GENERAL RECORDS SCHEDULE
GENERAL INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS
The general records schedules established by the Department of State are intended for use by
state, county, city, and special district public records custodians. If you are unsure of your organization’s status as a “public agency,” consult your legal counsel and/or the Florida Attorney General’s Office for a
legal opinion. The Department of State publishes the following general records schedules:
GS1-SL General Records Schedule for State and Local Government Agencies
(GS1-SL supersedes GS1-S for State Government Agencies and GS1-L for
Local Government Agencies)
GS2 General Records Schedule for Law Enforcement
GS3 General Records Schedule for Election Records
GS4 General Records Schedule for Public Health Care Facilities/Providers
GS5 General Records Schedule for University/Community College Records
GS7 General Records Schedule for Public Schools
GS8 General Records Schedule for Fire Departments
GS9 General Records Schedule for State Attorneys
GS10 General Records Schedule for Public Defenders
GS11 General Records Schedule for Clerks of Court
GS12 General Records Schedule for Property Appraisers
GS13 General Records Schedule for Tax Collectors
GS14 General Records Schedule for Public Utilities
GS15 General Records Schedule for Public Libraries
All Florida public agencies are eligible to use the GS1-SL, which provides retention periods for
the most common administrative records such as routine correspondence and personnel, payroll,
financial, and legal records. General records schedules GS2 through GS15 are applicable to program
records of specific functional areas, such as elections administration, tax collecting, or law enforcement,
each of which has unique program responsibilities and thus unique records retention requirements. The
GS2 through GS15 should be used in conjunction with GS1-SL to cover as many administrative and
program records as possible.
The retention periods set forth in the general records schedules are based on federal and state
laws and regulations, general administrative practices, and fiscal management principles. Please note
that these are minimum retention periods; public agencies may retain their records longer at their
discretion. In fact, certain accreditation committees may have standards which require longer retention
periods. Contact your accrediting organization for more information on their requirements. In addition,
federal, state, or local laws and regulations regarding recordkeeping and records retention for specific
agencies or specific types of records might require a longer retention than indicated in this General
Schedule. Agencies should be aware of all laws and regulations relating to their records and
recordkeeping requirements. However, remember that a public agency is not permitted to reduce the
retention periods stated in a general records schedule.
For additional information on records retention and disposition, please refer to The Basics of Records Management handbook which, along with all Florida general records schedules, is available on
the Department of State’s Services for Records Managers Web site at:
To obtain an individual printed copy or electronic copy, fax your request to (850) 245-6795,
Attention: Receptionist, or contact the Records Management Program at (850) 245-6750.
I. STATUTORY AUTHORITY
This general records schedule is issued by the Department of State, State Library and Archives of Florida,
in accordance with the statutory provisions of Chapters 119 and 257, Florida Statutes.
Chapter 119, F.S., defines the terms “public records,” “custodian of public records,” and “agency,” as well
as the fundamental process by which disposition of said records is authorized under law.
Chapter 257, F.S., establishes the Florida State Archives and Records Management Program under the
direction of the Division of Library and Information Services, Department of State, and specifically
provides for a system for the scheduling and disposition of public records. Chapter 257 also authorizes
the Division to establish and coordinate standards, procedures, and techniques for efficient and
economical record making and keeping, and requires all agencies to appoint a Records Management
II. DETERMINING RETENTION REQUIREMENTS
In determining public records retention requirements, four values must be considered to ensure that the
records will fulfill their reason for creation and maintenance. These values are administrative, legal, fiscal,
and historical. These four values have been evaluated in depth to determine the retention requirements
of the records listed in this General Records Schedule.
There are two particular financial factors which may impact the retention period of an agency’s records:
A. Audits - Audits are the means by which independent auditors examine and express an
opinion on financial statements and, as applicable, report on public agencies’ compliance
with laws, regulations, and internal controls. Audit requirements for state financial assistance
provided by State of Florida agencies to nonstate entities are established by the Florida
Single Audit Act, s. 215.97, F.S.
There are various types of audits. Performance audits examine the economy and efficiency
and/or effectiveness of applicable programs, activities, or functions. Financial audits include
(1) an examination of financial statements in order to express an opinion on the fairness with
which they present financial position, results of operations, and changes in financial position
in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles; (2) an examination to determine
whether operations are properly conducted in accordance with legal and regulatory
requirements; and (3) an examination of any additional financial information necessary to
comply with generally accepted accounting principles. As applicable, the scope of the
financial audit shall include any additional auditing activities necessary to comply with the
term “financial audit” as defined and used in Government Auditing Standards, as amended.
Also as applicable, the scope of a financial audit shall encompass the additional activities
necessary to establish compliance with the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996, Public
Law 104-156 (31 U.S.C.A. ss. 7501 to 7507); United States Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) Circular A-133; and other applicable federal law.
