Part 5 - Management Services
Chapter 15 - Records Management Program
- Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to establish policy, procedures, responsibilities, and other elements pertinent to the administration of the Indian Health Service (IHS) Records Management Program.
- Statutory Authority. The Federal Records Act established the basis for records management programs in Federal agencies. Three statutes govern most aspects of Federal records management:
- The Federal Records Act of 1950, Public Law (P.L.) 754, Chapter 849, June 30, 1949.
- The Paperwork Reduction Act, P.L. 96-511, December 11, 1980.
- The Paperwork Reduction Reauthorization Act, P.L. 99-500, October 18, 1986.
- Background. Title 44 USC Section 3101, Records Management by Federal Agencies, requires the head of each Federal agency to preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency. Agency records provide the necessary information to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency's program.
- Policy. The IHS shall provide for efficient, economical, and effective controls over the creation, organization, maintenance, use, and the ultimate disposition of all IHS records in all physical formats.
- Objectives. The IHS Records Management Program objectives are:
- Create and preserve records documenting the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and transactions of IHS.
- Create and preserve records necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons affected by IHS activities (44 USC 3101).
- Plan, develop, and implement an agency-wide records management program to promote economy and efficiency in the organization, maintenance, use, and ultimate disposition of IHS records.
- Implement and maintain agency compliance with Federal records management laws and regulations including compliance with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations and guidelines.
- Provide adequate information and training to agency personnel at all levels on policies, responsibilities, and techniques for implementing and maintaining mandatory, Federal recordkeeping requirements.
- Establish and implement guidelines for a uniform, agency-wide filing system to provide technical control and supervision of official IHS records; to facilitate coordination between and among IHS file stations; and to aid in the proper disposition of IHS records.
- Ensure contractors and contractor-operated programs create and maintain adequate and proper documentation in compliance with agency records management requirements.
- Represent IHS in records management matters with other Federal agencies and non-Federal organizations.
- Implement and oversee a records disposition program, including the issuance of a records control schedule, to ensure prompt disposal of temporary records whose authorized retention period has expired; timely and systematic transfer and economical storage of records no longer needed in office space; and uniform identification and transfer of permanent records to the NARA for permanent preservation and for reference and research use.
- Application of the Privacy Act. All information received, created, or compiled by the officers and employees of the Federal Government is official Government information and is, therefore, the property of the United States. No Federal official or employee has, by virtue of his/her position, any personal or property right to this material even though he/she may have helped develop or compile it.
- Every official and employee who is involved in the development, operation, or maintenance of a records system relating to an individual, or who has access to such a system, shall become familiar with the requirements of the Privacy Act regulations: 43 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 2, Subpart D.
- In accordance with the Privacy Act, the term "record" means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by a Department or Agency. This includes, but is not limited to, information with regard to an individual's education, financial transactions, medical history or employment history, and which contains his/her name or an identification particularly assigned to an individual.
- The Privacy Act mandates that no personal information be disclosed except under conditions specified by law. All information is to be safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure. Any employee who knowingly and willfully makes an unauthorized disclosure of records subject to the Act, or who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the Act's notice requirements (5 USC 552a(e)(4)) could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined up to $5,000.
- The Privacy Act requires agencies to publish appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure the security and confidentiality of records containing personal information. The IHS interpretation is: Records containing personal information must be stored in locked metal file cabinets or locked rooms (43 CFR Part 2.51).
- Application of the Freedom of Information Act. Records do not have to be kept in anticipation of a possible Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Disposing of records as soon as their disposition date has been reached avoids the administrative burden of responding to FOIA requests for records that are no longer available because they are no longer needed. But once the FOIA request is in-house, the requested records cannot be destroyed, even if they have been kept years past their disposition date.
- Records Management Terms. Manual Appendix 5-15-A, "Glossary of Terms," provides a handy reference guide to define records management terms.
- Publications. Manual Appendix 5-15-B, Publications- NARA Guidance" references NARA publications to assist employees in the course of their duties.
5-15.2 RECORDS MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES
The guidelines contained in this chapter must be implemented at all organizational levels of the IHS: Headquarters, Area Offices, and Service Units.
