Last month, I shared our benchmarks for completing our functional schedules project. Now I want to suggest some activities that agencies can complete between now and fall 2017 to prepare for the transition to functional schedules. If you allow 2-3 months to complete each of these tasks, you will be ready to embrace the new functional schedules when they are released in fall 2017.
- Inventory. Have each sub-unit of the agency complete an inventory of the records that are created and received by the office. (You can find a sample form here.) This activity is not looking to produce a folder-by-folder listing of what’s in every file cabinet and shared drive but instead is focused on grouping records to ensure all records series have been identified. For example,
- Shared files. In many agencies, documents are passed along from one office to another as they travel through their lifecycle. Have each sub-unit of the agency identify all such “pass-alongs” – documents that originate in one office but are passed along to at least one other office.
- File plan. You can find a sample file plan here. You will notice that there is some overlap in the information on the file plan and the inventory, with the file plan adding the element of identifying the “owner” of the records (i.e., the person/position who is responsible for the ultimate disposition of the record – be that destruction, deletion from the shared drive, or transfer to the State Archives). For all records that are unique to an office, this activity can be completed within the sub-unit of the agency. But for all shared files, this will be a collaborative step in which the agency specifies the record owner of each type of shared file. For example,
- Functions. Consider the mandated functions of your agency and determine which of the 16 functions are relevant for your agency. This activity can be completed at any time, but by waiting until the other activities are finished, you will also be able to access drafts of each of these functional schedules to aid in your evaluation of their relevance for your agency. Stay tuned to our blog to keep track of which drafts have been posted.
The trail that I’ve laid out here is most definitely an endurance event, not a sprint. But I guarantee that the efforts invested in the above activities over the course of the next year will enable a seamless transition to the new functional schedules.