Export (0) Print
Expand All

Develop the file plan (Office SharePoint Server)

Updated: February 26, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2009-02-26

In this article:

The file plan is the primary records management planning document. Although file plans can differ across organizations, they typically:

  • Describe the kinds of items the organization acknowledges to be records.

  • Describe what broader category of records the items belong to.

  • Indicate where records are stored.

  • Describe retention periods for records.

  • Delineate who is responsible for managing the various types of records.

About records, active documents, and archived documents

Before you can determine your file plan, you need to understand the differences among records, active documents, and archived documents.

  • Records   These are documents or other physical or electronic entities in an organization that serve as evidence of activities or transactions performed by the organization. They must be retained for some time period so they can be produced if needed, such as for regulatory or legal discovery.

    When an active document is declared to be a record, it is moved or copied to a protected place such as a physical vault or an electronic records repository, and it is assigned a retention period that specifies how long the organization will keep it. (Note that the retention period could be permanent, meaning that the record would be retained indefinitely.) When a record's retention period is over, it is either disposed of by a records manager or moved to an archive for safekeeping as a document of historical interest.

  • Active documents   These are documents in use, such as the e-mail messages in an information worker's inbox, the printed product specifications on someone's desk, the documents in a document library, or the pages on a corporate Web site. It is expected that active documents will change over time, be copied and shared, and generally move about the organization.

    Active documents may be declared as records if they serve as evidence of an activity or transaction performed by your organization. For example, if your organization provides a service that includes delivering content to a customer, then that content becomes a record of the delivery of the service and a copy of the document should be retained. Some types of active documents will never become records; for example, you might not classify an e-mail sent among coworkers to agree on where to meet for lunch as a record.

    At some point in a document's life cycle, it stops being active. For example, when a deliverable document is presented to a customer, it might no longer be necessary to keep managing this content as an active record. But if the document is a record, it should be saved and protected for some retention period.

  • Archived documents   These are documents that are no longer active but are not records (either because they no longer have to be retained or because they were never classified as records). Archived documents are kept by an enterprise for non-legal reasons such as for historical preservation.

Determine what is a record

Determining which active documents in your organization might be declarable as records requires the collaboration of records managers, lawyers, compliance officers, and content managers. Note that, even if your enterprise is not in a highly regulated industry, there are general laws (such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002) that your records managers need to be aware of that might obligate your enterprise to retain records. Along with general business laws, you need to evaluate legal requirements specific to your enterprise.

It is beyond the scope of this article to provide more than general information about how to determine what is a record in your organization. Most likely, your enterprise is already doing some form of records management and has filled most of the records management roles you need, and you might already have a taxonomy of records.

Generally, to determine what are records in your organization:

  1. Understand your enterprise's legal obligations and business needs.

  2. In a collaborative effort across the divisions of your organization, analyze active document usage.

  3. Develop a list of active document types that should become records. For example, you may determine that the following should be retained as records:

    • Contracts to rent corporate space.

    • Documents related to employees' benefits.

    • Documents related to product research and development.

  4. Categorize the records.

Worksheet action

This is useful because records in the same category often have the same retention periods and might require equivalent treatment in other ways. You can use the Record categories worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73300&clcid=0x409) to record the results of your research.

Here is a sample worksheet:

Records Record category Description Sites

Benefit plans, insurance plans, pension plans

Employee Benefit Descriptions

Descriptions of all employee benefit plans.

http://example

Payroll timesheets, supplementary payroll information

Payroll Records

Summaries of hours worked, overtime, and salary paid.

http://example

Vendor invoices

Invoices

Records of goods or services purchased from vendors.

http://example

Product surveys, questionnaires, training manuals, training videos

Training Materials

Provides internal or external training.

http://example

Shipping forms, shipping reports

Shipping Records

Documents the shipment of materials.

http://example

Press releases, newspaper articles

Press Releases

Public relations information about products and services.

http://example

Emergency contact sheets, medical plan enrollment forms, resumes, benefits status reports

Personnel Records

Records of individuals' employment histories and related personnel actions.

http://example

Complete the file plan

After determining which documents should be retained as records and creating a set of record categories, complete your file plan by defining retention periods for each record category, indicating how to dispose of records when their retention periods have expired and supplying other information such as the primary records manager for each record type and the media in which the record is stored.

Here is a completed sample file plan:

Records Description Media Record category Retention Disposition Contact

401k plans

Description of employee benefit plan.

Web pages

Employee Benefit Plans

X years

None

Reshma Patel

Insurance plans

Description of employee insurance plan.

Print

Employee Benefit Plans

X years

None

Reshma Patel

Pension plans

Description of employee pension plan.

Print

Employee Benefit Plans

X years

None

Reshma Patel

Payroll timesheets

Summaries of hours worked, overtime, and salaries paid.

Electronic documents

Payroll Records

X years

Destroy

Reshma Patel

Supplementary payroll information

Summaries of sick time, vacation time, and other non-salary payroll items.

Electronic documents

Payroll Records

X years

Destroy

Reshma Patel

Vendor invoices

Records of goods or services purchased from vendors.

Print

Invoices

X years

Destroy

Eric Lang

Product surveys

Customer satisfaction survey.

Web pages

Survey Materials

X years

Archive

Molly Dempsey

Questionnaires

Questionnaire to determine customer demographics.

Print

Survey Materials

X years

Archive

Molly Dempsey

Training manuals

Hard-copy training content.

Print

Training Materials

X years

Destroy

Molly Dempsey

Training videos

Video training content.

Video

Training Materials

X years

Destroy

Molly Dempsey

Shipping forms

Configure the shipment of materials.

Print

Shipping Materials

X years

Destroy

Eric Lang

Shipping reports

Document the shipment of materials.

Electronic spreadsheets

Shipping Materials

X years

Destroy

Eric Lang

Press releases

Releases about products and services.

Electronic documents

Public Relations Information

X years

Archive

Molly Dempsey

Newspaper articles

News about products and services.

Print

Public Relations Information

X years

Archive

Molly Dempsey

Emergency contact sheets

Employee information.

Electronic documents

Personnel Records

X years

Destroy

Reshma Patel

Medical plan enrollment forms

Employees' sign-up forms for health plans.

Electronic documents

Personnel Records

X years

Destroy

Reshma Patel

Resumes

Resumes received.

Mixed

Personnel Records

X years

Destroy

Reshma Patel

NoteNote:

The above example is a sample and not a recommendation of any particular file plan settings. No retention periods are supplied to reinforce that this is an example and not a recommendation of any records management policy.

Worksheet

You can use the following worksheet with this article to help plan your deployment:

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007.

Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft