Setting up a 'What to keep' project

For a 'What to keep' initiative to be successful it requires:

  • buy-in at a senior departmental level to provide support for the project
  • to be run with a formal project management process, with governance from the senior staff and business unit staff
  • Good collaboration and buy-in from the IT function, with representation on the project team or board

All of this needs a sound business case setting out the risks and benefits. See Why 'What to keep' is important for more information.


A 'What to keep' exercise will usually go through the following stages:

  • Find out what the organisation does and what information it holds (sometimes known as an information audit)
  • Decide what to keep, for how long, where and who is responsible for it and record this in a schedule
  • Devise processes to ensure that the schedules are implemented and kept up to date
  • Put the processes and schedules into practice and monitor compliance

No one size fits all

Exactly how you go about doing this will very much depend on the organisation itself and the resources at its disposal. For example:

  • if there is a good understanding of information management within the organisation, it may be possible to rely more on business units to carry out this work with the Knowledge and Information Management (KIM) team overseeing the process. If the opposite is true, then the KIM team is likely to need to take a more hands-on role.
  • it can be helpful and save resources if you ally this work with other initiatives within the department.  For example, if the organisation is in the process of putting together information asset registers for information assurance purposes you could include a 'what to keep' element in this work.

Further advice

For further information on how to do this see Records Management Code Implementation Guides.