- Director, IHS. The Director, IHS, is responsible for ensuring that an agency records management program is established and implemented in accordance with the requirements of P.L. 754 (Chapter 849) the "Federal Records Act of 1950," Title 44 USC Section 3101, Records Management by Federal Agencies.
- Director, Office of Management Support. The Director, Office of Management Support (OMS), assures the Director, IHS, that an IHS Records Management Program exists.
- Director, Division of Administrative Services. The Director, Division of Administrative Support (DAS), OMS, is responsible for administering and directing the IHS Records Management Program.
- Records Management Officer. The IHS Records Management Officer (RMO) is responsible for providing IHS-wide planning, developing, and directing of a comprehensive records management program. The RMO:
- Plans, develops, administers, and evaluates the IHS-wide and multi-echelon records management program.
- Advises agency officials, program managers, first-line supervisors, employees, and contractors regarding records management matters.
- Requires all IHS offices to develop and submit official file plans annually.
- Develops and implements agency-wide policies and procedures to establish continuous and systematic control over the creation, maintenance and use, and ultimate disposition of agency records in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements.
- Establishes and implements guidelines for a uniform, agency-wide filing system to provide technical control and supervision of official IHS records.
- Ensures contractor and contractor operated programs create and maintain adequate and proper documentation in compliance with agency records management requirements.
- Provides records management technical support to Headquarters, Area Offices, and Service Units as requested. Technical support activities include directing files clean-up campaigns, verifying file inventories, identifying and scheduling program record series, and establishing filing and other recordkeeping systems.
- Develops and provides tailored records management training workshops for Headquarters, Area Office, and Service Unit staff on policies, responsibilities, and techniques for implementing and maintaining mandatory, Federal recordkeeping requirements.
- Develops and implements a records disposition program for all agency records that provides for the proper maintenance of both temporary and permanent records and that ensures:
- Proper safeguards against the unlawful destruction of records.
- The efficient, prompt, and orderly reduction in the quantity of records.
- Develops and implements a management control system for evaluation of the records management functions at Headquarters and Area Offices that conforms to Part 5, Chapter 16, of the Indian Health Manual and the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act.
- Responsible for the dissemination of records disposal instructions including oversight of the revisions and annual updates to the IHS Records Disposition Schedule (RDS).
- Participates in the development or modification of electronic information and other recordkeeping systems, processes, and procedures to ensure that adequate recordkeeping requirements are established and carried out.
- Maintains liaison with the General Accounting Office (GAO) on the disposal of financial records and other records under the Comptroller General's oversight.
- Works with program officials and information resource management officials to agree on and establish appropriate recordkeeping requirements as electronic records systems are designed.
- Represents IHS in records management matters with other Federal agencies and non-Federal organizations.
- Headquarters Records Management Liaison. A Headquarters Records Management Liaison (RML) and an alternate RML, coordinate records management activities within the Headquarters organization. A RML's responsibilities are:
- Provides technical assistance and support to program officials regarding records management activities.
- Trains personnel in records maintenance and disposition; provides instructions and assistance in transferring records to the Federal Records Centers (FRC).
- Reviews, approves, and maintains copies of current file plans. (See IHS Form 521: Attachment 5, Manual Appendix 5-15-C.) The RML also provides technical advice and assistance to Headquarters office personnel in planning and organizing an efficient and operational file system.
- Reviews, approves, and maintains copies of the annual records report of each office for compliance with the IHS disposition program. (See IHS Form 520: Attachment 6, Manual Appendix 5-15-C.) Collects and submits the completed reports to the IHS RMO.
- Ensures that the maintenance and disposition of records is in accordance with records schedules approved by NARA.
- Functional Area Manager. Each Functional Area Manager is responsible for implementing and operating an effective records management program. To accomplish this, Functional Area Managers must designate a File Manager to operate the records management program within their area of jurisdiction.
- Headquarters File Manager. Headquarters File Managers are responsible for the implementation of IHS Records Management Program guidelines at their individual file station(s). Each File Manager:
- Maintains records in accordance with procedures prescribed in this chapter.
- Prepares and keeps file plans current.
- Ensures that all records created and maintained by the program, including those maintained by program personnel, are included in the file plan.
