IG, Regulations & Compliance

Maturing Your RIM Program – Money, Money, Who’s Got the Money?

IG, Regulations & Compliance

Maturing Your RIM Program – Money, Money, Who’s Got the Money?

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So you’ve decided you need a course revising, behavior changing, get the house in order,…

So you’ve decided you need a course revising, behavior changing, get the house in order, Bunker Buster of a RIM project to establish a fully functional and effective RIM program, and obtain full compliance with it (see the prior blog: Maturing Your RIM Program – Do You Need a Bunker Buster?). Where is the money going to come from? Despite the fact that companies are in business doing different things with a multitude of different organizational structures – there is a common answer: Corporate / Corporate Legal. It is interesting to observe that even where “there is no money”, companies always find money to respond to legal action. Why not front some money to reduce future expenses?

I digress, but it reminds me of the poem “The Ambulance in the Valley” written by Joseph Malins dating back to 1895. The gist of the poem is a story of a town with a dangerous cliff and the strong debate whether to build a fence at the top of the cliff, or place an ambulance at the bottom of it. Unfortunately “the cry for the ambulance carried the day” as they choose reaction rather that prevention.

Are you choosing reaction over prevention? The analogy is not perfect, as there will still be legal actions to respond to, but in a well managed RIM environment the “injuries” are much less severe and do not include punitive penalties for not knowing where the Records are, or not being able to produce them in a timely manner.

So when Corporate / Corporate Legal determines to fund the RIM project – what should they pay for?

  Personnel – Compensate for the time of individuals within the company to do the work (yes, if you are taking 50% of someone’s time on an ongoing basis to develop, coordinate, or implement project work – reimburse the department so they can obtain a replacement. It will pay dividends with attitude changes for the priority of the project and participation in its activities).

  Materials – Cartons, folders, labels, markers, etc. If it supports the project – pay for it (don’t quibble – you don’t want to waste people’s time arguing over whether the markers are really needed).

  Travel – Does someone need to go somewhere to spread the message or inspect Records stored offsite?

  RIM Services – Shredding, return of cartons, inspection of cartons, and re-filing of cartons to name a few.

  Outside Expertise – Do you need a consultant to develop a firm foundation of Records Management Policies and Procedures including a Records Retention Schedule? Perhaps you need someone to do a Gap Analysis to identify “soft spots” for improvement. Do you need to bring in a Records Program Manager? Or a Project Manager to support your existing RIM team to fully track and assure progress of the project? Maybe you need a temporary workforce (summer students?) to perform specific compliance accomplishing tasks?

Once this “one time” compliance project is accomplished – the program switches to a steady state mode where departments are now benefiting from the new efficiencies. Less time is needed to find the necessary Records and information to perform their tasks and manage their Records. Offsite storage volume has been reduced, reducing costs. Now it is appropriate for departments to contribute and provide RIM resources to maintain RIM compliance including:

  • A local Records Coordinator
  • Monitoring internal compliance
  • Establishing and conducting an annual clean-up day
  • Initiating and supporting continuous improvement


  • It is important to note that providing funds to the department to make improvements is a GAME CHANGER. It establishes a positive environment for change and expedites the development and implementation of improvements. It also establishes an accountability that just isn’t there for unfunded mandates. I’ll talk about this more in the series on “The Psychology of Records Management” and more specifically in the blog regarding “Executive Leadership in Action”.

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