Records Liaison Training City of Oregon City
The Role of Records Liaisons As Records Liaison you will: • Be your department’s “point person” for records management issues • Work with users to understand recordkeeping requirements • Educate users to identify records and non-records; role of convenience copies • Work to ensure that records are maintained as defined in the State’s OARs - Retention Schedule • Assist with Grateful Shred Day tasks
Why Records Management? • Every records program must address well-defined objectives which will add value, either directly to the bottom line or toward the achievement of the department's goals and objectives. Records management objectives usually fall into one or more of three categories: 1. Minimizing litigation and liability risks 2. Improving access to information 3. Safeguarding essential information
Why Records Management? • Records management programs must manage organizational information so that it is timely, accurate, complete, cost-effective, accessible and useable. Better information, at the right time, makes better business. • Many organizations now consider their information “strategic” in nature.
Why Records Management? To Ensure Regulatory Compliance • Comply with laws and regulations that define program. • Non-compliance could result in severe fines, penalties or other legal consequences. • To Minimize Litigation Risks • Reduce the liabilities associated with document disposal by providing for their systematic, routine disposal in the normal course of business.
Why Records Management? To Safeguard Essential Information • Identify essential records and develop a plan for protection in the event of disaster. To Support Better Management Decision Making • By implementing agency-wide file organization, including indexing and retrieval capability, managers can obtain and assemble pertinent information quickly for current decisions and future business planning purposes.
What is a Public Record? • "Public record" means information that is prepared, owned, used or retained by a city; relates to an activity, transaction or function of the city; is necessary to satisfy the fiscal, legal, administrative or historical policies, requirements or needs of the city. • ORS 192.005(5) (See the ORS for complete definition)
What is a Public Record? • “Public record” does not include the following: • 192.005(5)(b) • Extra copies of a document, preserved only for convenience of reference. • A stock of publications. • Messages on voice mail or on other telephone message storage and retrieval systems. • Others (see ORS definition)
What is a Public Record? The life cycle of a record: • Creation & receipt: correspondence, forms, reports, etc • Distribution: internal & external • Use: decision making, documentation, response, reference • Maintenance: file, retrieve, transfer • Disposition: inactive storage, archive, destroy
What is a Records Retention Schedule? • The State Archivist has approved a schedule of records retention for use by all municipalities in the State of Oregon. The State Archivist is the only legal authority in the state to grant permission to destroy public records; retention cannot be negotiated by union contract or arbitrarily set by any public entity. • All records that are generated in the normal course of business are assigned a retention.
What is a Records Retention Schedule? • The retention determines if, or when, the records can be destroyed. • The schedule provides mandatory instructions for what to do with records (and non-record materials) no longer needed for current business. • Records retention and disposal should occur at regular intervals in the normal course of business of the department.
What is a Records Retention Schedule? • OAR 166-200’s • The General Schedule addresses most record types at the City program level. • Retentions are stated as “minimum retention”; the city may keep longer (within reason), but assumes the legal risk by doing so. Reasons for longer retention should be well documented.
What is a Records Retention Schedule? • Special Schedules are written for records not currently covered in the General Schedule and are subject to approval by the State Archivist. Approved Special Schedules are valid for a period of 5 years. • Retention schedules pertain to the original record. • Record copies should be retained as needed- not to exceed the life of the original record (copies can be discoverable in a court proceeding)
What is a Records Retention Schedule? Retention schedule at the municipal level: • Incorporates program records (either from the general schedule or special schedule), financial, personnel, risk management, and “housekeeping” records in one document (all that apply). • The retention documents capture the maximum amount of time records are being kept at the department level.
What is a Records Retention Schedule? Retention schedule at the municipal level: • The retention documents incorporate program naming conventions and records that are convenience copies • The retention documents can be amended to reflect changes with programs/regulation, etc. • The retention schedule is what should be produced in court, should there be a litigation involving records
Other Points To Know: • Records scheduled by the State with a retention of 100 years or more (including permanent) must be maintained in either paper or microfilm formats to meet State requirements (they may be scanned for convenience purposes). UPDATE: This law is changing with the advent of HP TRIM, the SOS’s program developed through a Master Service Agreement.
Other Points To Know: • All records which may be used in a financial audit/examination must be kept until after such audit/examination is completed and all claims, or audit finding are resolved. • Also, once your department is notified of a pending litigation, all records destruction for records pertinent to the litigation must cease. Keep all records that may be used in pending or current litigation until its settlement.
Other Points To Know: • Courts have imposed penalties on entities that failed to have current records retention schedules or failed to follow established procedures to manage and safeguard records properly. Dismissal of cases, fines and sanctions has been imposed for failure to produce required records. If records are willfully withheld or the entity cannot demonstrate a good faith effort to find them, in some extreme cases criminal sanctions have been imposed.
E-Mail Under Oregon’s public records law, many e-mail messages are clearly public records. The definition of public records in ORS 192.005(5) does not distinguish the physical form or characteristic of the record. E-mail is a public record if it meets the definition in ORS 192.005(5).
E-Mail • Although some messages may not fall under the definition of public record, when creating e-mail it is safest toassume the message is a public record. Since most messages are public records, the only privacy an employee can expect is that afforded through disclosure exemptions. The privacy afforded government employees using government e-mail systems is minimal.
E-Mail • The Outlook In-Box should not be used for storage of e-mails. If an e-mail has value it should be either: moved to an Outlook folder (one you have created); printed and put into an appropriate hard file; or stored according to your city’s IT policies. Remember, this also applies to e-mail attachments!! • The Sender is responsible for managing the official record • It is the responsibility of the holder of the official record to make sure the file is updated. • Remember, E-mail is managed by the content of the message.
Process Improvements at the Department Level • Identify what documentation needs to be kept for each function your department performs. Examine workflow. • Designate a record copy of each document, deliverable, product, or other record and keep it in an official file. Control copy distribution.
Process Improvements at the Department Level • Make someone responsible for the official file and put that responsibility in his or her performance standards. • Develop and implement a file plan for both paper & electronic records- make it part of policy, everyone must follow file plan. • Break your files at the end of each year and start new files. • File reference materials separately from official records.
Process Improvements at the Department Level • File on a regular basis. • Hold records clean-up days at least once a year. • Retire inactive records to the Record Center. • Maintain an inventory of what records you have and where they are located. • Purge duplicates, copies and drafts as soon as not needed. • Consider doing a department self-evaluation (audit & compliance) to define strong/weak processes.