In 2015, the Records Analysis Unit of the Government Records Section at the State Archives of North Carolina began a project to revamp the retention and disposition schedules for state agencies in North Carolina. We embraced the technique of functional analysis, whereby the functions of an institution are defined and the records that document these functions are identified. These functional analyses were shared with the chief records officers of state agencies at our annual meeting in April 2016.
Our overarching goal is to ensure the retention of records with permanent value, either in the creating agency or at the State Archives, which is housed within the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR). These functional schedules standardize disposition instructions across State government and focus on the function of government that necessitates the creation of a record rather than on the particular agency that creates or maintains the record. Therefore, users can identify record types relevant to the particular function of government they perform. Realizing that an increasing share of state agency records are being created and maintained electronically, we grouped records with similar functions in big buckets in order to facilitate the appropriate disposition of these records that are housed in document management systems.
G.S. § 121-5(b) and G.S. § 132-3(a) grant the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources the authority to regulate the destruction of public records, and the disposition instructions reflect best practices in records management as well as specific state or federal retention requirements. The retention periods established in these functional schedules should be interpreted as minimums. If an agency chooses to retain records longer than required in the disposition instructions, this practice should be documented in internal agency procedures. The presence of a records series on one of these schedules does not obligate an agency to create that record; however, if a record is not represented on any of these schedules, an agency may not destroy it without explicit authorization from DNCR.
Thus far, schedules have been drafted for eight of the sixteen functions of North Carolina state government, and these schedules have been vetted by subject matter experts from within the agencies:
- Public Relations
- Agency Management
- Risk Management
- Financial Management
- Human Resources
- Law Enforcement
- Monitoring and Compliance
Several of these schedules have already been revised and posted to this blog for further comments, and the others will follow. The remaining functions will be drafted in the following order:
- Information Technology
- Asset Management
- Infrastructure Management
- Economic Development
- Public Assistance
When these sixteen new schedules go into effect in the fall of 2017, they will supersede the General Schedule for State Agency Records and all existing agency program records schedules. However, for any records that transfer to the State Records Center for temporary storage or for accessioning by the State Archives, we will continue using the same item numbers for inventory-tracking purposes. Here is a sample of how this information will be presented in the appendices of the functional schedules:
If you have an interest in participating in the formal review process for one of the pending schedule drafts, please contact Courtney Bailey at 919-807-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.