New Functional Schedule for State Agencies

The State Archives of North Carolina is happy to announce the culmination of an innovative years-long project.  As of December 2017, state agency officials have just one 16-part retention and disposition schedule to assist them in the management of their public records: the Functional Schedule for North Carolina State Agencies. This revamped schedule will supersede both the General Schedule for State Agency Records and the program-specific schedules that state agencies have relied on until now.

In 2015, the Records Analysis Unit of the Government Records Section at the State Archives of North Carolina (SANC) began a project to revamp the retention and disposition schedules for state agencies in North Carolina.  Our overarching goals of the project were to simplify records retention, make the assignment of records dispositions more transparent, and ensure the retention of records with permanent value, either within the creating agency or at the State Archives, which is housed within the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.  We embraced the technique of functional analysis, whereby the functions of an institution are defined and the records that document these functions are linked.  Sixteen functions of North Carolina state government were identified, their record types listed, and disposition instructions provided:

  • Agency Management
  • Asset Management
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Financial Management
  • Governance
  • Healthcare
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Infrastructure Management
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal
  • Monitoring and Compliance
  • Public Assistance and Support Services
  • Public Relations
  • Risk Management

Over 200 stakeholders from across North Carolina state government participated in meetings to review draft schedules for each of the 16 functions, and many staff at SANC in addition to the Records Analysis Unit also provided constructive feedback.  After these schedules reached their final draft stage, records analysts worked in concert with state agencies to crosswalk their records inventories to the new functional schedule.  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 will not need to find relevant record types based on agency hierarchy but instead can identify record types relevant to the particular function of government they perform.  In addition, if the responsibilities of an agency change over time, the appropriate retention and disposition instructions for the records generated by this new function are already identified among the 16 functions identified above.  Realizing that an increasing share of state agency records are being created and maintained electronically, we attempted to group records with similar functions in “big buckets” in order to facilitate the appropriate disposition of these records that are housed in document management systems.

These new schedules have been approved and can be viewed on the functional schedule documents page at https://archives.ncdcr.gov/documents/functional-schedule-state-agencies.  The Records Analysis Unit will conduct annual records reviews with State agencies and document any changes in agency responsibilities.  State agencies will also have the ability to submit a record series evaluation form if they believe a record type needs to be added to a particular function.  If anyone in a state agency has any questions about the new functional schedule, you may contact the Chief Records Officer for your agency or the records analyst assigned to your agency.

We look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues in North Carolina state government to make the transition to the new Functional Schedule for North Carolina State Agencies a success.

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