Appraisal for managing records 

The new edition of ISO 15489-1:2016 Records Management emphasizes the importance of the core professional practice of appraisal. Understanding that this practice has a variety of meanings for different regions, it was decided at the last meeting of SC11 in Wellington, New Zealand in May 2016 to create a Technical Report on appraisal to support the new standard.

The new ISO 15489 standard explains appraisal as the analysis of business context, business activities and risk, to enable decision making on what records to create and capture, and how to ensure the appropriate management of records over time.

The standard describes the main elements of appraisal as being:

  1. developing an understanding of the nature of the business and its legal, resourcing and technological setting; and
  2. using risk assessment to determine what records should be created and how they should be managed to meet the range of applicable requirements. This involves assessing:
    • the risks affecting the business generally, and
    • risks that can be managed through the creation, capture and management of records.

The various products of appraisal would be familiar to most people working with records; hierarchical breakdowns of business functions and activities; work process analyses; defined requirements for records; risk assessments. Ultimately, appraisal results in the development of appropriate records control tools including disposition authorities, classification schemes and more.  Appraisal provides the information on records creation and management that is used in the design and implementation of new systems and processes. Importantly, appraisal is a recurrent activity rather than a ‘one off’.

WG15 is working on a document that expands on all the elements of an effective appraisal program, including:

  • defining the scope and intention of appraisal work;
  • methods for analysing business context and business activity;
  • sources for the identification of records requirements;
  • risk assessment in a records context; and
  • managing documentation and versions of appraisal results.

Our goal is provide a practical resource using examples from a variety of business settings.

For more information, contact WG15 Chair Cassie Findlay or Project Lead Wout van der Reijden

Cassie Findlay
Cassie Findlay
Convenor WG 15 – Appraisal for Managing Records


Wout van der Reijden
Wout van der Reijden
Project Leader WG 15 – Appraisal for Managing Records