How to prepare for Records Retention in the new fiscal year

In regards to the Records Retention Schedule (RRS) there are just a few dates that are clearly defined, immovable, and universal. The two retention codes that I’m referring to would be FE and CE. Fiscal Years and Calendar Year ends have two clear dates (August 31 and December 31) that help agencies decipher when to get rid of certain records, specifically financial and academic records.

These dates are also immovable. Meaning if you have an FE or CE on the schedule, you know from the beginning the exact date that all of these things will be due for disposal. The other retention codes depend on other factors such as administrative value, student graduation dates, new hire information, employee termination dates, etc. Where the other retention periods require a closer eye to be placed on the records that may or may not be up for disposal, FE and CE provide the date for you.

With that in mind, it’s important to prepare for fiscal years and academic years as new records are created and up for disposal all at the same time. Here are a few suggestions that I’d like to provide for those with FE (Fiscal Year end) requirements.

  1. If your records go by FE on the schedule, organize your files according to the fiscal years, not academic years or calendar years.
  2. When switching from one fiscal year to the next, it’s best to keep all of the records in one place. This will help you when it comes time to dispose of those records. Keeping everything that will require an immediate disposal, in one location, will save you time and energy.
  3. Your focus should be on Records Retention, as much as it would be on other duties that are required of you during the start of a new fiscal year. According to the schedule, your department will have records up for disposal on September 1. The longer you wait, after that date, to dispose of the records, the further you go out of compliance with the State.

For help on dealing with the new academic year or the CE requirements, check out this blog post.

How to prepare for Records Retention in the new academic year

Similar to the FE requirements found on the Records Retention Schedule, CE (calendar year end) requires immediate action and attention. Records Management may be used as a tool for you to help your efficiency and organization when the new academic year, and students, start coming into your offices.

I think everyone would agree that student information is sensitive and should require the same careful eye as someone would place on their financial records. As far as Records Management is concerned, the student records will have a continual disposition period that correlates with their graduation date. Though this post title references academic years, I’d like to offer some tips on how to approach calendar year ends and new academic years.

Calendar Year Ends (CE)

The end of the calendar year is December 31. A CE retention period means that January 1 of every year, you will have certain records that require disposition. Knowing that January 1 is a holiday, January 2 will be your next date of disposal. No one wants to spend their first day back after holiday vacation shredding stacks of paper. However, keep in mind that regardless of when the date falls in the year, you will need to dispose of these records in a timely manner. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Create your pile of records that need to be disposed of on January 1 of the next year, before you leave for your holiday vacation. That way when you get back into work, you can begin tackling your paper files.
  2. In regards to electronic files. My recommendation is the move everything that will be needing immediate disposal onto your desktop or a separate folder titled something to the effect of Delete on January 1.
  3. If you create to do lists for yourself, write Records Retention down, before your holiday break so you know what needs to be done when you get back.

Academic Year Starting (and stopping) 

The schedule doesn’t reference the first or last day of school as being a date where records have a disposal requirement, however graduation dates do. Therefore, when considering academic years here are my suggestions:

  1. Think about your seniors and their graduation dates. Student records will be dependent on graduation dates.
  2. When organizing specific student records that have a AC (plus however many years) retention period, where AC means Graduation date, try to keep all student records in one folder titled something along the lines of Delete May 2020 (using AC+3 as an example).
  3. Be mindful of the records life cycle. Watch these records when their created (new students) and when they die (student graduates + X amount of years).

With any and all records be mindful of the programs that you’re using. BlackBoard and Banner are great but if they are keeping records permanently, they will not help you with Records Retention. In any of those cases, we recommend that the various departments talk to us about where these records are stored and help us create clever solutions to ensure Records Management throughout the department and to work towards avoiding any obstacles placed on normal work flow.

If you’d like some advice on managing the beginning/end of a fiscal year, check out this post.

What to expect in the remainder of 2017 and on into 2018

Hi everyone!

