The procedure for establishing a records management program within an agency begins with the appointment of an agency records coordinator who is delegated the authority to establish and maintain the records management program. ITD will advise and assist the coordinator in the following steps to implement this program.
The first step in developing a records management program within an agency is the preparation of a records inventory. An information management analyst from ITD Records Management will complete the records inventory with the agency records coordinator or employees appointed by the coordinator. The inventory should be performed by the person within the agency/division most familiar with the records and the filing system. A records inventory identifies:
When completed, the records inventory will identify all records located within the agency and any duplicate storage of the same record series by title and storage location.
Any records found during the inventory process that are no longer being created or received, will not be added to the Records Retention Schedule and can be disposed by completing a Records Disposal Request (SFN 2044) (See Procedure for One-Time or Early Disposal of Records).
The second step in implementing a records management program within an agency is completing record series descriptions which will be used to develop a records retention schedule.
The record series descriptions will detail the general purpose and content of a record series, or a unit of related records, and recommend a retention period.
For example, a group of employee (personnel) files would be considered one record series. A record series may be one or two file folders, or may fill several file drawers, shelves, boxes, etc.
Record Series service requests are submitted through ITD's Work Management System (WMS). All required fields must be completed. The following information must be completed on the form.
Once the Record Series service request is submitted, the information management analyst will assign a record control number to the record series.
In establishing retention periods, the actual or potential value of the record must be weighed against the storage cost. This requires a realistic appraisal of the records in relation to their period of usefulness and the value to the agency that created them.
Some questions that must be asked while determining retention periods are: How serious would it be if the particular record was not available five or ten years from now? What are the chances of it being needed? Is the information available elsewhere? What would it cost to reconstruct the record if this became necessary? The answers to these questions allow a realistic approach to determining the retention period for a record.
Records are generally created to help accomplish the functions for which an agency is responsible. These records have value as long as they assist the agency in performing either current or future work. To establish an administrative value, an agency needs to determine how long the document is actually used. This assessment involves only the "usefulness" of the record. It does not include any legal assumptions, audit requirements, or historical values. Those values are established by the legal, audit, and historical assessments.
Administrative values must be assigned as a period of time. The term "indefinitely" will not be accepted by ITD Records Management when establishing administrative values.
After the records series descriptions have been analyzed by ITD Records Management, they will be routed through the Records Management Task Force for appraisal.
The Records Management Task Force was created to assist agencies in establishing an accurate, legally-approved records retention schedule. The Task Force consists of the State Archivist, State Auditor, Attorney General, and State Records Management Administrator. The Records Management Task Force is responsible for reviewing and assigning the historical, fiscal, and legal values to the record series being submitted by the agency.
When the values have been determined, ITD Records Management will assign the total retention and the record series will be added to the Records Management System (RMS).
The third step in establishing a records management program is determining the retention value of the record or how long each record series should be retained before final disposition to satisfy the administrative, legal, and audit purposes for which they were created. When they no longer serve these purposes, they should be transferred to an inactive storage center, destroyed, or in some cases deposited in the State Archives. The following values must be considered during the appraisal of records:
A legal retention value for certain records may be established by law. In these cases, the legal value is determined by the statute. The Attorney General is responsible for determining the legal value of the record series.
The information contained within the record may have any one, any combination, or all of the preceding values. These values must be determined before a retention period can be established for any record series.
The final step in developing a Records Management program is the approval of the record series by the agency. After the agency approves the record series, it will be added to the Records Management System (RMS).
Once the Records Retention Schedule is established there should be an accurate and complete disposal of obsolete records. The agency should continue this disposal of records on an annual basis according to the records disposal process.
ITD Records Management will request to have the records disposal process initiated in the Records Management System (RMS) specifying exact disposal instructions for each record series retained in the agency.
The method of disposal will be determined by the format of the record, confidentiality of the record, and historical value of the record.
If the record series contains confidential material, the method of disposal will be "Shredder." If it does not contain confidential material, the method of disposal will be "Landfill." Landfill is defined as disposing of records by essentially throwing the obsolete records in the garbage or recycling container. If the record series is an electronic format, the method of disposal will be "Delete backups."
Records requested by the State Archivist will be noted with "Archives" in the "Disposition" column. Confidential records requested by the State Archivist will be noted with "Archives, Confidential" in the "Disposition" column.
See the Abbreviations Used for Record Retention Schedules.
Inactive records are defined as those records referred to less than once per month per file drawer. Generally, records become inactive when they have fulfilled the immediate administrative purposes for which they were created.
Inactive records should be taken out of the active records area regularly. This frees up file space needed for active records and eliminates the need to purchase additional file equipment. It also minimizes the time needed by personnel to file and retrieve active records.
Records moved to inactive storage areas should be placed in boxes or surplus file equipment and labeled with the record control number, inclusive dates of the records, date of authorized disposal, and any special instructions. ITD Records Management has designed the label below for use with inactive records storage. Contact ITD Records Management to obtain a supply of these labels.
A box should contain only one record series unless the series is too small to fill a box properly. Odd-size records, such as bound volumes, maps, and charts, require special handling. Advise the State Archives of the nature of odd-size records so special arrangements can be made for transfer. If file inventories, indexes, keys, and other finding aids to the records are retained for office use, make copies of the finding aids and send them along with the records.
The Records Management Program is responsible for the preservation of state records. This includes determining retention periods, selecting the appropriate retention medium, choosing the best retention location, and selecting the best filing system for the records.