If you’ve attended one of the Records Management trainings you know how important it is to organize your files, records (both physical and electronic) based on the records retention schedule. Here are two out of the four tips on how you can make small changes to your filing system that will directly impact your efficiency in disposing of state records.
1.File documents in one location.
- Did you create or inherit a filing system in which there are records spread all across the office or better yet in another building entirely? In these cases it’s difficult to keep track of what needs to be disposed because your probably not even sure where all of the record copies are.
- Records spread across an office are one thing, but old records that are held in a different location create a whole other problem. If your department has records held in Ferguson, the basement/cage of the UC or Mountainside, you have actually created a much larger problem for yourself.
Records Management means that you will not have old records that are falling out of filing cabinets or needing to be stored off site. If you run out of room for your files, you are not accurately managing them. Don’t assume that one day it’ll be someone else’s problem later on.
- SOLUTION: Before you can move forward with anything else, you need to track down all of your department’s files, classify them, and begin purging. I (Kayla Waggoner) would love to help you with this process! Don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions.
2. Do not mix retention period inside filing folders, both physical or electronic.
- When it comes time to dispose of some of your records, if you have multiple retention periods in one folder it makes it harder to just dispose of it. As an example, many departments probably have a folder dedicated to Student Files. In that student file folder you will probably have their transcripts, degree plans, major assignments, exam grades, and maybe even email correspondence between the department and said student.
- Here’s that list again with the current retention periods attached:
- Transcripts – other colleges (for those who are enrolled) – AC+5 (AC = Graduation)
- Student Degree Plans – AC+3 (AC = Graduation)
- Major Assignments or Student papers have varying retention periods. These have to be classified individually. Really it’s the grade or other personalized student information that matters. However, important student works might need to be archived.
- Exam Grades – 1 year (currently).
- There are lots of other things that could be included in a student file. The point is, from the list we have currently you’ll be shredding once a year from just a portion of the folder, and then again 3 and 5 years after the student graduations.
- Purchase a multiple sectioned file folder so that all of the individual student’s information may remain in one place, but will not give you a headache when it comes time to shred the documents.
- Do not print the documents. You can find a lot of the student information online or a quick call to the office of the Deans or the Registrar’s office will provide that information. If you do not have a copy printed or saved electronically then you don’t have to worry about it.
- Save all of these documents online so that they are much easier to delete when the time comes. When putting them online make sure and put the retention code next to the title as a constant reminder to yourself.
Follow me on to the next post for two more tips.