Audits may be conducted by the Florida Auditor General, independent public accountants, or
other state or federal auditors, as well as grant funding agencies and national or statewide
professional accreditation or certification groups.
B. Grants - Any public agency receiving local, state, or federal grant money will need to be
familiar with grantor-agency requirements.
III. SCHEDULING AND DISPOSITION OF PUBLIC RECORDS
The procedures for scheduling and disposition of public records, applicable to all public agencies, consist
of two separate but related actions:
A. Establishing a Records Retention Schedule - A retention schedule describing the records and setting
the minimum retention period is required for each record series. A record series, as defined in Florida
Administrative Code Rule 1B-24, is “a group of related documents arranged under a single filing
arrangement or kept together as a unit because they consist of the same form, relate to the same
subject, result from the same activity, or have certain common characteristics.” Examples of series that agencies might maintain are Personnel Files, Client Case Files, Project Research Files,
Equipment Maintenance and Repair Records, or Procurement Files. Each record series might
contain records in a variety of forms and formats that collectively document a particular program,
function, or activity of the agency. The records retention schedule establishes officially the minimum
length of time that the record series must be retained.
1. General records schedules establish retention requirements for records documenting
administrative and program functions common to several or all government agencies,
such as personnel, accounting, purchasing, and general administration. General records
schedules can cover up to 75-80 percent of an agency’s record series. The General
Records Schedule GS1-SL for State and Local Government Agencies can be used by all
state and local agencies in determining their records retention requirements.
Certain agencies can use other general records schedules in conjunction with the GS1-
SL. General records schedules have been established for program records of specific
functional areas. For example, the GS5 for Universities and Community Colleges
establishes retention requirements for program records unique to the functions and
activities of those types of institutions; the GS9 for State Attorneys establishes retention
requirements for program records unique to State Attorneys’ offices; and the GS12 for
Property Appraisers establishes retention requirements for program records unique to
Property Appraisers’ offices. Please contact the Records Management Program to verify
which general records schedules are appropriate for use by your agency.
If a similar record series is listed in two general record schedules, the retention
requirements contained in the program schedule shall take precedence. For instance, if
a record series is listed in both the GS1-SL and the GS3, elections offices should abide
by the retention requirements cited in the GS3.
REMEMBER: The retention period stated in the applicable schedule is the minimum
time a record must be maintained. If two or more record series are filed together, the
combined file must be retained through the longest retention period of those records.
2. Individual records schedules establish retention requirements for records that are
unique to particular agencies. These schedules are used for the 20-25 percent of an
agency’s records that are not in a general schedule. To establish an individual records
schedule, an agency must submit a Records Retention Schedule, Form LS5E105Reff.1-
01, to the Records Management Program for review and approval. This “105” form is
available on the Records Management Web site at:
Records become eligible for disposition action once they have met the retention
requirements specified in an established retention schedule and any other applicable
requirements (e.g., litigation). The individual schedule remains effective until there is a
change in series content or until other factors are introduced which would affect the
retention period, at which time a new individual records retention schedule should be
submitted for approval. If a new general records schedule is later established that
requires an equal or longer retention period for the same records, that general records
schedule supersedes the individual records schedule.
B. Final Disposition of Public Records - Florida Statutes section 257.36(6) states that, "A public record
may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of only in accordance with retention schedules established
by the division." This means that all records, regardless of access provisions, must be scheduled
before disposition can occur (see Florida Statutes sections 119.07-119.0721 regarding access
provisions). Agencies must identify an appropriate general records schedule or individual records
schedule for any records being disposed of. If a retention schedule for the records does not exist,
then one must be established by following the procedures listed above for “Establishing a Records
Records Disposition Documentation - Agencies must maintain internal documentation of records
disposition including retention schedule number, retention schedule item number, records series title,
inclusive dates, and volume (in cubic feet) of records destroyed. A form titled Records Disposition
Document, which is recommended for use in documenting records disposition, is available on the http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/recordsmgmt/publications.cfm. Agencies Records Management Web site atmust maintain this documentation as a permanent record, but should not submit it to the Records
Management Program for review or approval.
IV. ARCHIVAL VALUE
A. State agencies - The State Archives of Florida will analyze record series to identify records having
enduring historic, administrative, or fiscal value that may be eligible for permanent preservation. If a
record series description states, “These records may have archival value,” the state agency must
contact the State Archives of Florida for archival review before disposition of the records. The RMLO
or other agency representative should contact the Archives by telephone at (850) 245-6750, SunCom
205-6750; or by e-mail at email@example.com. The Archives will provide guidance for the transfer
of the records to the State Archives or other appropriate disposition of the records. For records
indicating both a Permanent retention and possible archival value, agencies should contact the State
Archives after five years for archival review and guidance as to whether, when, and how to transfer
the records to the Archives.
