Today there are over 6,000 U.S. Federal statutes and regulations concerning records retention and other records keeping matters. Courts and government agencies now require proof your organization has attempted to follow regulations and to demonstrate you are not concealing unfavorable information. Also, provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, call for companies to pay strict attention to records keeping procedures and require them to take immediate retention actions.
Our clients need to be prepared for the proper handling of records during litigation or government investigation. Due to a recent Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, litigation discovery is now an affirmative duty to provide information. Serious sanctions are stipulated for failure to cooperate in discovery in a very proactive way.
The fully approved Records Retention-Disposition Schedule is the core of our client’s Records Retention Program and the most effective control over the accumulation of paper records and all other forms of data and information. It is a written guideline consisting of carefully planned, systematic and consistent periods of retention governing the life span of all records owned or controlled by the your company. The schedule will identify all records series created by your company, how long it is to be kept, who is responsible and the statutes and regulations supporting the schedule.
Sample Records Retention Schedule
For a few hundred dollars, Data Storage does all the heavy lifting and legal work to reduce your expenses and liabilities quickly and efficiently with Strategic Records Retentions Scheduling.
The easiest and best place to start development of a retention schedule is at the initial inventory of new accounts coming into storage. Here are the steps in brief:
- Inventory all boxes with the identification of the record name (record series) contained in the box.
- Reconcile the inventory with the client; albeit naming and descriptions are generally incomplete at this point
- Meet with the client to "homogenize" or standardize record names, i.e., standardize accounts payable files, paid bills, and invoices to a single record series of their choice. This builds a "skeleton" retention schedule that lists all of the names of records in storage. This is the easiest place to start.
- Rank boxes in order by volume, i.e. the record series with the most boxes is given first priority for SRRS.
- Start development of the retention schedule with the top 5 – 10 record series. The 80-20 rule always exists here – 80% of the volume is contained in 20% of the record series. Experience shows that the records closest to the client’s core business are the ones with the highest volume. Patient Files in medical or dental offices and Policy Files in insurance companies are examples of core business files. Accounting records usually run a close second in volume for most businesses. Accounts Payable Vendor Invoices and Accounts Receivable Billings are examples of voluminous accounting record series.
- Full retention schedules are very time consuming to create and offer diminishing returns in terms of space, and savings. When time and budget constraints dictate, we recommend completing retention scheduling for one (1) record series at a time from the top down over the next 5 years.
- The retention scheduling will be completed by a qualified retention scheduler or CRM (Certified Records Manager) with great experience.
Strategic Records Retention Scheduling provides many valuable results to your company.
- Reduced Expenditures – Fewer boxes in storage equal smaller monthly records storage bills. The retention program builds a “back door” into the records storage process and provides greater economy.
- Improved Filing and Retrieval Efficiencies – Reducing the number and volume of non-current, inactive, and obsolete records improves retrieval efficiencies; finding files faster increases client satisfaction. The client’s pays to retain only those boxes that are necessary to keep and gets the most efficient use of their records storage dollars.
- Demonstrates Compliance with Regulations – Shows that a responsible study of the legal requirements of government agencies has been made, and that even where regulations are vague or unclear, the client has attempted to comply with the intent of such regulations.
- Demonstrates “Normal Course of Business” – Ensures that you are applying your retention-disposition schedule in an orderly, consistent and legally mandated manner in the normal course of business and in compliance with governmental regulations.
- Demonstrates your records storage systems are accurate, authentic, and trustworthy.
Call now for more information about developing a records retention schedule for your organization. 918-664-6164
 Federal Civil Procedure Rule 26. General Provisions Governing Discovery; Duty of Disclosure