Management of University Records

Operations and General Administration

Responsibility: Vice-President, Finance and Resources
Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: Dec 14, 2012

Purpose

Effective records management contributes to preservation of relevant documentation relating to all aspects of university functions and activities, legal and public accountability, and efficient use of space.  It is also a key component of risk management.

The purpose of this policy is:

  • to provide a framework for, and make progress towards, a comprehensive university-wide records management program, which will require ongoing development of retention and disposition schedules for specific record groups, new guidelines and procedures, and revision of related policies;
  • to help ensure that university records are created, used, destroyed, and/or preserved in a systematic and appropriate manner, in compliance with relevant legislation, national and international standards, and best practices;
  • to define roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities for records management.

Definitions

  • Record: Recorded information in any media or format that is created or received, and retained in the operations of an organization or person as evidence of functions, policies, decisions and other activities of that organization or person.  Records include, but are not limited to, documents (e.g. letters, memoranda, email, contracts, invoices, reports, minutes, publications); images (e.g. photographs, maps, drawings); audio and video recordings; and compiled, recorded or stored date (e.g. audit trails).

  • University record: A record that is created or received, and retained in the operations of a university unit.

  • University unit: A University of Saskatchewan college, department, school, administrative unit, governing body or committee.

  • Disposition: A range of processes associated with implementing records retention, destruction or transfer.

  • Retention and disposition schedule: A comprehensive document covering the disposition of records to ensure they are retained for as long as necessary based on their administrative, legal and historical value.

Principles

  • Public accountability compels us to establish appropriate processes for managing the university's records.

  • Records management is a collective responsibility.

  • A records management policy must address legal requirements as well as best practices.

  • Records may exist in a variety of formats.

Scope of this policy

The policy applies to any member of the university community responsible for creating, receiving and/or accumulating university records.

Records that are created, received or retained by employees as a part of their research, teaching or artistic work are not currently covered by this policy.  Such material may be covered by other policies; in particular, management and retention of research records is governed by the Research Integrity Policy.

Should any other university activity give rise to a requirement relating to retention of university records, an appropriate schedule should be developed under the framework of the Management of University Records Policy, rather than including specific retention requirements in other policies or procedures.

This policy has been developed in the context of, and is designed to complement the following:

  • existing university policies, including the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Policy; the Data Management, Date Access and Data Use Policy; and the Electronic Mail Policy;
  • collective agreements, particularly provisions relating to employee personnel files and related records and to copyright ownership of material created as part of research, teaching or artistic work;
  • applicable legislation, including the Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Electronic Information and Electronic Documents Act, the Saskatchewan Evidence Act, and the Health Information Protection Act;
  • national standards, including Microfilm and Electronic Images as Documentary Evidence and Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence.

The Data Management, Data Access and Data Use Policy focuses on institutional data stored in electronic systems.  Data stewards and others identified in that policy may also have responsibility for records management.

Policy

All university records must be retained for as long as their preservation is required to meet legal, administrative, operational, and other requirements of the university.  The University Archives, in consultation with a designated committee and appropriate units, will develop records retention and disposition schedules that prescribe the periods for which records must be retained, subject to the final approval of the Vice-President (Finance and Resources).  Records disposition may include retention in the unit, destruction, or transfer to the University Archives for selective or permanent retention.

Activities relating to records management must be carried out in the manner established by the applicable record retention and disposition schedules and other procedures as approved by the Vice-President (Finance and Resources).

It is the responsibility of university units to establish and observe appropriate security measures in maintaining records containing personal or other confidential information in their custody or under their control.  Authorized destruction must be done in a manner such that personal or confidential information is not retrievable.

University employees and others within the scope of this policy must consult the relevant retention and disposition schedules before contemplating the destruction of records; and more generally must ensure that appropriate authorization is in place.

When a university employee leaves a position, the employee's supervisor must reasonably ensure that the university records for which the employee is responsible are left in the custody or under the control of the university.

Responsibilities

The Vice-President (Finance and Resources has general responsibility and authority for records management at a policy level, including the oversight of this policy and approval of records schedules and related procedures.

The University Archives is responsible for leading the development of records retention and disposition schedules and related procedures, and providing advice to university units about records management.

Each university unit will normally designate an employee or employees to be the primary contact(s) with the University Archives on records management issues, and to provide leadership and support to records creators and users within the unit.

The Chief Information Officer has responsibility and authority for institutional data (as documented in the Data Management, Data Access and Data Use Policy), and will endeavour to  ensure that institutional data policies and procedures are implemented in a way that allows this data, where appropriate, to be properly maintained as records.

Non-compliance

Following due process, the university may take action against anyone whose activities are in violation of the law or this policy.  The actions taken may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In the case of employees, disciplinary action up to and including terminations.

  • In the case of students, disciplinary action under the Student Discipline Policy.

  • Legal action that could result in criminal or civil proceedings.

Procedure summary

Retention and disposition schedules and other procedures approved under the framework of this policy will be available on the university records management website, hosted by the University Archives and accessible through other university websites including that of the office of Corporate Administration.

Related Documents

There are no other documents associated with this policy.

Contact Information

Contact Person: University Archives, University Library
Email: university.archives@usask.ca
Phone: 306-966-6028
Website: http://library.usask.ca/archives/records-management/