As most everyone has already seen, we’re rolling out the disposition logs with a deadline of October 31, 2017. It is not our goal to confuse anyone with these forms, but rather to create a process and a full supply of documentation that show Sul Ross’ compliance with the State. With that in mind here’s an outline of what you can expect for the foreseeable future.

2017 

August 

  • Final reminder that Disposal Forms were due last April. The deadline is now August 31, 2017.
  • Those who turned their Disposal Forms in last spring have received their Disposition Logs, due October 31, 2017. If you have questions about the Disposition Log, check out this post.

September

  • Those who turned in their Disposal Forms by the August 31, 2017 deadline will receive their Disposition Logs during this month. They have the same deadline of October 31.

October 

  • October 12, 2017 is our next in person training. If you have not yet attended a training, that will be your day to do so. More information will be provided as the date approaches.
  • October 31, 2017 is the deadline for the Disposition Logs. Once those are turned in, you’ll be good to go until November/December.

November/December

  • The next Disposal Form will be due December 19, 2017. This is to account for all of the CE disposition dates across the schedule.

2018

January 

  • Departments who met the December 19, 2017 deadline, will receive their Disposition Logs.

February/March

  • Disposition Logs will be due March 30, 2018.
  • Those who did not turn in a Disposal Form or turned one in late will have the same March deadline as those that turned their forms in the previous December.

April 

  • Trainings and other help. This would be a great time to schedule an inventory. If you’d like more information about the inventories, please give us a call.

May

  • The Records Retention Schedule Draft is due to the State by May 31, 2018. After this date, departments will have one year to make any other changes necessary to the schedule.

June/July 

  • A down month similar to April. We will suggest that departments schedule inventories at this time.

August 

  • Disposal Forms will be due August 31, 2018 to accommodate for the fiscal year end retention period requirements.

From here we will continue the same process as the year before. This is the schedule that the university will be on for the immediate future. If you ever have any questions along the way, please let us know.

 

HELP! What do I archive?

Hello!

Whether your familiar with the Archives of the Big Bend or not, I bet the Records Management side of the Archives will be something new to everyone. As most everyone knows, Records Management isn’t only about getting rid of records, but also about the permanent preservation of important documents.

As any of the numerous Records Management trainings will tell you, the and archival codes listed on the Records Retention Schedule help departments recognize which of their records require either archival review or a transfer to the University Archivist. But what about the records that you personally want to keep but they are either not a record, or lack an I or an O archival code? Don’t worry!

Here’s a quick summary of things that can be found on the Texas State University webpage. This summary is a great example of what should come to Archives.

“Any department, office, employee, or past employee who discovers old university records may have uncovered part of the history that we want to document. Presidential and Provost correspondence, building records, student organizations, and photographs of people and places on campus are highly desired. Other historically significant information is appreciated.”

If you have anything in your office that you think fits that category or would be beneficial to the university, please give the Archives a call. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

 

HELP! What about emails?

Hi everyone!

First off, some of you might not have realized that emails are included in the Records Management laws. Typically emails will be your Correspondence – General or Administrative, but not always. Emails are probably the most up to date records that recordholder’s create, daily.

Here’s some steps to help you determine how to figure emails into your Records Management program and fit individual emails into the Records Retention Schedule.

If you’re still unclear about how to classify email’s, visit the Texas Record blog site maintained by TSLAC. They always have great advice.

What is the Records Retention Disposition Log?

Hello!

I know it has to be confusing trying to decipher between a Records Retention Disposition Request Form and a Log. Hopefully, this post and the one previously on the Disposition Request Form will help clear things up for ya.

Review: The Disposition Request is the form completed by each department. Departments include which records are up for disposal in their department, according to the Records Retention Schedule. This is a request to dispose of the records. When this form is turned into the Records Management department, departments are not yet allowed to disposed of any records, without the completed approvals from the Records Management Officer and the University Archivist.

Note, saying you disposed of the records is one thing but actually showing that you have is another subject. Once a department has received the approval to dispose of their records, they must then document that they did dispose of the records. Keep in mind that the approval is to show a departments complete understanding of the Records Retention Schedule. For more information on the Records Retention Disposition Request Form please see one of our previous posts.

