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Develop Retention Schedules

Records Retention Schedule Requirement and Process

State agencies are required under Louisiana R.S. 44:411 to develop and submit a records retention schedule (a listing of their agency's records with the retention requirements to meet their administrative, legal and financial needs) for review and approval by the State Archives. Until a retention schedule has been approved, Louisiana R.S. 44:36 requires agencies to maintain their records for three years from the date the record is made (unless required longer by specific statute). It is important to note that Louisiana R.S. 44:36 does not exempt agencies from developing a records retention schedule or getting approval to dispose of records prior to their disposal as required under Louisiana R.S. 44:411.

The Records Management program oversees the records retention schedule review and approval process.  Agencies wishing to submit a records retention schedule should use form SSARC-932 to format their submission for review and approval. Free training classes are offered to assist agencies in the development of their schedules. Information on the classes offered, dates and times can be found on the Get Records Management Training page.

Applying an Approved Records Retention Schedule

Once an agency's records retention schedule has been approved, the agency should begin the process to dispose of the records that have met the retention requirements indicated on their schedule. Agencies are required to get authorization to dispose of records (scheduled or unscheduled) from the State Archives before they actually dispose of the records. 

Agencies should use form SSARC-930  to request permission to dispose of their records. It is important to note that authorization is required even if the records in question appear on an approved records retention schedule. The process provides documentation that the records were disposed of during the normal course of business and in compliance with an approved records retention schedule. This process also allows the State Archives to request records that may have possible archival value to be transferred to their custody for review and possible inclusion in the State Archives collection. Additionally, this process plays an important role in helping agencies whose records may have been damaged document the damage and assist the State Archives in preventing possible duplicates of damaged records from being disposed of before a request for copies from another agency can be made.

Maintenance of Records Retention Schedule

Once a records retention schedule has been approved, agencies are encouraged to review the schedule annually to see if any changes have occurred operationally or legislatively. In addition, a 2003 change in the administrative rules governing records management requires that an agency renew their records retention schedule every five years. Schedules that were approved more than five years ago and have not been renewed are considered expired.

For more information on the additional information required and the codes used on the SSARC-932, please view this records retention schedule update presentation.