Welcome back to another article on improving records management
If you remember, recently we have covered:
1) The 4 best practices to avoid becoming addicted to Hoarding Read Here
2) 1 Rule to define them: Get to know Buckley Read Here
3) 1 Law to rule them all: The reach and restriction of FERPA Read Here
This week we are going to look at the impact of record retention deficiencies. Specifically, we will highlight some mistakes that public agencies make when it comes to… their records.
It all comes down to what are the basics when it comes to records retention. There of course will be different nuances for every public agency, but at a high-level:
- You must retain them
- You must secure them
- You must make them available upon request
While sounding simplistic, the execution of the above plagues many public agencies. The purpose of these records retention requirements is for transparency and accountability.
This is exactly where a California energy authority found themselves.
Reported by Lisa Hoover McGreevy, Pacific Gas and Electric is embroiled in a controversy about deficiencies in their record keeping.
In question is the public agencies knowledge and involvement in a 2010 gas line blast that killed 8 people and leveled 38 homes.
Allegedly, an executive was ordered to destroy records pertaining to the blast, as well as prior documents that analyzed the stability of the gas line in question.
Now every public agency does not have the exposure of exploding gas lines, but they all are charged with being good stewards of their records. Understanding:
- How their records are stored
- Who has touched the records and what did they do with them
- Were those records retained according to their retention schedule
Some best practices to avoid the same records deficiency pitfalls that PG&E has fallen into is to:
- Indentify your inventory. Discover what records you have and where
- Comprehend Ownership. Understand who takes responsibility of those records and when
- Secure against rash decisions. Create a checks and balances to safe guard against wrong motivation
How can you know if you have the potential to have deficiencies in your record retention?
Look around and see if you find your records still in a paper format and see it those paper records are filling up filing cabinets and Bankers Boxes.
If this is the case, your first step is to start with the end in mind. Map out each step of the records life cycle.
About the Company: Document Mountain is known as a leader in document management by companies across the globe. Document Mountain currently streamlines document related processes for hundreds of companies so that thousands of end-users can securely store and manage millions of documents on a monthly basis. To learn more about Document Mountain grab a free special report on the “6 Ways to Identify Poor Record Management for Education”, but the best way to determine if we can help your specific situation in a brief 20 minute conversation. Ready to see if we can help? Click here to schedule a brief 20 minute conversation.