Understanding and documenting information types, retention schedules, security policies and other information that makes up a File Plan is one of the first steps to a successful Information Governance initiative. Before downloading our File Plan Template, it may help to read the next couple paragraphs on why it's important and how we use it.
What is a File Plan?
We are often asked for advice on what exactly a File Plan is and what information is needed in order to start governing information. Basically, it lists the information, records and files in your organization, describes how they are organized and defines their policies. The policies defined may differ in each organization, but in general it will contain retention, disposition and security related mandates.
There is sample data added to the file plan template for the purpose of explaining usage, it is not meant to represent an actual legal file plan.
Can I build on my own?
We do recommend hiring a professional, not just in their title, but an information and taxonomy expert who has the experience in your industry. However, we understand that customers often have the in house expertise to collect the right information. We also know that some customers may not be under regulation or enough legal pressure to warrant allocating budget to a professional file plan. If this is your situation, then this template is for you.
The template is made up of 3 sheets, file plan, retention and security. The File Plan lists the types of information in which policies will be applied. It is very likely that some types of information need more than one policy in which case, you should just create additional rows with the same name. The Retention and Security sheets are basically lookups tables that will be referenced on the File Plan sheet.
We really hope this template is helpful and we’d be honored if you if you even got more creative and expanded upon it. And, if you do, be sure to send a copy back so we can share it with others.