A few weeks ago, I sought advise from the list regarding  a change in
policy in our organization.  Rather than seeking signatures for
disposition of records at the end of their lives, we would advise users (3
times) that records are due for destruction and leave it to them if they
want to put a "hold" on them.  There were many responses and I said I
would "capsulize" them.

Here goes:

"Tell them you will ship the boxes to them if you don't hear by a certain
date" (I really liked this one)

"I confess that I have never been able to fully understand the lust with
which records destruction is pursued by so many members of the profession.
 But I don't understand blithely taking the risks associated with an
action of such consummate totality as the unauthorized destruction of
records.  It's like bank robbery; a pretty good way to make a
living...until they catch up with you"

"Depends on your companies situation.  That system will work if you have
good relationships  and reporting from your tax/legal dept."

"Show your face in someone's office to check on status can get quick
compliance or action"

"Have tax do the first review, then your attorney and then forward to the
respective department for time about 6 weeks"

"Print bright coloured destruction notices....set your
priorities....strike a proper balance between enforcement and
service.....Make it their problem, not yours"

"I have sent e-mail notices with the destruction listing.  Destruction was
assumed unless someone notified us of a good reason to hold the
records...Your org's culture will dictate what really works....Find out
from the end users what they expect."

"Sign-off was required by the records manager, the dept. head and the
company  destroying the records.  It may be overkill on the signatures,
but CYA was my rationale"

"Your proposal  clearly demonstrates due diligence and provides the
relevant party with an appropriate amount of time.....It would be good to
have a second party review before destruction"

"The main danger with the policy is that your customers may believe you
are destroying records without their permission......some customers may
withdraw form whatever RM system is in place.  If your entity is more
centralized and stable, with a stronger, more consistent "rules"
environment, your policy has more of a chance of success."

" A destruction advisory committee oversees destruction, but sometimes we
are not told an audit is being done. If nothing is pending the destruction
authorization is signed.....our dept. managers sets the retention, they
agree on the time, without a valid hold the record is gone on that date"

"You have the right idea, the retention schedule is authorization to
dispose of records.....a reminder is good courtesy."

"When records are transferred to us, we will destroy them as soon as
legally possible......It is the users responsibility to notify us  if a
lawsuit is pending....If a dept. is adamant about storing records longer
with reasonable justification, they can pay the storage costs."

"I  agree with the policy....if a delay occurs there needs to written
authorization for it....Put in writing that if no response is heard by a
certain date, it will be assumed that you do not object to destruction."

"An approved retention schedule is grounds for destruction.  Advise as
good customer service, look for holds, otherwise destroy"

Well, this is such an interesting cross section.  Thanks to all who took
the time to respond!!

John Annunziello
Records Information Specialist
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
5 Shoreham Drive
Downsview, Ontario M3N 1S4
(416) 661-6600 ext. 5272
fax:  (416) 661-6898
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