ARMA’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP)
With the push for new technology to help organizations reduce the cost, time and effort spent on e-discovery, it is important to go back to the basics and focus on solid recordkeeping programs and practices. There is no question that archiving and e-discovery tools are essential to an organization's management of its ever growing electronically stored information (ESI). However, the usefulness of these tools lies in a foundation of an established recordkeeping program. A recordkeeping program is essential in managing ESI by allowing organizations to retain records that have a business purpose or are subject to regulatory/legal requirements and discarding ESI that does not need to be retained.
ARMA International, a not-for-profit professional association and the authority on managing records and information, has published generally accepted recordkeeping principles (GARP®). ARMA published GARP to foster general awareness of recordkeeping standards and principles, and assist organizations in developing records systems that comply with them.
GARP consists of eight principles:
1. Principle of Accountability
An organization shall assign a senior executive who will oversee a recordkeeping program and delegate program responsibility to appropriate individuals, adopt policies and procedures to guide personnel, and ensure program auditability.
2. Principle of Integrity
A recordkeeping program shall be constructed so the records and information generated or managed by or for the organization have a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.
3. Principle of Protection
A recordkeeping program shall be constructed to ensure a reasonable level of protection to records and information that are private, confidential, privileged, secret, or essential to business continuity.
4. Principle of Compliance
The recordkeeping program shall be constructed to comply with applicable laws and other binding authorities as well as the organization’s policies.
5. Principle of Availability
An organization shall maintain records in a manner that ensures timely, efficient and accurate retrieval of needed information.
6. Principle of Retention
An organization shall maintain its records and information for an appropriate time, taking into account legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational and historical requirements.
7. Principle of Disposition
An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records that are no longer required to be maintained by applicable laws and the organization’s policies.
8. Principle of Transparency
The processes and activities of an organization’s recordkeeping program shall be documented in an understandable manner and be available to all personnel and appropriate interested parties.
But as the name suggests, GARP is not a hard-and-fast rule—it is “generally accepted.” Check back tomorrow for part two of my blog post, and learn more about GARP and how it can help reduce ESI volume and e-discovery costs.