The Disposition Log requires dates of disposal and method type. The log also records any notes that the Archivist’s made about your departments records. The packet has several pages of detailed instructions. Please be sure and read through those carefully before completing and turning in the Disposition Log.

In short, the Disposition Log is how we’re documenting that departments have actually disposed of their records, once permission has been given.

When reports are created on the compliance to the Records Management Laws, within each department, the Disposition Logs will serve as evidence of that. Same as the Disposition Request Form, be on the look out for a training video on how to complete the Disposition Log.

What is the Records Retention Disposition Request Form?

Hi everyone!

We’ve created a new Disposition Request Form for Records Retention! YAY! What does that mean? It means that the old disposal form used back in March through May of 2017 is out and this new form is in.

  • Why do we have a new form?
    • The previous disposal form was not user friendly. (you probably agree with this)
    • The signatures at the bottom of the page made it confusing as to what individuals were signing for
    • The form was too broad, which meant that there were multiple errors.

We take responsibility for the lack of ease with the previous form, primarily because trainings were not offered specifically on how to fill out the form. With that said, the new form is more user friendly and will have a training video to accompany it.

  • Why do you have to fill out the form?
    • We’re ensuring that departments understand Records Management, the Schedule, and what is required of them.
    • The form also serves as a buffer. If someone assumes that FE+4 means August 31, 2013, we’ll have problems. When turning in the forms, the Records Management department has a chance to correct these minor errors to say that FE+4 actually means August 31, 2012.
  • Why does it matter how correct we are on the forms and in our understanding?
    • It’s extremely important that the departments across the campuses dispose of their records on time. This means that getting rid of paperwork or computer files before the Schedule allows you too, is a violation of the Records Management laws. Just as well, if you never destroy paperwork or computer files you’re also in violation of the laws.

If you ever have any questions about the forms/paperwork used in the overall Records Management program at Sul Ross, please feel free to contact us.

Stay tuned for a training video on how to fill out the Disposition Request Form!

 

What’s the difference between Records Management and Records Retention?

 

Records Management Laws are what is required by the Texas legislature of all State institutions. The definition of records management is as follows,

” the application of management techniques to the creation, use, maintenance, retention, preservation, and destruction of state records…

for the purpose of improving the efficency of recordkeeping, ensuring access to public information under Chapter 552, and reducing costs.” (Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapter L, Section 441.180)

As you can see from the definition, retention is just one part to the definition of records management. Records Retention refers to the RR Schedule that all state employees must adhere to.

“Records retention is the way by which state records are managed.”

Records Management is used to describe the entire program being implemented here at Sul Ross. The program includes an updated Records Retention Schedule, inventories, trainings, one-on-one consultations, and archival review of state records.

The more you know! 🙂

What are all of those forms?

Hello everyone!

The Records Management web page on the Sul Ross website will be arriving shortly. Before that happens I want to elaborate on the forms themselves and which ones will be required. (Links will be installed into this post as soon as the web page goes live)

