As promised, it is the end of May and I am finishing up my series on the relationship between ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP) and the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM). I am cheating a bit because I am tackling two principles in one post. The reason being is because even though retention and disposition are integral parts of the IGRM I do not believe they should be principles on their own. Going against GARP might be RIM blasphemy, but sometimes a little blasphemy is necessary (see also: Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the Church of Wittenburg doors in 1517).

A principle is defined by Google as:

1. A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning

2. A rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior

Retention and disposition are not truths, rules or beliefs, but they are the behavior that information governance carries out. A principle can be considered a fundamental source, basis, quality or attribute and with retention and disposition you have the fundamental action but those actions are separate from what guides them. To better understand this, let’s take a look at how GARP defines them and what the IGRM states about them as well:

Principle of Retention

An organization shall maintain its records and information for an appropriate time, taking into account its legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, and historical requirements.

Principle of Disposition

An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records and information that are no longer required to be maintained by applicable laws and the organization’s policies.

When I read both of these definitions, the Level 5 Transformation Maturity of the principle of compliance was screaming at me, especially as it states, “The organizations stated goals related to compliance have been met.” What are those stated goals, but nothing more then retention and disposition. The way I connected these dots is because both retention and disposition are meaningless if they do not comply with legal requirements and operational policies.

It is important to note that compliance is not the only principle that comes into play here. I’ve stated before that these Principles are interconnected, but with these two in particular it is important to note that these are actions guided by the other Principles. The IGRM expounds upon the role of transparency in retention and disposition. If you read between the lines it becomes clearly apparent that retention and disposition is the natural outflow of all the other Principles as well and for the sake of space I will not go into detail on that (trust me, I started to, but it was getting long winded).

What else is interesting about these two, is that for effective information governance (i.e. Level 5 Transformation Maturity) they both look past the traditional scope of records management. Transformation Maturity for disposition covers all records and information, so disposition isn’t just for what is in records schedule. Transformation Maturity for retention is holistic and applied to all information in organization and not just official records in records schedule. The risk of indictment and not being in compliance expands past the scope of records which is why information governance is about more than just records management.

For more information you can read, “How the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM) Complements ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP),” as well as ARMA International’s The Principles: Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principle of Retention and Disposition.

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