Using General Records Retention Schedules
General records retention schedules (also called general schedules) describe records that are commonly encountered by offices throughout the University. General schedules apply to all University offices and should be adopted immediately.
General Schedule Format
The standard format of general records retention schedules:
Record Series Effective Date, Last Modified Date
Refer to the Glossary of Terms for definitions of terms used in records retention schedules.
Adopting General Schedules
The first step is to familiarize yourself with the University's general schedules. Remember that your office is responsible for adhering to any general schedules that relate to records created or received by your office. (Exception: If there is a conflict between a general schedule and an office-specific schedule for your office, the office-specific schedule takes precedence. For example, if you have an office-specific schedule for Strategic Plans, follow the office-specific schedule instead of the Strategic Plans general schedule. In all other cases, offices with Strategic Plans are expected to follow the general schedule.)
When you identify a general schedule that applies to your office's records, determine whether you have official copies, unofficial copies, or both. Official copies typically require longer retention than unofficial copies. Only one office holds the official copy of each unique record, while multiple offices could hold unofficial copies.
The general schedule for Accounts Payable Records, for example, covers "purchase orders, requisitions, journal vouchers, invoices, receipts, payment authorizations, checks, bills, and other related documentation" that are submitted to the Controller's Group. The Controller's Group maintains the official copies of these records. If you submit Accounts Payable Records to the Controller's Group but keep copies for yourself, you are keeping unofficial copies. The general schedule instructs you to destroy unofficial copies within 3 years.
Next, look at your files to identify records that have passed their retention period. Apply to those records the instructions listed under Office Disposition. In this example, any unofficial copies of Accounts Payable Records that are more than 3 years old will be destroyed. As they are unofficial copies, the office may choose to destroy them in less than 3 years. In other general schedules, the Office Disposition will instruct you to transfer records to the University Archives.
When a new year begins, start a new file and remove the oldest file for disposition.
Establish and maintain an annual records clean-out routine so that you never have records that have passed their retention period.
This page was last updated January 4, 2013