Retention Schedule Preparation (Permanent or Non-Permanent)

  • For every record series, you need to decide whether it is a permanent or non-permanent record. Then you must decide how long your agency needs that record to carry out daily business
  • If your appraisal determines that a record will always have value, then the record is permanent.
  • Permanent records are never destroyed. When they are no longer needed for the operation of business, they should be transferred to the Maryland State Archives (or another local archives as established by COMAR 14.18.03 for permanent retention.
  • If a record loses value after a set amount of time or after specified criteria is met, then that record is non-permanent.
  • If, within a record series, only certain examples have permanent worth, we suggest that you use a screening retention statement. Screening retention statements state that a series will be screened by the agency, using stated criteria, so that records they consider as have lasting worth are retained permanently while the rest are destroyed.
  • Below is a list of records often maintained permanently. This list is provided as a suggestion, and is not a requirement or a definitive list.
    • Agency procedures and policies
    • Agendas and meeting minutes (record copies)
    • Annual reports (record copies)
    • Original acquisitions, deeds, conveyances, notices of sale, and easements
    • Records related to exposure to materials with long-term health effects, such as lead and asbestos
    • Bonds, books of final entry, general ledgers, and independent/external audits
    • Site plans, building permits, and building drawings
    • Charter records
    • Legal opinions of government law offices and original signed legislation
    • Licenses (record copies)
  • Below is a list of records that are often non-permanent. This list is provided as a suggestion, and is not a requirement or a definitive list.
    • Agenda drafts and unofficial minutes
    • Monthly or quarterly reports
    • Personnel records
    • Contracts, grants, payroll records, and purchase orders
    • Legislative audits (except for the record copies held by the Department of Legislative Audits)
    • Reference copies of State laws and publications
    • Correspondence (including email) - It is recommended that correspondence and email be screened so that items with lasting value are retained permanently.
  • Remember that a record's permanence is based on content, not on format (paper, electronic, etc.)

Drafting Retention Schedules »

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This web site is provided as a courtesy of the Maryland State Archives. As you develop your records management program, you should consult with the Records Management Division of the Department of General Services and your staff counsel.

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