Out of all the FAQs we’ve covered over the last 7 years, I would say this question is the most frequent of all! It’s a combination of two related questions, actually.
If we’ve scanned our records electronically, can we shred the original paper copies to make space?
Do we need to submit an electronic storage authorization request, as required per LGC §205.007?
We have addressed both of these questions in a few older blog posts:
- FAQ: “Can a local government destroy a paper original after scanning?”
- FAQ Redux: Can a state agency destroy a paper original after scanning?
- FAQ: “How do I submit an ‘Electronic Storage Authorization Request?’”
Since we continue to get inquiries about the topic we thought we’d highlight the answer again here on our blog. Which is…
There are several considerations to make about choosing to store records electronically, such as potential business needs or any forecasted audits or litigation. For local governments, records with retention periods of 10 years or more must follow the rules in Bulletin B, and state agencies must follow the rules in Bulletin 1, all of which ensure that government records are available 50 years from now when technology will have evolved further than most of us can predict.
As for the authorization to store electronically, local governments simply need to have the necessary compliance elements on file with us, particularly the form SLR 508 Declaration of Compliance, and then you are authorized to store any records on the retention schedules electronically instead of or in addition to paper. Check out another past blog article – Compliance 101 for Local Governments: Overview – for guidance on ensuring that your office’s filing is up to date.
Spread the word and make some space is you are in compliance and have records in boxes or filing cabinets that have past met the short-term retention periods.