- When records become eligible for transfer, the File manager is responsible to contact the nearest FRC to acquire the instructions and forms to transfer the records to the FRC. (See Manual Appendix 5-15-C, Attachment 7.) Each FRC, upon request, provides specific instructions for packing and labeling boxes, and completing the "Records Transmittal and Receipt" form(s) (SF-135) to transfer eligible records to the FRC.
- Destroys eligible records at individual file stations under authorized disposition instructions.
- Maintains an inventory of all records belonging to an office, including those destroyed and retired to the FRC during the fiscal year (FY), for reporting purposes.
- Requests, in collaboration with supervisor, exceptions to, or submits to the IHS RMO recommendations for new or revised documentation, maintenance, and disposition instructions.
- Area Offices. Each IHS Area office must implement and operate a records management program.
- Area Directors. Each Area Director shall implement and operate a records management program in accordance with IHS policy and:
- Must designate a qualified RMO to coordinate and monitor the daily operation of the records management program.
- Must submit a copy of the RMO's designation or redesignation to the IHS RMO annually.
- Area Records Management Officers. Area RMOs provide technical assistance to program officials within their area of jurisdiction on records management activities and provide support needed to maintain program activities. The Area RMO responsibilities include:
- Provides technical assistance as requested or directed at individual file stations.
- Trains personnel in records maintenance and disposition, and provides instructions and assistance in transferring records to the FRC.
- Provides records management advice and assistance to Indian tribes and tribal organizations as requested.
- Reviews, approves, and maintains copies of current file plans (IHS Form 521) and provides technical advice and assistance to Area Office personnel in planning and organizing an efficient and operational file system.
- Reviews, approves, and maintains copies of each office's annual records report (IHS Form 520) for compliance with the IHS disposition program. Collects and submits the reports to the IHS RMO.
- Ensures that the maintenance and disposition of records is in accordance with records schedules approved by NARA.
- Area File Managers. Area File Managers are responsible for the implementation of IHS Records Management Program guidelines at their individual file station(s). Each Area File Manager shall:
- Maintain Area records in accordance with procedures prescribed in this chapter.
- Prepare and keep file plans current.
- Ensure that all records created and maintained by the program, including those maintained by program personnel, are included in the file plan.
- Prepare records eligible for shipment to an FRC by completing the "Records Transmittal and Receipt," (SF-135) and preparing corresponding inventory lists.
- Destroy eligible records at individual file stations under authorized disposition instructions.
- Maintain an inventory of all records belonging to an office, including those destroyed and retired to the FRC during the FY, for reporting purposes.
- Request, in collaboration with Program Director, exceptions to, or submits to the IHS RMO recommendations for new or revised documentation, maintenance, and disposition instructions.
- Service Units. Each IHS Service Unit will implement and operate an effective records management program.
- Service Unit Director. Each Service Unit Director (SUD) is responsible for implementing and operating an effective records management program.
To accomplish this, SUDs must designate a qualified Service Unit RML to implement IHS records management program guidelines within their area of jurisdiction. A copy of each Service Unit RML designation or redesignation must be forwarded to the IHS RMO annually.
- Service Unit Records Management Liaison. Service Unit RMLs provide technical assistance to program officials within their areas of jurisdiction on records management activities and provide support needed to maintain the program.
Each Service Unit RML is responsible to:
- Provide technical assistance as requested or directed at individual file stations.
- Train personnel in records maintenance and disposition, and provides instructions and assistance in transferring records to the FRC.
- Review, approve, and maintain copies of current file plans (IHS Form 521)
- Provide technical advice and assistance to Service Unit personnel in planning and organizing an efficient and operational file system.
- Review, approve, and maintain copies of the annual records report (IHS Form 520) of each office for compliance with the IHS records disposition program. Collects and submits completed reports to Area RMO.
- Ensure that the maintenance and disposition of records is in accordance with records schedules approved by NARA.
- Service Unit File Manager. Service Unit File Managers are responsible for the operation of the IHS Records Maintenance and Disposition Program at the individual file station(s).
- Maintains records in accordance with procedures prescribed in this chapter.
- Prepares and keeps file plans current.
- Ensures that all records created and maintained by the program, including those maintained by program personnel, are included in the file plan.
