On Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 8:51 AM, Paula Sutton <[log in to unmask]>

> I am updating a retention schedule for an highly regulated power company
> who has used *permanent *and *indefinite *liberally throughout their
> retention schedule. In my update I would like to change these to "life of
> asset," "life of plant," "termination + yrs." etc.
> They are wanting to see articles and case studies on why the use of
> *permanent
> *and *indefinite *should be changed.  To jump start my research, I was
> hoping that the esteemed colleagues on the listserv could point me in the
> direction of some recent articles, publications or case studies.

There are a few of us on here that routinely state the same criteria
repeatedly regarding retention:

It is based on regulatory, statutory or legal requirements, plus any known
business needs that may exceed those.

If this is a "highly regulated power company", then they must have a
regulatory agency that establishes MINIMUM requirements for the retention
of certain types of information.  *IF* somewhere along the line, someone in
a decision-making role in that organization decided to increase the
retention periods beyond what the regulators required to "Permanent", then
there should be something that documents that decision.

If anyone agreed to "Indefinite".... well, suffice to say, they painted
this organization into a HORRIBLE corner they may never be able to get out
of.  There is no end to indefinite... it's actually worse than "Permanent"
because there is NOTHING in terms of criteria that allows them to lift the

There would need to be a legal position written to modify anything retained
under this shadowy period to a lesser timeframe... and once documented, it
could then be changed.  But to do this, the records series it is applied to
should be carefully reviewed to determine if ANY OF THEM are related to any
known, or anticipated current or past litigation.  A much better tactic is
to assign a fixed retention period, then assign a "hold" or "destruction
moratorium" on the series as needed.

I'd also strongly counsel against a consultant coming in and recommending
revisions to a retention schedule unless you are willing to accept legal
responsibility for any changes you recommend. Unless you have reviewed the
regulatory agency/ies schedules and any other published orders of guidance
they have issued.  In some cases, Agencies orders cite USCs or CFRs as the
guidance that must be complied with for retention of records.

[log in to unmask]

*----Lawrence J. MedinaDanville, CARIM Professional since 1972*

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