Different types of records are assigned record retention periods by the Office of the Public Records Administrator (OPRA) of the Connecticut State Library. OPRA lists the types of records (called record series) and their corresponding minimum retention period on schedules. Only the official record copy must meet OPRA’s retention requirements, however there may be other business needs to keep duplicate records longer than legally necessary. See also “Do I need prior authorization to destroy?”
Go here to find out!
The minimum retention requirement, “x years, or until audited, whiciver is later,” requires further explaination. In most instances ‘audit’ refers to the general agency audit conducted by the State Auditors of Public Accounts, unless otherwise noted. The specific record itself may or may not have been examine as part of the audit process. [Source: OPRA]
One day we’ll tell you yes… the next day we’ll tell you no. Long story short, it depends if you are in possession of the official record copy. If you are, that makes you the record custodian and the records in question must meet the corresponding minimum retention requirements. Once those are met, you must seek permission to destroy (see destruction authorization procedure). If the records in question are not the official record copy, you generally may destroy when no longer administratively valuable, no permission necessary. If you are uncertain if you or another department/individual is responsible for retaining certain records for the requirement please contact Laurie Neal or Betsy Pittman to discuss further.
Ideally, prior to separation, that individual should take several steps:
- Evaluate which records have met retention requirements and fulfilled business needs. Don’t forget email!
- For those records that have met retention requirements, request destruction authorization for official record copies. Non records may be destroyed immediately. While you wait for destruction approval, store records in a secure location.
- If the authorization is approved and returned prior to the employee separation, he/she should arrange destruction (shred, recycle). Otherwise, transfer records pending destruction to appropriate staff member. Contact Betsy Pittman and inform her of who is now overseeing those records– she’ll need this information to know who to send the approved form back to in order to go through with destruction of the records.
- Records that must be saved should be transferred to an appropriate staff member. That individual(s) is now responsible for managing, protecting, requesting and arranging destruction.
Getting organized is difficult, but leaving behind “record chaos” could be very taxing on your co-workers and/or replacement. By tidying up shop beforehand, you’ll also help to reduce risk.
It may not seem fair that you are left with the puzzling question “What must become of these records?” but please resist any inclination to box all of the records up, put them in a storage area and forget about the whole thing…that route will only make the task more burdensome. You’d also be putting your department at risk. What if there is something of importance for business operations? What about if there is a litigation hold and you didn’t realize those records were relevant? If a breach occurs, would you know what information may have been compromised? For these reasons, take the following steps:
- Discuss with other relevant staff members what individual or individuals should take over responsibility of the records. In other words, who should fill the role as record custodian<
- Inventory what types of records are present and the date ranges. This information will help to determine what records should be:
- Immediately destroyed
- Destroyed with authorization
- Transferred to University Archives
3. For assistance with step 2, set up a meeting with Laurie Neal to determine appropriate action.
In order to be allowed to destroy the paper, the scanning methods you used must have met digital imaging standards required by the Office of the Public Records Administrator. Do not assume that how you scanned the records will suffice until you have reviewed the digital imaging policy and standards with either Betsy Pittman or Laurie Neal. If the digital imaging standards are not met, you must keep the paper for the associated minimum retention period and then request to destroy them, at the same time destroying the digital copies. If your digital imaging methods met the required standards, you may request to destroy the original paper copies provided that the records will be retained electronically for the duration of the minimum record retention period.
Review the Digital Imaging Policy and Digital Imaging Standards documents. The procedure and requirements are rigorous, however serve very important purposes. Contact Betsy Pittman and/or Laurie Neal with questions.
Click here for a pamphlet explaining why.
Emails are records too and cannot be deleted until they have been retained for the corresponding minimum retention period. Email retention can get pretty complicated so the Office of the Public Records Administrator has created an FAQ solely dedicated to this subject. Read it at http://ctstatelibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/EmailGuidelines.pdf.
If you need space immediately, consider using Outlook’s clean-up function found under the home tab. This will move duplicate threads in your inbox to your deleted folder, while saving the most recent email of a thread.
PII stands for personally identifiable information. Examples of PII include but are not limited to an individual’s social security number, banking information, drivers license number, and credit card number. Basically PII is the information you wouldn’t want ending up in the wrong hands. The university has several legitimate needs to obtain and use certain PII to execute business operations. As a whole, the University takes the protection of PII seriously. Individual staff members managing PII must also do their part to secure this sensitive information. Visit the privacy tips page to learn how to decrease privacy related risks.
Yes. Destruction approvals you’ve received in the past are only good for the types of records that were listed in that date range.
I filled out a form and received destruction approval, but I never got around to destroying the records. Am I still authorized to destroy the records?
Contact Laurie Neal to discuss. Normally, you should promptly destroy records once you receive the approval back, unless you receive a destruction hold after you received approval and before the records have been destroyed.