- Prepares records, including the SF 135, "Records Transmittal and Receipt," and corresponding inventory lists, for shipment to the FRC.
- Destroys eligible records at individual file stations under authorized instructions.
- Maintains an inventory of all records belonging to an office, including those destroyed and retired to the FRC during the FY, for reporting purposes.
- Requests, in collaboration with supervisor, exceptions to, or submits to the IHS RMO recommendations for new or revised documentation, maintenance, and disposition instructions.
- Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Health Clinics. Requests for records management training and/or technical support for tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian health clinics should be submitted to the appropriate Area RMO. The Area RMOs provide records management advice and assistance as requested from Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian health clinics.
5-15.3 OFFICIAL RECORDS, NONRECORDS, AND PERSONAL PAPERS MAINTAINED BY IHS EMPLOYEES
All official agency records belong to the Government, not to any person, regardless of the position the person may occupy. Records do not belong to individual people, rather they belong to the office or program which produced them and must be kept available in that office or program. This section describes how to manage records in the custody of IHS employees and establishes conditions under which employees may keep reference materials and personal papers in office space. Records management is the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved with respect to the life cycle of records.
- Records Creation and Use. All Federal agencies are responsible for creating and preserving records that adequately and properly document, "the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency." (44 USC 3101)
Complete and accurate records are essential to:
- Protect the legal, financial, and other rights of the Government and the people.
- Ensure continuity and consistency in administration.
- Assist agency officials and their successors in making informed decisions.
- Provide information required by the Congress and others for overseeing IHS activities.
- Life Cycle of Records. The records life cycle concept is composed of three basic stages:
- Creation or receipt.
- Maintenance and use.
- Definition of Records. The term "records" includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are:
- Made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business.
- Preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of data in them.
- Definition Official Records. Official records (as described in 5-15.3C.(1) and C(2) above) have real evidential, documentary, or long-term informational value. Examples include:
- The official file copy of any Government business document.
- Any original document containing information required to transact the official business of IHS.
- Any original document used to document an official decision of the agency.
- Definition of Nonrecord Materials. Nonrecord materials are documents or informational materials excluded from the legal definition of records. Nonrecord materials have no real evidential, documentary , or long-term informational value, and can be destroyed once its purpose has been served. Nonrecord materials are often maintained by IHS staff as reference files. Nonrecord, reference materials must be filed separately from all record materials.
Examples of nonrecord materials:
- Routing slips
- Working papers
- Reading file copies of correspondence
- Research and literature articles
- Duplicate copies of documents maintained in the same file
- Processed or published materials that are received from other functions or offices
- Materials announcing such fringe activities of the organization such as employee association activities
- Copies of newsletters from other organizations
- Copies of public laws and other Federal legislation
- Definition of Personal Papers. Personal papers are files that individuals have organized and maintained for their personal use as opposed to official use. These documents of a private or unofficial character that pertain to an individual's personal affairs should be kept at the individual's work station. Personal papers should at all times be clearly designated as nonofficial and filed separately from all records within the office.
Indian Health Service employees are discouraged from maintaining duplicate files of official program records at their individual work stations. This practice leads to duplicate file situations, creates confusion, and results in a waste of resources. Employees must have the supervisor's permission to take copies of files (any kind) when they separate from Federal Government service.
However, it is common practice for IHS staff to maintain personal copies of their personnel actions, travel vouchers, training documentation, Employee Performance Management System documentation, etc., at their individual work stations.
- Removal and Disposition of Official Records. Official records may not be removed from IHS custody. Official Records are authorized for disposal only as provided in the IHS RDS or the NARA's General Records Schedule (GRS). The records of departing employees are subject to audit by the IHS RMO.
- Removal and Disposition of Nonrecord Materials. Nonrecord and personal papers may be destroyed or removed at the discretion of the employee accumulating the information. Employees should destroy sensitive nonrecord documents as soon as possible after they enter necessary documentary information into an official record.
- Laws Governing Use, Removal, and Destruction of IHS Records. The Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 552) and the Privacy Act of 1974 regulate public access to Federal records. Penalties for unlawfully removing or destroying records are outlined in 18 USC 641 and 2071.