  1. Records Retention Disposition Request Form
    • This form is the new Disposal Form that was previously required. This form was recreated to explain the process better. These forms are intended for disposition request. Departments are requesting permission from the Records Management Division to dispose of their state records.
    • Why do you have to have permission? To ensure that records are being disposed of and that they’re being disposed of correctly. The records being requested for disposition are subject to the Schedule. The Records Management Division (RMD) offers a second glance at the records that will potentially be lost forever. Retention periods are tested against the date ranges provided by the departments.
  2. Record Retention Schedule Amendment Request Form
    • If you’ve gone through the Schedule and noticed some of the items listed are no longer used in the department. Perhaps you’ve looked at the Schedule and found that some of the current retention periods do not accurately demonstrate how long an important record should be kept or disposed of.
    • The Amendment Request offers departments the chance to record any changes (additions or deletions) that they’d like to make from the Schedule. When the new Schedule is approved, these additions and deletions will no longer be allowed.
    • This form offers extensive instructions.
  3. Inventory Request Form
    • Those that have been to the training’s know a little bit about the inventory process. The inventory request form will help the Records Management Division organize inventory requests and improve the efficiency of the on site inventories.
    • The form consists of several parts.
      1. Requester information 
        • For a single inventory date (one day at a time) only two individuals in a department will receive an inventory. If you’re scheduling for your entire department, please be aware that two offices or office spaces will be done one day and the other two can be done the next. Special circumstances such as a department which has three individuals in the department may have one inventory date.
      2. Job Description
        • The job description is required of all requester’s. This is to help the RMD determine which records an individual may be creating based on items listed on the Schedule.
        • If you’re unsure where to find your job description, Human Resources has them listed on the website.
      3. Office Floor Plan
        • The purpose of this next part is to shorter the amount of time spent in the inventory process. With a floor plan the RMD will have an easier and faster time, helping the requester’s locate their records. When the inventory begins the floor plan will be used as a bouncing off point. The locations of records listed on the floor plan will be checked off so that records do not go overlooked.
        • The floor plan does not have to be perfect. Please do not take photos and send them via email. The preferred format is a paper drawing with lots of boxes and squares indicating furniture. From there the requester can write in where files are located. If you’d like to see a sample floor plan, email Kayla Waggoner at kayla.waggoner@sulross.edu.
      4. List of Records
        • In this section the requester can list what types of records their creating on a daily basis or where they are managing the records. Paper files are okay to list but really the RMD is looking for some knowledge on the part of the requester as to where records are created.
        • If you create requisitions for your department, list Banner. If you’re department is on SharePoint, list SharePoint and OneDrive. Do you manage the department’s web page? What about the social media accounts.
        • Requester’s should pause and think about how records are created and where they are maintained during their life cycle.
    • If you have any questions about the inventory process there’s a few things to do.
      1. Be looking for posts on this blog that discuss the inventory process.
      2. Attend one of the training’s titled “Conducting an Inventory”.
      3. Call Kayla Waggoner (x8124) for more information.

If you have any other questions along the way, feel free to contact us.

Difference between Correspondence Administrative and General

Almost every department on campus has a Correspondence – Administrative (1.1.007) and a Correspondence – General (1.1.008) on their section of the Records Retention Schedule (RRS). But you may be wondering what is considered “correspondence” and how do I know if I fall under Administrative or General? Look no further, we’re got some helpful tips to help decipher these record series titles.

Firstly, correspondence ranges from official memorandum to unofficial chat discussions on Blackboard or Skype Business. However, where you’re going to frequently see correspondence is your Sul Ross email. Everyday each state employee is sending several emails (hundreds if you count the fs_all routes) that either directly or indirectly relate to their job. After an email has been classified as a record, individuals are responsible to maintain these based on the Records Retention Schedule. For details on the email classification system you’re encouraged to attend or watch one of the E-Records training’s. If you’re curious about the emails as they are only a format of a record, please contact us for more information at any time.

The following is a break down of the two correspondences provided by TSLAC on their blog, The Texas Record as well as the general definition provided by the commission.

  • 1.1.007 – Correspondence – Administrative 
    • These records include “incoming/outgoing and internal correspondence pertaining to the formulation, planning, implementation, interpretation, modification, or redefinition of the programs, services, or projects of an agency and the administrative regulations, policies, and procedures that govern them.”
    • Important: This record series contains an archival code of O. For a state university this means that the universities Archival office has the authority to keep any historical information within this record series. The archival note for Administrative Correspondence is that “only the administrative correspondence of executive staff, board or commission members, division directors and program heads require archival review.” This means that Department Heads, Deans, VPs, and the President’s office have this archival review requirement.
  • 1.1.008 – Correspondence – General 
    • This record series is included for everyone else in a department.
    • These records include “non-administrative incoming/outgoing and internal correspondence, in any media, pertaining to or arising from the routine operations of the policies, programs, services, or projects of an agency.”

Other staff and faculty members are allowed to keep these types of emails for reference (same as some of your paper files) but are not actually responsible for the retention of these emails.

Let us know if you have any questions about this topic!