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Subject: Re: Records Policy?
From: Peter Kurilecz <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Peter Kurilecz <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 21 Jan 2005 22:53:21 -0500
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On Fri, 21 Jan 2005 08:41:33 -0600, Lamont, Laura D [CC]
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Does anyone have an official policy on the retention of "general
> business records"?

a search on Google for the exact term "general business records"
turned up 279 hits. The problem is that in the majority of the sites I
checked general business records were exactly that general. a catch
all phrase.

> We define general business records as "electronic
> non-record or working files, created or received for general business
> use but not required for record retention purposes".

Patti Kraatz wrote: "What you call General, we call
"reference/resource" or "transitory"
records. "

Based upon your description I agree with Patti. Rather than calling
them general business records call them reference or resource
materials. The above definition leaves it up to the individual
employee to determine whether or not they are required for retention
purposes. The retention purpose should be determined in part by the
business process/function that uses or creates the records.
I would not lump working files into the equation as I associate
working files with specific records series. If you do aggregate
"working files" into this series you run a serious risk of staff
destroying important materials. This was one of the failures of the
Arthur Andersen RM programs. AA did not have a strong definition of
what 'working files' were, leaving up to the individual managers to
make that determination.

>  The powers that be
> are currently discussing whether these documents require a stated policy
> for review and deletion.

I agree that a more explicit policy needs to be established for these
items including a better definition and possibly explicit examples.
Also the items associated with  this grouping should be clearly marked
as "reference" or what ever.

Peterk

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