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GENERAL RECORDS SCHEDULE

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GENERAL RECORDS SCHEDULE

    GENERAL RECORDS SCHEDULE

    GENERAL INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS

    FOREWORD

    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:

    http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/recordsmanagers/

    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

    Liaison Officer.

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:

    http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/recordsmgmt/publications.cfm

    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

    Retention Schedule.”

    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 recmgt@dos.state.fl.us. 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

    for disposition.

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

    minimum.

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),

    Florida Statutes.

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.

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