5-15.4 RECORDS SCHEDULES AND RECORD TYPES
- Indian Health Service Records Disposition Schedule. The IHS RDS is the central, key source of information for effective records management activities within your office. It has been developed as a means of identifying and describing, in one publication, all records unique to the IHS operations and functions. The RDS:
- Identifies and describes records created and used in the operations and functions of the IHS.
- Provides disposition authorities and instructions, including retention periods and disposal procedures, for IHS records.
- National Archives and Records Administration General Records Schedule. The NARA GRS is issued by the Archivist of the United States to provide disposal authorization for temporary records common to several or all agencies of the Federal Government. Temporary records common to Federal agencies include records relating to civilian personnel, fiscal accounting, procurement, communications, printing, and other common records; and certain nontextual records. If a record series cannot be located in the IHS RDS, IHS staff should then refer to the NARA GRS. The disposition instructions in the NARA GRS are to be implemented without further approval from NARA or the IHS RMO.
- Program Records. Program records are records documenting the unique, substantive activities for which each office is responsible. For the administrative functions in IHS, program records are the official record copies of documents containing information on facilitative functions common to most agencies such as budget, personnel, travel, etc. Examples of IHS program records include:
- environmental health project files
- contract health services patient case files
- tribal health program files
- official personnel files
- travel orders (official copies)
Program records, in the IHS, include the official record copies of all documentation created by program and administrative functions within the IHS (office of record) e.g., if you are in the IHS Mental Health Program, the majority of the program records maintained in your office will document mental health activities. If you are on the Property Management Program staff, the majority of the program records created in your office will document Property Management Program transactions and activities.
All program records should be clearly designated and maintained in an area that is easily accessible to all staff in the office. Program records are sent to the FRC according to IHS RDS or NARA GRS disposition instructions.
- Administrative Records. Administrative records are records retained by an originating office as its record of initiation of an action, request, or response to requests for information. Administrative records files include copies of documents submitted to other offices for action including travel vouchers, budget feeder documents, purchase orders, and training requests. Administrative records must be maintained in a separate filing area from the program records. Administrative records are not sent to the FRCs. Examples include:
- Equipment requests and receipts (office copies)
- Purchase orders, contracts, or invoices (office copies)
- Organization charts and staffing documentation (office copies)
- Personnel Files (unofficial)
- Supply requisitions (office copies)
- Training requests (office copies)
- Travel orders and vouchers (office copies)
The authorized disposition for "Office Administrative Files (Records)" as stated in the NARA GRS 23, Item 1, reads:
"Destroy when 2 years old, or when no longer needed, whichever is sooner."
- Unscheduled IHS Records. Records which are not currently covered in one of the two schedules are called "unscheduled records." Unscheduled records should be:
- Identified by the title.
- Identified by purpose and use.
- Reported to the IHS RMO.
Indian Health Service staff must not destroy IHS records on the basis of individual opinion that the record(s) have no value. Only the standards defined in the IHS RDS or NARA GRS will be used for IHS records management activities.
5-15.5 FILE PLAN REQUIREMENTS
- Definition of File Station. A file station is any location in the IHS where records are maintained for current use. File stations are established to organize and maintain documentary materials in a uniform manner, retrieve them rapidly, ensure their completeness, and make their disposition easier.
An official file station contains the records that users must consult to obtain the information that they need on organizational activities and transactions. Establishing official file stations helps IHS staff avoid "duplicate file" situations.
- Definition of File Plan. A file plan is a descriptive listing of each record series or system maintained by IHS staff. It is not a list of each document or each folder in the files but rather each record series or system.
File plans are prepared to facilitate filing and reference service, to assist in training new personnel, and to eliminate the need for constant referral to the IHS RDS and the NARA GRS.
File plans provide File Managers and users with an index to the files. The file plan provides adequate and proper documentation of a specific organization's files. It provides retention and disposition information that applies specifically to the record materials created and maintained in the office that creates the file plan.
- File Plan Requirements. The File Manager for each official file station will coordinate the preparation of program and administrative records file plans on or about October 1 of each year. The File Manager will use the "Files Maintenance and Disposition Plan" (IHS Form 521) and prepare:
One Files Maintenance and Disposition Plan covering Program records.
One Files Maintenance and Disposition Plan covering Administrative records.
