There is no easy answer.  To some extent it depends on what kind of business you are in - centralised, decentralised, regulated, etc.

As a practitioner I built one of the UK's largest RM programmes, initially from within the Group Secretary's Office (in UK company law, the Secretary is one of the statutory officers of the corporation and responsible for ensuring compliance with legal obligations) and subsequently from within an Operations Directorate.  

In the first, it was easy to make progress with the development of retention management and intellectual control through an in-house consulting unit.  In the second it was easier to get money for kit, equipment, buildings etc. because they were used to spending large sums of capital and what we needed was small by comparison.  From being 50% of the GS's budget we became 2.5% in Ops. It was very difficult, however, to get our then Director to champion the wider programme.  he could only see the cost, not the benefit which he though offered a slow ROI.

Since then as consultants we have worked with records management programmes in compliance departments, corporate counsel, central services, facilities management, corporate communications etc. depending on where the drive was coming from.  Our experience is that IT departments are better to work with than in and that people who understand risk and its impact are good friends to have.

Simple view:  go where the power is, if you can.  The programme needs a powerful champion more than a position in a particular hierarchy.  Success and profile will depend as much on your ability to sell the programme to the paymasters as on the part of the organisation in which you actually sit.

Good luck

Peter Emmerson
Emmerson Consulting Limited
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Hertfordshire  AL5 5AR

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