The law broadly defines what constitutes a “public record.” According to RCW 40.14.010 it is defined as being “made by or received by [the university] . . . in connection with the transaction of public business” and “regardless of physical form or characteristics”. According to RCW 42.56.010 it is “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function, prepared, owned, used, or retained by [the university] regardless of physical form or characteristics.”
For the purposes of these laws, public records include: emails, text messages, social media posts, voice mail, art, maps, photos, video and sound recordings, documents (paper and electronic), and so much more! Additionally, if university business is conducted on personally owned devices like laptop computers, cell phones, the resulting records constitute public records.
Everyone! Public records created in connection with the transaction of public business, belong to the university as an agency of the State of Washington, not to the employee. So it is up to each and every employee to follow the Retention Schedules approved by the Washington Office of the Secretary of State.
A Record Series is the type or “genre” of a collection of records which are used for a specific function. For example, some records series that apply to the university include: Human Resource Management (records related to the university’s workforce); Student Administration (records regarding the administration and management of students from application for admission, to enrollment, to completion/discontinuation); Teaching and Learning (records designed to facilitate learning including curriculum planning and development, delivery, assessment, and evaluation); etc.
A Disposition Authority Number is a code used to systematically identify a Record Series in a legal document that defines retentions and disposal of records.
Examples: GS 01001 (General State DAN which applies to university financial transactions) and 74-07-05577 (EWU specific DAN which applies to student admission applications).
A record that has met its retention cut-off is considered inactive for its retention period.
A cut-off is an event which triggers the beginning of a retention period.
Example: Retain for 6 years after end of fiscal year
These are records needed, in the event of a disaster, to continue operations. The university needs these records to resume its core functions following a disaster.
The purpose of this plan is to help offices protect their essential records information from damage, loss, or theft.
First, the Essential Records Plan helps you:
Second, when a disaster does occur, the plan:
There are several factors which must be met before records subject to retention can be destroyed:
Satisfactory answers to these questions (an answer of "yes, no, no, no”) then results in a Transmittal being completed, signed by the department, and recorded with Records Management.
Note: records that have minimal retention value (transitory records) only need to be retained until they are no longer needed for university business. Transitory records can be destroyed by the employee.
Have you ever entered a messy garage and thought to yourself, “I know it is in here, somewhere” or taken stock of what is in the fridge before grocery shopping? These activities are kind of like a records inventory. It is taking stock of what you have and organizing it so you know where it is located. It is basically a list of the records that are stored in the box.
It may seem daunting at first, but investing a little bit of time can save you and your office time, stress, and money in the long run.
Contact Records Management to get started.
The biggest thing is consistency. Be consistent in: