed periodically – approximately every 18 to 24 months, or in the event of major regulatory amendment – to determine the impact of legal changes upon retention periods.

The updated statutory research will reflect new legal requirements, amendments and adjustments. If you have your eye on pending regulations, you’ll also be able to see – by omission –  whether they have failed to get enacted, and therefore do not yet affect your Information Governance program. There are over 16,000 citations addressing retention of records in the United States, and within these, there are numerous recordkeeping requirements that are modified every year. It is vitally important to keep current with all these changes.

It is just common sense that inconsistency in this realm creates emotional anxiety. Regular updates to Retention Schedules provide a framework that orders one’s world, and knowing that the Retention Schedule is appropriately and consistently supported by up-to-date legal research, helps employees become more confident in the retention conclusions being provided. Ensuring that your legal research is current, is the best way to reduce and manage risk inherent in your organization’s most valued asset – its information. So go get your legal research on a schedule! The result is a more robust structure, and an alleviation of concern, that serve all well.

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About the author

Linda Joshua

Linda Joshua is a Senior Consultant with Iron Mountain Consulting. Her specialty is building core Records Management Programs and International Legal Research, and she has over 16 years of experience in the field of records and information management. Linda holds a Post Graduate degree in Records Management and Archives, and has been with Iron Mountain since 1997.