B. All other agencies - When preparing to dispose of records that have met their required retention,
carefully consider the potential historical research value of those records. Some records that do not
have a permanent retention still might have enduring value to your community as evidence of the
interactions between government and citizens and as sources of information about local government,
society, and culture. For your convenience, we have indicated that “These records may have
archival value” for series that are most likely to have such historical or archival value. Not all such
records will be determined to be archival; conversely, some records without this statement in the
series description might have archival value. Records of historical value to your community should be
preserved locally for the benefit of historians and other researchers. Technical assistance in
determining archival value is available from State Archives staff at (850) 245-6750.
V. ELECTRONIC RECORDS
Records schedules apply to records regardless of their physical format. Therefore, records created or
maintained in electronic format must be retained in accordance with the minimum retention requirements
presented in these schedules, whether the electronic records are the record copy or duplicates. Printouts
of standard correspondence in text or word processing files are acceptable in place of the electronic files.
Printouts of e-mail files are acceptable in place of the electronic files provided that the printed version
contains the complete header information, including all date/time stamps, routing information, etc.
VI. FACTORS WHICH MAY INFLUENCE THE DISPOSITION OF RECORDS
Litigation - When a public agency has been notified that a potential cause of action is pending A.or underway, that agency should immediately place a hold on disposition of any and all
records related to that cause. Your agency’s legal counsel should inform your Records
Management Liaison Officer when that hold can be lifted and the records are again eligible
B. Public Records Requests - According to Section 119.07(1)(f), F.S., the custodian of a public
record may not dispose of a record “for a period of 30 days after the date on which a written
request to inspect or copy the record was served on or otherwise made to the custodian of
public records by the person seeking access to the record. If a civil action is instituted within
the 30-day period to enforce the provisions of this section with respect to the requested
record, the custodian of public records may not dispose of the record except by order of a
court of competent jurisdiction after notice to all affected parties.”
C. Accreditation Standards - Some public agencies receive national or statewide accreditation or
certification by professional societies, organizations, and associations. Examples may
include the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, and the Commission on Office
Laboratory Accreditation. In an effort to enhance the professionalism of their members, these
groups may place heavier burdens on public agencies than those which are mandated under
state or federal law. Agencies may therefore choose to maintain their records for a longer
period of time than required by established records retention schedules in order to meet
accreditation standards. However, records cannot be disposed of before the minimum
retention period dictated by the records retention schedules, even if the accrediting
organization requires a shorter retention period.
D. Records in Support of Financial or Performance Audits - These records should be retained in
accordance with the following guidelines provided by the Florida Office of the Auditor General:
Records must be retained for at least three fiscal years (most financial records must be
retained for a minimum of five fiscal years in accordance with guidelines of the Department of
Financial Services and the Office of the Auditor General). If subject to the Federal Single
Audit (pursuant to 31 U.S.C., Section 7502, and OMB Circular A-133, Audits of States,
Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, Subpart E) or other federal audit or
reporting requirements, records must be maintained for the longer of the stated
retention period or three years after the release date of the applicable Federal Single
Audit or completion of other federal audit or reporting requirements. Finally, if any
other audit, litigation, claim, negotiation, or other action involving the records has been
started before the expiration of the retention period and the disposition of the records, the
records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arise
from it. However, in no case can such records be disposed of before the three fiscal year
E. Federal, state, or local laws and regulations regarding recordkeeping and records retention
for specific agencies or specific types of records might require a longer retention than
indicated in this General Schedule. Agencies should be aware of all laws and regulations
relating to their records and recordkeeping requirements.
VII. RECORDS MANAGEMENT STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS
Unless otherwise prohibited by law or rule, the record copy may be reformatted to microfilm or electronic
form as long as the requirements of Florida Administrative Code, Rule 1B-26.003 or 1B-26.021 are met.
A. Electronic Recordkeeping is defined in Rule 1B-26.003, Florida Administrative Code, which
provides standards and guidelines for creation and maintenance of record (master) copies of
public records in electronic form. Public records are those as defined by section 119.011(11),
B. Microfilm Standards are defined in Rule 1B-26.021, Florida Administrative Code, which
provides standards for microfilming of public records to ensure that the film, photography
methods, processing, handling, and storage are in accordance with methods, procedures,
and specifications designed to protect and preserve such records on microfilm.
VIII. RECORDS VOLUME CONVERSION TO CUBIC FOOT MEASUREMENTS
Cassette Tapes (200) 1.0 cu. ft.
Letter-size, drawer or box 1.5 cu. ft.
Legal-size, drawer or box 2.0 cu. ft.
Letter-size, 36” shelf 2.0 cu. ft.
Legal-size, 36” shelf 2.5 cu. ft.
Magnetic Tapes (12) 1.0 cu. ft.
3 x 5 card, ten 12” rows 1.0 cu. ft.
3 x 5 card, five 25” rows 1.0 cu. ft.
4 x 6 card, six 12” rows 1.0 cu. ft.
5 x 8 card, four 12” rows 1.0 cu. ft.