Leveraging IRBV Identification Beyond Immediate Compliance

With the March 2015 deadline for compliance with Treasury Board Secretariat’s (TBS) Directive on Recordkeeping looming, GC departments are finalizing their efforts to do their due diligence. This, though, should be just the start of departments’ ongoing efforts to promote effective, efficient recordkeeping, and information resources of business value (IRBV) are a big part of this.

The Directive on Recordkeeping came into play in 2009 with the goal of “ensuring effective recordkeeping practices that enable departments to create, acquire, capture, manage and protect the integrity of information resources of business value in the delivery of Government of Canada programs and services.”

Essentially, the Directive on Recordkeeping wants GC departments to identify what information assets they have, how important they are, where they are stored, who is responsible for them, how long they must keep them, including any exceptions to the rule (ATIP, litigation, audits), when they must destroy or transfer them, documentation of recordkeeping practices, and awareness and engagement of employees.

The result of this exercise should be a complete IRBV inventory – how can it be leveraged? The IRBV inventory is a great first step, but maximizing its usefulness to your department is a matter of determining how best to how to best take advantage of all the useful information you have gathered. These are only a few ideas on how to leverage IRBV – feel free to comment below if you have any more ideas!

1. Use your IRBV inventory as the skeleton of your information architecture

The IRBV inventory is one of the key inputs into building an Information Architecture (IA) for an electronic document records management system (EDRMS). You have now captured your functions, activities, organizational unit/Office of Primary Interest related to your IRBVs, it is time to use that information in building your IA.

 2. Use your IRBV inventory for Retention and Disposition

Develop a Records Management (RM) classification scheme (big bucket retention approach) that links organizational business activities, and their associated IRBVs, with records management business rules.  A big bucket retention approach will lower the cost of custodianship by reducing complexities and streamlining training time and periodic maintenance of schedules, make it easier for technology tools to classify content for retention, and improve the likelihood of authorization for disposition as there is greater confidence that content has been classified accurately and consistently.

3. Use your IRBV inventory to help identify key metadata terms and values

Analyze your IRBV inventory to assist in the development of a taxonomy for an EDRMS. You have already gathered pertinent information on IRBVs that could be used as metadata in your IA to relate your information across systems in order to manage their retention and disposition. Potential elements such as document type, function, and subjects such as program might also go a long way to help identify documents considered to be “IREVS”.

4. Use your IRBV inventory to identify gaps, develop priorities, and implement processes

The IRBV inventory was created through analysis of business functions, and processes, as well as through consultation with employees. Further analysis of the IRBV inventory can highlight gaps within the organization or indicate areas that the department may need to strengthen – this can be done through a risk analysis.

5. Use your IRBV inventory to strengthen IM relationships within your department

You now have a knowledgeable team of information management professionals – use them! They can be the source of extensive knowledge of the functions, activities, and IRBVs of the department. Very often, the IRBV exercise will be the first of its kind to link document types with organizations, functions, owners, and retention periods. This information, gathered with significant efforts, could be of great interest to other groups within a department including Information Architecture, IT, Client Engagement, as well as Senior Management.


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