Records Management Policy
The university recognizes that the efficient management of its records, regardless of their form or medium, is essential to support its core functions, to comply with its legal and regulatory obligations, and to contribute to the effective overall management of the institution. The university further recognizes that proper methods of records disposal and the determination of what records should be stored in the University Archives for permanent preservation is an important responsibility.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is required by Louisiana statute to maintain an active records management program to ensure that vital records are identified and maintained. (RS 44:412) The Office of the Secretary of State, Division of Archives has established policies and practices to assist state agencies in establishing and maintaining their records management programs (LAC 4:XVII).
What is Records Management?
Records management is the systematic application of management techniques to the creation, utilization, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of records for the purpose of reducing costs and improving of records keeping. (RS 44:402)
What are Records?
According to Louisiana statute, records are defined as documents, papers, letters, books, drawings, maps, plats, photographs, magnetic or optical media, microfilm, microphotograph, motion picture film, or other document or any other material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, generated or received under law or in connection with the transaction of official business, or preserved by an agency or political subdivision because of other informational or legal value. (RS 44:402)
Records must be maintained and managed in part due to legal requirements. Further, there may be fiscal reasons for retaining records—typically managing them until an audit is completed. In absence of legal and fiscal requirements, there may be administrative needs that necessitate the maintenance and management of records. Finally, a portion of the records will be accessioned and maintained by the University Archives, at the end of their useful administrative life, due to their historical significance.
All records created by university employees in the course of their duties on behalf of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are retained for as long as they are required to meet the legal, administrative, and operational requirements of the university, after which time they may be either destroyed or transferred to the University Archives. The final disposition (either destruction or transfer to the University Archives) of records is carried out according to approved records schedules and state policies.
Best Practices for Managing Records
Departments should manage their records in a trustworthy manner that ensures their authenticity. In order to do this, departments and offices should:
· Create records that accurately document their core activities.
· Manage and store their records in a manner that facilitates timely and accurate retrieval.
· Ensure that they store their records in secure locations and safe, stable environments.
· Allow only those with the proper authority to have access to their records.
· Know and comply with the State of Louisiana policies and the external laws, regulations, standards, and professional ethics that affect the management of their records.
Archiving of Records
Records found to possess historical or archival value to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette should be retained permanently. Contact the Assistant Dean of Special Collections for guidelines on the archival process. The Edith Garland Dupré Library is the designated archives repository for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Records Retention Schedule
The records retention schedule (SSARC-932) provides a template for each state agency to identify and classify its records. Since a university is a diverse agency, records series will differ greatly from one department to another.
All departments are expected to designate a liaison who will work directly with the Records Management Officer. Designated liaisons are expected to complete an accurate SSARC-932 for their departments in accordance with form instructions.
Once liaisons have completed the SSARC-932 for their departments, they should submit the schedule to the Records Management Officer who will send it to the State Archives for approval. Once the approved SSARC-932 is received from the State Archives, the Records Management Officer will provide copies to departments for their records.
Department liaisons should review their current retention schedule at least once a year, and the schedule should be amended when necessary, such as when additional series are discovered or when series no longer apply. Schedules that were approved more than five years ago and have not been renewed are considered expired.
Disposal of Records
Agencies must use an SSARC-930 to request permission to dispose of their records. It is important to note that authorization is required even if the records in question appear on an approved records retention schedule. Records that are considered to be either confidential or sensitive should be disposed of in a manner that will maintain confidentiality.
Once liaisons have completed the SSARC-930 for their departments, they should submit the form to the Records Management Officer who will send it to the State Archives for approval. Once the approved SSARC-930 is received from the State Archives, the Records Management Officer will provide copies to departments for their records.
Once approval for disposal has been granted, an agency should dispose of the agency records in a manner acceptable to the level of confidentiality the record requires. Agencies shall document the destruction of their records by maintaining a certificate of destruction (SSARC-933) for all records requiring destruction approval from the state.
Records Management forms are available at State of Louisiana Records Management forms.
More information can be found at the Records Management website.