If files have been deleted or added during the year, pen and ink changes to the plans may need to be made until the annual update.
- The file plan for program records is a document containing the identifying record series number (from the IHS RDS or NARA GRS), a brief title or description of the record series, and disposition instructions for program records maintained in an office.
- The file plan for administrative records is a document containing the office file code (if applicable), a brief title or description of the record series, and the standard disposition instructions for administrative records. The standard disposition instruction for administrative records is "destroy when 2 years old or when no longer needed, whichever is sooner."
- Developing the Files Plans. Specific guidance and information on developing and completing file plans for program and administrative records is found in the IHS publication "Guide to Developing the IHS Files Maintenance and Disposition Plan." (Available upon request from the IHS RMO.)
- Distribution of File Plans. The original and two copies of the completed IHS Form 521, "Files Maintenance and Disposition Plan," must be forwarded to the appropriate Area RMO/Headquarters RML to review the form for accuracy, adequacy, and completeness, etc., and to give final approval. Upon approval, the Area RMO/Headquarters RML of each location maintains one copy of the plan and forwards one copy to the IHS RMO. The original is returned to the File Manager to be maintained at the official file station.
- The Area RMO/Headquarters RML must followup on the nonreceipt of a IHS Form 521, from locations/offices under their areas of responsibility.
- The Area RMO/Headquarters RML is responsible for maintaining copies of all file plans for the various file stations as a master index to all files contained within their areas of jurisdiction and as a finding aid for all records in custody of the IHS.
- Annual Review of File Plans. The file plan for program records will be reviewed on a FY basis and amended if necessary to ensure that all files are accounted for and that cited disposition authorities are appropriate. A new IHS Form 521, "Files Maintenance and Disposition Plan," must be prepared when the old plan is substantially changed. A substantially revised file plan must be reviewed and approved in the same manner as the original file plan.
5-15.6 ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING A FILING SYSTEM
- Office of Record. The "Office of Record" is the office that is responsible for the maintenance and/or disposition of a record. The office of record is responsible for filing the record copy of documents in the official file station. The office of record applies the authorized disposition instructions found in the IHS RDS or the NARA GRS.
- Establishing a Filing System. A filing system is established by first reviewing the current files. This process will establish identification of current record types and various subject areas covered by the current files. Also, it is important to find out how current records are arranged, who uses current records, and how often they are referred to. Program managers promote good filing systems by:
- Designating a File Manager who is given exclusive responsibility for placing materials into the files.
- Allowing the File Manager enough time from other duties to maintain the files properly and to dispose of noncurrent records.
- Requiring program staff to work in partnership with the File Manager. This partnership requires the program staff to assist the File Manager in decisions on what documents to file and where to file them.
- Program staff are encouraged to comply with such mutually beneficial rules as:
Quickly releasing complete records to the files or inserting chargeout cards after removing a folder/paper from the files.
- Types of Filing Systems. Official file stations are the assigned filing areas in IHS organizational units where official record copies of documents are maintained. Official file stations are established as necessary to provide a network of recordkeeping locations within a program or office.
- Network System
- Planning the proper location of file collections is the first step in effective files maintenance. The network system of filing, or official file station concept, is based primarily on centralized records locations with centralized control. A file station may be a large central station shared by several offices or it may be a small local station of only one or two file cabinets serving a single section or unit.
- This system also provides for the centralization of records that have a functional interest or reference value to several offices or that must be brought together to ensure that related activities are adequately documented.
- This type of system is designed to keep as many records as possible in small usable collections where they are more easily managed and accessible to users.
Centralizing records usually results in duplicate recordkeeping and is, therefore, limited to specific record series that require central documentation.
- Records should be located reasonably close to regular users. This does not mean a separate records collection alongside each individual desk. Records located in the same room, adjacent room, or in the general vicinity of the majority of the users will normally provide convenient access.
- Centralized vs. Decentralized File Stations
- Centralized files are records of a unit that are maintained in one location. Consider this method when:
- More than one work unit has need for the same record.
- Units are near the central file for prompt service.
- Security of classified material requires central filing.
- Decentralized files are records of a unit that are located in more than one location. Consider this method when:
- Records are of interest to only one work unit.
