An Overview of the State Agency Records Disposition Authority (RDA) Revision Process

Previously, we discussed introduced Records Disposition Authorities and how to determine if your state agency Records Disposition Authority (RDA) needs revising:

Many state agency RDAs have not been revised since the late 1990s or early 2000s. They often lack key components and may no longer be consistent with records law and/or best practice. Records Management staff view RDA revision as an opportunity to conduct a holistic review of your currently approved RDA and create an updated document that better serves your agency.

Depending on your agency’s size and the state of its RDA, revision requires a considerable time commitment on the part of both agency staff and Records Management staff.

Read below for an overview of what to expect during the RDA revision process.

Agency Contacts the ADAH Records Management Staff for Initial Consultation

Agencies seeking an RDA revision should contact Records Management staff to schedule an introductory consultation. This meeting will introduce the parties involved and help define the scope of the RDA revision before beginning work.

Contact one of the following staff members to discuss RDA revision:

Once we receive your request for RDA revision, ADAH Records Management staff will place your agency in the scheduling queue. The State Records Commission convenes at regularly scheduled meetings in April and October, where new and revised RDAs are considered alongside other business. Furthermore, the Commission requires a thorough, comprehensive revision to the RDA in which all agency records are reconsidered. In practice, this means that Records Management staff work on RDA projects with six agencies per year on average. Because of the substantial amount of time and effort that RDA revision requires, it may take some time for us to begin actively working with your agency on the revision.

After initial consultation with Records Management staff, your agency should not take any further action on the RDA revision project. Once a Records Management Archivist has been assigned to your agency, the archivist will reach back out to your agency to begin the records survey process.

Records Management Staff Conduct Record Surveys

Once a Records Management Archivist has been assigned to your agency, the archivist will reach out to begin actively working on the RDA revision. The archivist will schedule meetings with each section or division within the agency to gain an understanding of the functions performed and records created. The agency’s responsibility during this phase is to make staff available for the meetings and to answer questions. The number of record surveys and the duration of the revision process will vary depending on your agency’s size. During this phase, ADAH staff will also research the agency’s history, professional standards, and statutory obligations.

Agency Reviews Revised RDA

Once research and surveys are completed, archivists will revise your existing RDA to address all records associated with your agency’s current functions, processes, and programs. At this time, Records Management staff will provide a revised RDA to your agency for review. The agency’s responsibility during this phase is to review the draft and provide feedback. Agency comments must be received according to a pre-established timeline which allows the RDA to be finalized and presented to the State Records Commission.

State Records Commission Approves the RDA Revision

Records Management staff will present the RDA revision to the State Records Commission. While not required, agency representative(s) are requested to attend the meeting to clarify any questions which Commissioners may ask.

Agency Leadership and State Records Commission Chair Sign the RDA

Following approval by the State Records Commission, both Steve Murray (ADAH Director and State Records Commission Chair) and the designated agency representative (usually a director or commissioner) must sign and return the RDA.

The agency will retain one copy of a signed RDA on file, while the ADAH will retain another signed copy. The newly approved RDA will be made available on the ADAH website. 

Agency Uses the Approved RDA

The agency uses the approved RDA to manage information, preserve permanent records, and dispose of temporary records that have met their designated retention requirements.

Agency officials may destroy records after satisfying the retention requirements set forth in the RDA, presuming no litigation or other hold is placed upon the records. They must document the destruction of both paper and electronic records.

Each state agency is required to submit an Annual RDA Implementation Report to the ADAH every year on January 15 for the previous fiscal year documenting records management, records destruction activities, and permanent records activities.

For More Information

Updated September 20, 2022

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