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Records Management: Retention Schedule Preparation

Records Survey
Certifying the Schedule
Maintaining the Schedule

Records Survey

Consulting with a records specialist ensures that retention of records is neither too short, nor too long. Records maintained for an insufficient retention period can constitute a legal and fiscal liability for your department and the Institution.

The UTMB RRS is developed by collecting information about all records. This information is documented on a records survey, then analyzed to determine retention requirements.

The survey covers all records, regardless of volume, location or media. The survey identifies and gathers data on a records series basis, not on individual records or files. A records series is a group of records with the same function and the same retention period. Records series are not limited by volume or media.

Survey data provides facts on which to base an analysis of the records. The records survey becomes the working document for the creation of the RRS. An effective Records Management Program cannot be established or maintained without a complete records survey.

Texas Government Code §441.185 states:

  1. Each records management officer, with the cooperation of any staff of a state agency that the officer considers necessary, shall survey the state records of the agency and prepare and submit a records retention schedule to the state records administrator.

  2. The records retention schedule must list the state records created and received by the agency, propose a period of time each record shall be maintained by the agency, and provide other information necessary for the operation of an effective Records Management Program.

The primary objective of the record survey is to develop and implement the RRS by:

  • Identifying all records by records series

  • Determining the physical location and medium of all records, including the record copy and any non-record copies (convenience)

  • Identifying the function of the records

The record survey supports other goals by:

  • Identifying the range of dates and quantity of each records series

  • Identifying the filing equipment and supplies used to maintain records

  • Describing the current filing and retrieval systems

  • Calculating the amount of space dedicated to active and inactive records

  • Evaluating the costs of record keeping

  • Identifying paths of distribution

Completion of the records survey is a collaborative effort between Records Specialists and Department Record Coordinators.

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Records Management staff will use the data collected during the records survey to develop and maintain the RRS. The official decisions to be made during the analysis process are:

  1. Record classification
  2. Unique records series number
  3. Official records series title
  4. In-office retention period
  5. Off site retention period (storage of records during inactive phase)
  6. Total retention period (the sum of in-office and off-site retention periods)
  7. Archival status
  8. Any basis for retention period, e.g., legal citation, policy and/or other guidelines specific to the department

During the analysis process Records Management staff must follow the recommendations found in the Texas State Records Retention Schedule when making retention decisions. This document provides an authoritative guideline for minimum retention periods required of each records series. They are also recommended as appropriate maximum retention periods.

In addition to the common records listed in the state guidelines, UTMB has unique records series that must be included in the RRS. We commonly refer to these as program records.

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Certifying the Schedule

Compliance with Texas Administrative Code §6.3 requires UTMB to certify its RRS every three years from the last certification date. Prior to certification UTMB's RRS must:

  1. List all records series regardless of medium
  2. Identify archival records
  3. Ensure that minimum retention periods prescribed by the Texas State Records Retention Schedule are met
  4. Ensure that UTMB's program records are scheduled on the RRS for a length of time sufficient to meet administrative, legal, fiscal, and archival requirements
  5. Be submitted in a manner and form prescribed by the state records administrator

When these requirements are met, Records Management will submit the RRS to the following agencies for review and approval:

  • UT System

  • Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Upon approval, the Texas State Library will forward the Certification and Approval form to UTMB. Records specialists will distribute them to Department Records Coordinators and schedule training sessions as needed.

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Maintaining the Schedule

Records Management is responsible for approving and maintaining all revisions to the schedule.

Between certifications, department records coordinators are responsible for providing Records Management with documentation regarding changes to their RRS. Changes may include:

  1. Adding or dropping a records series
  2. Changing in-office, storage, or total retention periods
  3. Adding to or revising remarks relevant to citations of applicable federal or state laws or regulations or other information regarding records retention requirements.

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UTMB's Records Retention Schedule will be decertified if the procedures outlined in Texas Administrative Code §6.3 are not followed.

If UTMB's RRS is decertified, no department will be authorized to destroy records based on the schedule and must request authorization from the director and librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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Learn More

Contact us by phone:

Records Retention



Records Center


Business Hours
M-F 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

1902 Harborside Drive
Suite 4.128
Galveston, Texas


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