Records are a vital resource in any organisation. They provide documentary evidence of what was done, when it was done, how it was done, by whom it was done, and often why it was done; records form the corporate memory required by an organisation to protect its rights and to defend itself in litigation. It is therefore essential that corporate records are valued as an asset and are managed properly throughout their lifecycle so that they are protected as an investment rather than allowed to become a liability.
Records retention scheduling is an important aspect of establishing and maintaining control of these corporate records yet many organisations have no retention schedule or are unable to comply with the retention schedule they have. Not only do records storage costs grow unnecessarily and exponentially but the more information an organisation retains, the greater the burden involved in finding records when needed whether for reference, compliance or evidential purposes; sifting through voluminous amounts of records to retrieve relevant documents can rapidly prove an onerous and costly challenge.
Moreover, uncontrolled retention leaves an organisation at risk of litigation or discovery, particularly with regard to documents that might legitimately have been destroyed: it is often the case that records maintained for longer than is necessary are more likely to implicate than assist.
HBCL Consultants understand that effective record retention scheduling is best achieved through alignment of retention requirements with the organisation’s records classification scheme, balancing business (or operational) and historical needs with statutory and regulatory requirements and resolving the tensions between these sometimes conflicting demands. This facilitates compliance with the retention requirements stipulated in records retention schedules and lends a holistic authority to retention schedules as a mandate to retain and destroy records.