Create a file plan to manage records in SharePoint Server

Summary: Learn how to create a file plan to identify what information that you will keep as records.

The file plan is the primary records management planning document in SharePoint Server. 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 kinds of records.

This article describes the contents of a file plan and summarizes how to create a file plan for your organization. The article also directs you to a worksheet in which you can record the file plan.

Identify kinds of records

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 that might obligate your enterprise to keep records. Along with general business laws, you must evaluate legal requirements that are 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 that 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 how active documents are used.

  3. Develop a list of the kinds of documents that should become records. For example, you might 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. Records in the same category often have the same retention periods and might require similar treatment in other ways.

Record the information that you collected. Record the kind of record, the category that records of this kind belong to, and a brief description of the kind of record.

The following is a sample worksheet:

Kind of record Record category Description
Benefit plans, insurance plans, pension plans
Employee Benefit Descriptions
Descriptions of all employee benefit plans.
Payroll timesheets, supplementary payroll information
Payroll Records
Summaries of hours worked, overtime, and salary paid.
Vendor invoices
Invoices
Records of goods or services purchased from vendors.
Product surveys, questionnaires, training manuals, training videos
Training Materials
Provides internal or external training.
Shipping forms, shipping reports
Shipping Records
Documents the shipment of materials.
Press releases, newspaper articles
Press Releases
Public relations information about products and services.
Emergency contact sheets, medical plan enrollment forms, resumes, benefits status reports
Personnel Records
Records of individuals' employment histories and related personnel actions.

Complete the file plan

After you determine which documents should be retained as records and after you create a set of record categories, complete your file plan by providing additional information about each kind of record. Indicate the following:

  • How long each kind of record should be retained.

  • How records should be disposed of when the retention period expires.

  • Who is the primary records manager for records of this kind.

  • What kind of media are records of this kind stored in.

The following 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
Kathi Flood
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
Configuration of materials shipments
Print
Shipping Materials
X years
Destroy
Eric Lang
Shipping reports
Documentation of 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

Note

The example earlier in this section is a sample. It is not a recommendation of any particular file plan settings. To reinforce that this is an example and not a recommendation of any records management policy, no retention periods are supplied.