GRDS Renewal: challenge five

We’ve identified five key General Retention and Disposal Schedule (GRDS) challenges that you can read about in this Discussion Paper^. We need your help to shape the GRDS!

Challenge 5: GRDS impact

Each time we issue a new version of the GRDS, it creates work for our agencies because it has to be uploaded into a recordkeeping system or records have to be resentenced. However, if we don’t update the GRDS, it can soon become outdated and records may be kept for longer or shorter than they should be. Can you see our dilemma?

Challenge 5


To help us with this challenge, we would like to know what impact does issuing a new GRDS have on your agency? Does it create a lot of extra work for you? Do you resentence records when a new GRDS comes out, or leave it until the destruction date is due? Should we allow you to continue using old versions of the GRDS, even if records should be kept for longer or shorter periods of time? What would be the risks if we didn’t resentence records? Do you have to introduce work-arounds to implement the GRDS – and would you be willing to share them with us?

Do you have a preferred format for the GRDS to be released in?

Feedback from some of our users shows that due to changes in formatting, new scripts had to be written to enable the previous GRDS to be uploaded into some systems. If so, is this a problem with the changing function/activity structure or is it the Word/Excel versions in which the schedule is released? The GRDS is currently provided in PDF, DOC, XLS and XML formats. Is this enough, or are there other formats we could develop and provide for you?  Would a different layout or structure be any easier to implement into an eDRMS or business system?

Do you routinely dispose of records in business systems that have reached the end of their retention periods?

We know anecdotally that records in business systems aren’t routinely being disposed of. Why is this? Is it because of the misconception that storage is cheap? Is it because the GRDS is difficult to implement in a business system? Help us to help you solve some of these problems by sharing your experiences.

Is the index in the GRDS still relevant?

In this age of Google and word searches, is an index to the GRDS still necessary? Do you create your own with each new version so that you can use words relevant to your organisation? Should we remove the index altogether?

Thank you for your feedback so far – we look forward to hearing more from you as we aim to improve the GRDS for everyone.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from QSA’s Government Recordkeeping team.

We look forward to continuing this discussion with you in 2015!

A/Director Government Recordkeeping Josephine Marsh at our 'Keeping Records Together' even on 17 December, 2014.
A/Director Government Recordkeeping Josephine Marsh at our ‘Keeping Records Together’ celebration on 17 December, 2014.

^Please note: the GRDS Renewal project has finished. The new version of the GRDS was released on 1 September 2016.


10 thoughts on “GRDS Renewal: challenge five

Add yours

  1. As a Senior Records Officer with Health Support Qld (a commercialised business unit of the Dept of Health) I
    only arrange resentencing of records at the time of review or destruction.

    I never did see the logic in having to reasign new retention and disposal codes when they could have been ligitimately destroyed under an old code. The reason most records are held longer than required in our area
    is due to the lack of resources to enable the timely destruction of resources,

  2. My suggestion is to keep the Index, it allows us to quickly search the document based on single word uses. It also picks it up if you ‘Ctrl F’.
    For someone who is still new to managing Records, I visit this section as part of my daily use.

  3. At the moment there is an impact due to the GRDS numbers changes but normally it is not overly labour intensive.
    As soon as there is an update issued we implement as soon as possible and note in our system the change date as RTI often will want to know which schedule we used to destroyed documents.
    Don’t see the sense in using a superseded schedule. We stopped quoting versions so all we need to do is update any changed retentions. our assumption is that we are using the most current version at all times.

  4. HI QSA

    I think one of the challenges around R&D all round is making the process more agile. For example, using the model of how software development has changed from lots of work for an update once every 3 years, to software as a service that changes every few months.

    Personally I’d rather see more frequent, smaller changes to the GRDS – perhaps quarterly to reduce the impact. This turns tweaking things into a predictable BAU task as opposed to something that pops up once every so often.

    I’ve often been told i have dreamy ideas, although a long term vision, in my perfect world, would be a for a retention and disposal portal of sorts that is available across the public sector. If the GRDS is available in consistent machine readable format over time via such a mechanism, theoretically it should be possible to have plugins for RK & business systems to be developed that allow systems to automatically update themselves with new schedules. How often it gets updated would matter even less then! Thinking aloud here, I guess the need for that in part depends on how well eDRMS systems convert to ‘recordkeeping as a service’ systems that is being talked about within the industry.

    Such a portal could also make Functional Disposal Schedules more of a living list that can be constantly updated and adjusted as needed as opposed to the book like format that, by its very nature almost suggests a big piece of work to change. It would be great to have a web based system for disposal schedules that allowed you to view schedules approved for use in other agencies and at the press of a button populate that schedule and its appraisal notes into your own living list- with modifications or without, and workflow through any necessary approval processes at your end.

    Food for thought 🙂

    1. Thanks Nick. ‘Dreamy ideas’ often inspire change for the better which is what we are hoping to achieve with this GRDS renewal project. We are currently exploring options for online schedule development systems which would make it easier to see appraisal decisions across agencies. Would like the opportunity to talk through these ideas with you.

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