Think before you fling

Date: 13-Nov-09
Author: Michelle Cook

The Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and the Records Management Association of Australasia (RMAA) caution business to consider the implications of indiscriminate ‘flinging' of files in Planet Ark's upcoming File Fling.

‘Recycling paper is an appropriate and sustainable activity everyone can participate in but just be careful what you fling,' says Kate Walker, CEO of the RMAA.

‘Of particular concern is assuming files that have not been looked at recently or that are several years' old are no longer valuable'

Before organisations fling, they need to ask:

  • Does the recycling service provide secure destruction or is there a possibility for this information to become available to competitors or be of assistance in identity fraud or Privacy Act breaches?
  • Would the inclusion of previously used paper in new files cause confusion about the content of the file?
  • Are these files required to meet legal obligations? This includes the requirement to retain records to support Tax claims for a period of 5 to 7 years
  • Are these files required to prove decisions or actions taken that could have bearing on a liability issue? This could include records of an office fit out 3 years ago.
  • Are these files of value to the business because they can provide data to support future marketing campaigns or develop business plans?

The ASA and RMAA have a range of resources available to enable businesses and individuals assess their records to ensure they do not leave themselves vulnerable as a consequence of loss of useful or vital information.

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