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Information about Retention and Disposal Schedules for state government is available online at inside.michigan.gov/recordsmanagement. This intranet page is only accessible to state employees. Please contact Records Management Services at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need additional information.
Retention and Disposal Schedules identify the records that are maintained by government agencies, regardless of format. Schedules define how long records need to be retained, and they specify if/when records can be destroyed. Local government schedules are approved by the agency, Records Management Services (DTMB), Archives of Michigan (DNR), and the State Administrative Board. Approved schedules provide the only legal authority to destroy public records. If a local government agency has records that are not covered by an approved general schedule, they must prepare and submit an agency-specific schedule. Below are the instructions.
Creating Retention and Disposal Schedules
Note: agency-specific schedules only need to cover records that are not covered by an approved general schedule, or records that the agency wants to retain for a different amount of time than what is approved by a general schedule.
1. Conduct an inventory of all records or records series created or maintained by the agency. Identify which, if any, records are already covered by a general schedule approved by the State of Michigan. Record Inventory Tips:
- It helps to select a room or cubicle, and then survey each drawer of each file cabinet or shelving unit to determine its contents.
- While conducting the inventory, it would be a good idea to ensure that all drawers, shelves, file folders, boxes, etc. are properly labeled.
- Identify any databases, spreadsheets, etc. that are used to support business processes or to help access paper files (such as indexes).
- Consider the duties and responsibilities of each employee and identify all records (both paper and electronic) that each employee creates and uses.
2. Create a list of the record series identified by the inventory. Do not include the series that are already covered by approved general schedules that meet the agency's needs. Create a brief description of the function and content of each series. Try to answer the following questions:
- Why is the record series created?
- Does a law mandate the creation of the records series? If so, which law?
- How is the records series created?
- How are the records organized? (alphabetically, chronologically, etc.)
- What format(s) does the records series exist in? (paper, photographs, maps, drawings, microfilm, digital images, e-mail, database, etc.)
- What information can be found on a particular record? (names, dates, social security numbers, addresses, etc.)
- Does the record series contain confidential information?
- When did the agency first start to create/receive this record series? Is the record series still created?
- What is the date range of the current holdings?
- Do other agencies maintain the same exact records series? If so, who? Why?
3. Establish retention periods for each records series based upon the following:
- Statutorily required retention period, if any
- Statute of limitation requirements
- Audit requirements
- Administrative need
- Potential historical value
5. Fill out the Local Government Contact Information form. Send both the completed Record Inventory and Local Government Contact Information forms to DTMB Records Management Services via email at email@example.com for review.
6. When the draft is ready for approval, DTMB Records Management Services will use the State of Michigan eSignature tool to send the schedule to the agency representative for signing. The agency contact person will be notified when the schedule is approved.
7. Distribute the newly approved schedule to affected employees and establish a routine for disposing the records according to the provisions of the schedule.