Makin’ it work… Implementing a schedule

Using a schedule isn’t just about sentencing records to find out how long to keep them… ok maybe it kind of is. But there are loads of ways to do that depending on how you do recordkeeping in your agency. Some agencies import a schedule into their eDRMS or business system, others use the paper version, and some create an implementation version to make things easier.

Now regardless of whether you want to import a schedule (or two) into some kind of computer system, an implementation version is a great tool to have as you can also use it to outline when, why and how the schedule(s) was implemented in a certain way.

So, let’s look at examples of how James, the Records Team Leader at Lamingtown Power, and Katie, the Manager of Records and Information Management at Lamingtown Shire Council (you might remember her from our previous blog on naming records) implemented their schedules

Use the GRDS Lite

Let’s start with the GRDS Lite. It’s a bit different from the full GRDS.

James is sentencing research records for his agency. He knows that in the GRDS he needs to keep significant research permanently but other research and short-term research only need to be kept for 5 years and 2 years under classes 1047 and 1048 respectively.

To streamline his disposal process, James sentences the significant research under 1046 of the GRDS and all other research under 1288 in the GRDS Lite. This means James can destroy all other and short-term research records in bulk at the same time rather than at different times. This makes it a lot easier for James to manage these records and a lot less work at destruction time.

When to create an implementation version of a schedule

Katie knows her local council creates diverse records supporting lots of different business activities.

She sees that some records made by corporate areas support the local government, like HR or finance. Other records are made by business areas unique to local governments like rubbish collection or dog registrations.

When Katie looks at the available schedules, she sees the General Retention and Disposal Schedule can be used for her corporate records and the Local Government Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule can be used for sentencing records that are only created by local governments.

Katie decides to sentence her records using:

To make life easy, she works with Ginny, the Senior Information Officer, to merge the 3 schedules together into an implementation version compatible with the different business systems and applications the Council uses.

How to create an implementation version

TO START…

Kate and Ginny looked at what information in the 3 schedules they need for the implementation version and what they can and can’t change, like the retention period, disposal action and trigger, and the date the record class was authorised.

As they don’t need all of the record classes from each of the schedules, they just take the ones that they do need for the implementation version.

THEN…

They decided to use the schedule template QSA had on their website rather than create one of their own – it already had all the right fields, and the structure works for them too.

They did add their own logo and make a few changes to match their Council’s style guide (you know, fonts and stuff).

NEXT…

They added in the record classes they needed to the template. They made sure the information that couldn’t change came across correctly.

With the Local Government Sector schedule, there wasn’t a ‘date authorised’ column in the original, as it was authorised as a whole schedule not each record class like the GRDS and GRDS Lite.

So, to make it consistent, they used the authorised date from the authorised version and added that to the ‘date authorised’ column in the implementation version so it was clear when each record class was authorised.

Another thing they did when adding the Local Government record classes was amend the record class references. Because the Local Government schedule isn’t using the new disposal authorisation numbers yet, they need to amend the record class references so it works for individual record classes.

So instead of just 1.1.1 etc. they prefixed each record class reference with the QDAN, for example QDAN 480 v4 1.1.1 and so on. And for consistency, they also prefixed the GRDS and GRDS Lite classes too, so they became GRDS 1231 or GRDS Lite 1118.

They made sure that when they did that though, that all of the information remained correct so when it came time to dispose of records, they had the right disposal authorisations.

WHAT’S NEXT?…

They also needed to add some examples specific to their agency, especially as they use different terms to the GRDS.

One of the record classes they wanted to add to was ‘1284-Surveillance footage captured for a specific purpose’. They could add the examples of ‘drone footage for forestry management’ and ‘video captured on a mobile device by parks officers’, but they also wanted to add in biometric data captured as part of surveillance activities. However, after closer inspection of the record class and the information in the appraisal log, they knew that example was outside the scope of the class, so they couldn’t add it.

AND ANOTHER THING…

One of the things about their recordkeeping system is that the ‘business action completed trigger’ used in the GRDS isn’t an available option. So, they made a decision to use ‘date file inactive’ as the trigger for those types of record classes. Because of this quite significant change to the way retention is being managed, they sought approval for the implementation version from their CEO.

This did make them think though about how they document all of their decisions, including their reasoning and any risks they identified. Ginny suggested adding extra information to the preamble section about this decision and others they made so it’s all in the one document.

LAST…

To make it clear it was an implementation version and not the official version, they added a few bits of extra information to the document.

  • A watermark saying ‘implementation version’
  • Amended the preamble section to include both the fact it was an implementation version and what schedules it was based on.
    Side note – they also made some amendments so they could include the scope of the schedule, based on the 3 source schedules.
  • Made sure ‘implementation version’ was part of the title of the document
  • Added to the disclaimer on the front of the template (you know the one that goes “where printed, this reproduction…”). So now it said: “This is an implementation version based on the Local Government Sector retention and disposal schedule, the GRDS and the GRDS Lite. Where printed, this reproduction …”
  • Changed the ‘authorised date’ on the front cover of the template to ‘current as at’ date so they knew when they put it together. Also handy later if they make any changes.

DEFINITELY LAST…

They made a CSV version of it so Ginny can import the implementation schedule into the various business systems and applications the Council uses.

AND THEY’RE DONE…

Want to see what they came up with? Ok, so it’s just an extract but it has all the pertinent information – Lamingtown Shire Council Implementation Schedule {link to document}.

Use a business classification scheme (BCS) mapping tool to help sentence records

In Molly’s agency, the Keyword AAA thesaurus has been used as the basis for their file classification scheme for administrative records.

She wants to find a retention period for records of a presentation made by her agency at a community event. Following the structure used in Keyword AAA, these records have been classified under the function of Community Relations.

When she looks in the GRDS, Molly is unable to locate a function for Community Relations, but she knows that her agency has created a mapping document between the GRDS and their classification scheme. She sees that she can use the classes relating to addresses, presentations and speeches, under the External Relations function. This allows her to sentence presentations made to both members of the public and to other councils/government agencies.

More information

You can find more information about using a retention and disposal schedule on the website.

Remember, you can contact us via email, telephone, blog, Twitter.

Also, just like in the movies, all names, characters, places, and incidents portrayed in this blog post are fictitious and are not based on real people or incidents in any way (as far as we know).

And if you’re wondering about the story of Lamingtown so far, you can check out the other blogs here.

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