An answer is set out clearly in (for example) the PRO (TNA) 2002
specification for electronic records management, and likewise in MoReq.
These specifications state that the retention period for each "retention
schedule" should start at an event chosen by the Records Manager when
that retention schedule is first defined. The event can vary from
schedule to schedule (and is bound to); from memory (I encourage you to
check the details) it can be any one of:
- date the series or folder is opened;
- date the series or folder is closed;
- date the most recent record has been added;
- an arbitrary external event, such as the conclusion of litigation.
Then each series (i.e. class or folder in the PRO 2002 jargon) is
assigned one schedule, which is then inherited by default to all the
series below it in the classification scheme.
You could achieve something very similar by defining folders or classes
to be date-related (2005-2006 in your example) but only at the expense
of making it harder in future to find information if you do not know
precisely which year to look in. The additional concept of "Part" (PRO)
and "Volume" (MoReq) has been introduced partly to get around this
I hope this helps, despite its complexity. The PRO 2002 definition of
this is really quite accessible, and is rather more definitive than
From: The UK Records Management mailing list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Fraser
Sent: 29 June 2005 14:08
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Archive Dates
A question for you all.
I need to get a better understanding of the point in the records
managment process at which the dates for destruction on a record series
My belief, backed up by conversations with a few people off list, is
that the Record Series should have a single retention period applied to
it - e.g. all files in "Record Series 'X'" should be ones that need to
be retained for six years, rather than a mixture of different retention
Do I therefore determine the date for distruction based on the start
date of the Record Series - a known entity, or apply the rentention
period once the Record Series is full - which cannot be known?
Thinking out loud here, it occurs to me that one could control this by
imposing strict insistance on date ranges on Record Series - e.g.
"Record Series 'X' 2005-2006" - thus the start of the 6 year retention
period can be a known entity regardless of whether it is applied at the
start or the end of the Record Series. Does this sound reasonable?
On a similar theme; Archive dates... Since I cannot reasonably be
expected to predict how long it will take to fill a Record Series, do I
allow the individual Departmental Record Officers to determine when
archiving occurs on a basis of space requirements or redundancy?
I hope this all makes sense. Look forward to hearing your responses.
Fraser Marshall (LB Tower Hamlets)