New Policy Template for Local Governments

WHEREUNTO, the policy models of yore have duly met the minimum retention period for administrative value.

HEREBY, the Records Management Assistance unit has produced an updated policy template for non-elected local governments to use!

For most of the last decade TSLAC offered 4 different policy models for any local government to use to satisfy the compliance filing requirements in the Local Government Records Act. At the beginning of 2020, we debuted a new form for elected offices,the SLR 512, which is a combination of a records management policy and Declaration of Compliance by an Elected County Official. The SLR 512 has replaced the old “Policy Model #1” and if you have recently filed the 512 with us, no new action is needed.

The other three policy models were geared for non-elected offices, and we aimed to streamline them into just one basic template that can be expanded upon. We used to have the multi-page “Policy Model #2” that had everything but the kitchen sink, “Policy Model #3” was a bit paired down for small municipalities, and “Policy Model #4” was the most succinct and could be applicable to nearly any type of district.

As of 2020, we expect that all large county governments have a draft or template to use when updating their policies, and most cities have an ordinance in place that can be updated. So we decided to stick with the basics and provide just one efficient policy template and then provide guidance for any local governments seeking to expand upon their policy.

After deciding to start with the most basic policy template, we removed a lot of archaic terms in favor of plain language. Phrases like “whereas” or “hereby” were nixed because they sounded unnecessarily formal. The tone of the old models reminded me of the scene when the Mayor of Munchkin City (in the county of the land of Oz) confers with the Coroner, and they sing a whole cute song just to confirm that the Wicked Witch was “not only merely dead she’s really most sincerely dead.”

Next, we added a cover sheet with context about the purpose of and guidance on how to use the template and where to send it to fulfill the filing requirements. You won’t send the cover sheet back to us—just the completed policy. We have a forthcoming blog article with more guidance on how to customize your policy and you can always contact your region’s analyst for recommendations and best practices.

Finally, before we published the template, we had our agency’s legal counsel and communications office review the template for accuracy and proper grammar. We trusted ourselves to include all the necessary information, but relied on other subject matter experts at TSLAC to critique the template. The last test will be releasing it into the wild to ensure that it’s useful to local governments who need it.

Get the new policy model template today!*

* Not required if your local government already has an approved policy on file with TSLAC.

The model is currently available in a fillable Word format, but a fillable PDF is soon to come.

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