- Centralized filing is too distant for efficient service.
- Information must be immediately available to the originator.
- Constant reference is made to the records by a particular organizational unit.
- Maintaining a Filing System. Establishing an effective system for arranging records than an office must maintain, and placing them in the proper locations, will help secure the value and time invested in creating the records. To secure the greatest possible return on staff time spent on creating and maintaining records, continuing attention and direction must be given to the day-to-day operation of the files. Manual Appendix 5-15-C, "Planning and Arranging Files," provides additional information on establishing and maintaining files.
- Purchasing Filing Equipment. Consult the Area RMO/Headquarters RML before making any decisions regarding the purchase of new records storage equipment.
5-15.7 RECORDS DISPOSITION
- Definition of Records Disposition. Records disposition is action taken regarding records no longer needed to conduct current Government business. These actions include the transfer of records to an FRC or the transfer of permanent records to the National Archives, and the disposal of temporary records.
- Purpose of Records Disposition. A primary goal of the IHS Records Management Program is the preservation of records of continuing value and the elimination of all others as soon as the records have served their legal, regulatory, or administrative purpose. The procedures and standards presented in this section have been established for the orderly disposition of all IHS records.
- Records Schedules and Disposition. Indian Health Service officials must maintain and dispose of records in accordance with disposition authorities provided in the IHS RDS or the NARA GRS. Disposition authorities in these schedules are approved by the Archivist of the United States and other appropriate Government agencies.
- Cutoff and Disposition of Files. File managers should cut off files periodically to ensure easier disposition. Files may be cut off after a specific period of time or after the completion of an action. Most IHS records are cut off at the end of the FY. Some records may be disposed of immediately after cut off; others must be placed in an inactive file or retired to an FRC until the authorized retention period has expired. After the scheduled retention criteria has been met, the records are either destroyed or officially transferred to the National Archives.
- Requirements for Records Disposal. Records accumulated by IHS in the performance of official business must not be destroyed or removed except under the authority of this chapter, the IHS RDS, or the NARA GRS. Intentional, unlawful destruction of public records will incur serious penalties (18 USC Codes 641 and 2071). Indian Health Service records cannot be destroyed on the basis of an individual's opinion.
- Procedures for Retiring Records to Federal Records Centers. Federal Records Centers will not accept records for storage if they are authorized for immediate disposal. At least one year of the scheduled retention period must remain. Eligible records must be sent to the FRCs using the, "Records Transmittal and Receipt." (SF-135) It is mandatory to prepare a detailed listing of the records to be retired and attach the list to the SF 135. The listing must be prepared on bond paper and is the "shelf list" of the retired records. See Attachment 7, Manual Appendix 5-15-C for a FRC list.
- Disposal of Retired Records. When records retired to an FRC reach their scheduled disposal date, the FRC will notify the appropriate IHS staff using NA Form 13001, "Notice of Intent to Destroy Records." The FRC will not destroy IHS records until the NA Form 13001 is returned with a written concurrence.
An exception to this procedure exists at the Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle FRCs and the Washington National Records Center. At these records centers, unless the program office submits a nonconcurrence to the records center staff within 90 days, the records will be automatically destroyed as scheduled.
- Exceptions to Disposition Authorities. All requests for exceptions to prescribed records disposition authorities for cutoff, retention, and final disposition shall be forwarded to the IHS RMO for review and action.
- Changes in Disposition Authorities. Disposition instructions in the IHS RDS and the NARA GRS may change periodically to reflect changes in law or regulation or in program mission or function.
- Reduced Retention Periods. If a changed instruction reduces the retention period, the instruction must be applied retroactively unless it is impractical or not economical to do so.
- Increased Retention Periods. If a changed instruction increases the retention period, the instruction must be applied to all records of that description regardless of where they are maintained or when they were created. Steps must be taken to ensure that inactive records are brought under the changed disposition instruction. The appropriate FRC must be notified by the IHS RMO of the new disposition instructions to be applied to retired records.
- Permanent Records. In U.S. Government usage, records appraised by NARA as having sufficient historical value to warrant continued preservation by the Federal Government beyond the time the records are needed for administrative, legal, or fiscal purposes.
