Let’s face it, we all like processes that make things easier, or at least the easiest version of a process. When we destroy records, there are all sorts of checks we need to do and authorisations we need and ticks, and signatures and stamps … ok maybe not real stamps. One part of that is to get endorsement from your boss (i.e. CEO or their authorised delegate) to actually go ahead with the destruction. This is usually to get final sign off that the records aren’t needed anymore by the business or for legal purposes etc. and so on.
So, one way you can make it all easier is to set up a standing endorsement for particular groups of records. We have advice on the website about standing endorsements, but we thought it would make it easier if we gave you some examples of when and how it can work. So here goes…
Example 1: Digitisation
Example 1 covers when a standing endorsement is appropriate.
Joanne’s organisation is starting a big digitisation project. They have put in place a defensible digitisation plan so they can dispose of the source records afterwards. So long as they meet the criteria in the source records disposal class, they can destroy the records. But they need endorsement from their agency’s authorised delegate first.
To make it easier, they decide to set up a standing endorsement for the disposal of original paper records once they’ve been digitised. They can do a standing endorsement because all of the records will be digitised and destroyed using the same defensible process, which the authorised delegate had already signed off on as per the disposal class’s requirements. That defensible process included what records should be digitised and when, and procedures to pull out any high-risk or significant records.
Example 2: Assessing when to use a standing endorsement
A standing endorsement isn’t always a good idea. Here’s an example of when and how to assess whether to use a standing endorsement.
James works for Lamingtown Power, a government-owned corporation, and they create a lot of records every day. Many of these are routine administrative records that have been sentenced under the General Retention and Disposal Schedule. They also have a twice-yearly disposal program that usually involves a large amount of records like timesheets, leave applications, travel applications and approvals, as well as routine work health and safety inspection records.
James is the records team leader and also the authorised delegate for the agency. He looks at the records involved in the disposal program, and assesses the risks associated with those records. He thinks about the likelihood they will be subject to legal or RTI requests, whether they may still be needed by the business etc. The risks are considered minimal for most of the records involved so James thinks about a standing endorsement for the lower risk records.
However, there are some records that relate to workplace health and safety. These are higher risk records and James would rather look at those before endorsing their disposal. He decides not to include them in the standing endorsement.
A couple of months later, his team gets ready for the next disposal project. This time, they can dispose of the timesheets and forms and other records included in the standing endorsement without getting James’s approval for each group. He only needs to endorse the disposal of any WHS records, meaning the process takes much less time.
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)… just in case you were wondering.
And if you’re interested in the story of Lamingtown so far, you can check out the other blogs here.