Ideally, the retention and disposal schedule is applied at the time that the record is created. This works for physical and electronic files.
Not since I worked for the Department of Maori Affairs last century have I come across an organisation that does this. It did make the work a lot simpler.
So… what to do when you find yourself in this organisation? Here is what the Flying Filing Squad does
- Read all the background information about the organisation
- Read and memorise the General Disposal Authorities (GDAs) – kidding!
- Read the retention and disposal schedule and report
- Start at the beginning of the list (normally on excel) and apply the schedules
During that process, we
- use the filtering function to gather together files that are in the same data set – this does speed things up.
- Use colour coding to keep track of bits and pieces
- Insert a “FFS Unique ID” column and number each line. This means that we can sort the list in any way and yet get it back to the way it was.
- Insert a “FFS Comments” column and place our comments there. Very hand for the person doing the QA to read what the Squad member was thinking when the applied the schedule