Records File Plan
A file plan seeks to identify how records are organized and how they may be efficiently maintained. File plans provide guidance on how to more effectively manage and organize records. The file plan helps to eliminate unnecessary files and to document records. The plan will help to decrease the following issues:
- Inactive records taking up valuable office space
- Overcrowded file cabinets
- Numerous versions of the same document
- Retrieval issues
- Continual reorganization due to staff turnovers or office reorganization
Constructing a File Plan
File plans are an attempt to provide organization to a department’s record keeping plan. The department-appointed Records Coordinator should create a file plan. While each department may have different file plans, they typically consist of the following:
- Description of document that are identified as records
- A classification of records by category
- Details about the storage system used to organize records
- Details on the retention schedule
- Distinguishing between the types of records (permanent, active, inactive, and vital).
The record description should include the following:
- The person and the office that maintains the records
- The Records Liaison Officer and/or Records Custodian
- Title of each record
- Medium (electronic, paper, digital media, etc.)
- Restrictions to access
- Status of the record
- All dates on record (retrieval date, when it was destroyed or transferred, etc.)
- Disposition Status
- Date of the record (when it was archived and current date)
- Location of records (include room number, file cabinet number, etc. when applicable)
- Description of what the record contains
- People and employees in charge of file plan
- The date when the file plan was last revised
Records File Plan Process:
The file plan process will not include:
- Investigation into personal files
- Searching data or research-related records
The file plan will include:
- Seeking to identify grant files and related documentation
- Looking at academic advising records
- Recommending record-keeping (file system) improvements
- Identifying records that have reached or exceeded their active life and documenting their need for destruction
Conducting the Inventory
The Records Coordinator should begin by visiting the supervisor of the office being inventoried. If the supervisor is unaware of the project, then the person conducting the inventory should explain what he or she is doing and why it is being done.
The Records Coordinator must have access to all of the records; although, encourage records holders to be present for the survey of their area. Always begin in the active office area before reviewing storage areas.
Use the IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY RECORDS MANAGEMENT INVENTORY WORKSHEET to document the inventory.
The records should be inventoried in a systematic manner, beginning at one part of the room and proceeding in a logical manner. Open every file drawer and box. Do not assume that the label on the box or file cabinet is accurate.
Destruction or purging of records requires pre-approval (see Request for Records Destruction Approval). Creating and maintaining documentation of records destruction is one of the responsibilities of Records Coordinators.