Records Management :: Consultation and Technical Advice

Consultation and Technical Advice

The proliferation of information technologies has made records management issues more complex and costly than ever before. Primary among these issues are questions such as how to control growth and ensure preservation of all forms of records. The Records Management Division provides state agencies with professional consulting services to meet these challenges. Records Analysts work with agencies to help them manage their records efficiently, effectively and at a minimum cost. These staff members assist with records management issues such as retention, storage of semi-active and inactive physical records and destruction or transfer of records that have reached the end of their life cycle.

Electronic Records Advice

The Records Analysts also make recommendations to the State Records Commission on the establishment of standards, guidelines and policies for the management of electronic records generated by the state of Missouri. More and more of the information generated by state governmental agencies is created and stored electronically. Whether the record is an email message, a scanned image or the original digital file, the content of the record must still be managed with the same diligence as paper-based records.

Records Analysts provide technical assistance and advice to state governmental agencies when they are integrating electronic records into their records retention schedules, ensuring that proper archival, legal, administrative and fiscal requirements are met. By evaluating electronic record-keeping systems and the types of records agencies keep electronically, Analysts can help agencies increase their efficiency and accessibility to the records.

The Records Management Division is currently working to provide guidelines for the development of a comprehensive electronic records management program.

For more information about electronic records, see the
Missouri Electronic Records Education and Training Initiative.

Agency Records Disposition Schedule

The most important step in the records management process is developing a records disposition schedule. The records disposition schedule is vital to an effective plan of records management. The schedule lists each type of document used by the agency, the recommended retention period, its manner of destruction and other considerations. Records Analysts from the Records Management Division assist agencies in determining how long records should be kept, how they should be stored, whether microfilm or imaging would be alternatives and other aspects of records management.

A Records Management Liaison (RML) is the person within an agency who is responsible for making proposed changes to the records disposition schedule. RMLs are given additional permissions in the state records tracking system to allow them to enter their proposed changes directly. RMLs will also be able to create new records series and will do so by working with their analyst. For more information about records and creating a disposition schedule, RMLs should read through the Records Appraisal & Scheduling Standard.

Once a schedule has been submitted by an RML to the Records Management Division, it will undergo a series of editing meetings. The staff will check to make retention periods meet with all state and/or federal requirements. They will also help ensure titles, descriptions and cutoffs are reasonable as well. After the edits are made, the schedule is returned to the agency RML for their approval. If the agency has questions, or wants to discuss the edits, the schedule may be returned to the Records Management Division. This process is repeated as many times as is necessary to produce an agency records disposition schedule that is approved by both the agency and the Records Management Division.

Once the Records Management Division approves a schedule, it is submitted to a member of the State Archives and the State Archivist for review of potential historical content. After their questions are addressed by the agency and the Records Management Division, a State Records Commission approval form is produced and sent to the agency director for their approval and signature. These forms are then submitted to the State Records Commission.

Before any schedule may be used the "State Records Commission" must first approve it. The Commission meets at a minimum once a year and has the final authority on all records management issues. While an agency is waiting for its schedule to be approved it cannot destroy records based upon the pending schedule. They can however store them at the State Records Center until the Commission decides. Once the Commission approves the records disposition schedule, records can then be destroyed according their prescribed retention 109.230 RSMo.

File Plans

The Records Management Division can assist with the development of a file plan for active records. These plans can contain different types of information depending on a specific agencies needs. Some examples of information that can be included in these plans are: identifying numbers, titles, descriptions, arrangement/organization, and workflow for files held in an office, and are used as guides to filing and retrieving files. File plans are useful in ensuring effective records management.

The Records Management Division can assist with the development of a file plan for active records. These plans can contain different types of information depending on a specific agencies needs. Some examples of information that can be included in these plans are: identifying numbers, titles, descriptions, arrangement/organization, and workflow for files held in an office, and are used as guides to filing and retrieving files. File plans are useful in ensuring effective records management.

Once the file plan has been developed it should be approved internally and distributed office wide. File plans should also be updated on a regular basis to ensure that all information is as current as possible. These plans do not require approval from the State Records Commission.

Onsite Storage

If an agency would like information on best practices for setting up an onsite storage facility for their office they can contact their Records Analyst for information. Analysts can also offer consultation on the storage of records that are kept in electronic and micrographic mediums.

For more information, agencies should contact the Records Management Division at
(573) 751-3319 or by e-mail at recman@sos.mo.gov