- Unscheduled Records. Whenever a record series cannot be identified using record items listed in the IHS RDS or the NARA GRS, the office accumulating the records should contact the IHS RMO for guidance. These records are considered unscheduled and no disposition action can be taken until authorization is received from the Archivist of the United States.
- Storage of Inactive IHS Records. Inactive records are records that are no longer required to conduct current agency business. It is the policy of the IHS to transfer inactive records to the appropriate FRC for storage and to dispose of records as authorized by the appropriate RDS. No office is authorized to rent, lease, or purchase warehouse space for the storage of inactive records.
- Emergency or Accidental Disposal of Records.
- Emergency Disposal. If records are a menace to human health, life, or property, notify the IHS RMO. Identify the records, their location, quantity, inclusive dates, and the type of menace. The IHS RMO will forward the request to destroy records to the Archivist of the United States.
- Accidental Disposal. In case of accidental loss or destruction of records by fire, flood, or other cause, take the following actions:
- Notify the IHS RMO. The IHS RMO will notify the NARA and complete a report. The report shall include:
- A complete description of the records with volume and dates if known.
- The office of origin.
- A statement of the exact circumstances surrounding the destruction of the records.
- A statement of the safeguards established to prevent further loss of documentation.
- When appropriate, details of the actions taken to salvage, retrieve, or reconstruct the records.
- Disposition of Records Due to Reorganization. When a reorganization changes a function or mission, records are cut off on the date of the change, maintained by the successor office, and disposed of under the standards in this chapter.
If no change of mission or function occurs, records are disposed of under disposition instructions listed in the IHS RDS or the NARA GRS.
- Discontinuance. When an office discontinues functions, it transfers records eligible for retirement to an FRC. If records are not eligible for retirement or destruction, send a letter listing the records to the IHS RMO, who will evaluate them and recommend appropriate action.
5-15.8 ELECTRONIC RECORDS MANAGEMENT
- Purpose. Electronic records are created by using office automation tools and data base management software, including, word processing, electronic mail, are also used to create, alter, and delete data on a daily basis. The IHS must establish electronic recordkeeping requirements for records created by agency employees using office automation tools on personal computers (PC) and data base applications on mainframe computers.
- Background. The extensive use of automation to conduct IHS operations has resulted in the proliferation of electronic Federal records. Currently, most electronic information systems used to create, receive, and store IHS records do not provide full records management functionality; consequently, they are not suitable for the management of Federal records.
Maintaining records on electronic information systems without records management functionality will result in incomplete or highly decentralized files. Electronic information systems involve creating, altering, and deleting data. The procedures for controlling data input and for updating and deleting data must be determined primarily by ongoing needs for the conduct of current business. During the system design phase, the agency also needs to decide whether any of the data may have value for purposes not previously identified. If so, the agency must define the nature and duration of such needs and adjust the system design accordingly.
- Definition. Electronic records management includes standards for the creation, use, storage, retrieval, preservation, and disposition of Federal records on any medium capable of being read by a computer. Maintenance requirements apply to all electronic record systems, whether on microcomputers, minicomputers, or main-frame computers, regardless of storage media, in network or stand-alone configurations.
- Authority. The policies and procedures for managing electronic records in the Federal Government are set forth in 36 CFR 1234.
- Policy. Records created or received using electronic media must be printed-out in paper form and filed in the official file system. Storing records on electronic systems cannot be part of an official filing system since the system is password protected and is accessible only to the owner of the password.
- Definition of an Electronic Record. Congress has defined Federal records as:
"...all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the U.S. Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of data in them (44 USC 3301)."
Electronically recorded data that meets both of the following conditions are Federal records:
- Electronically recorded data that is made or received by an agency of the U.S. Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business.
- Electronically recorded data that is preserved or appropriate for preservation, as evidence of agency activities or because of the value of the information the data contains.
Electronic records include numeric, graphic, and text information which may be recorded on any medium capable of being read by a computer and which satisfies the definition of a record. This includes but is not limited to, magnetic media, such as, tapes and disks.
It is also essential to emphasize that all components of electronic information systems are records: inputs, outputs, digital data stored in a variety of ways, and the related documentation. Determining how long to save these different record components of an information system is one essential recordkeeping requirement that the records scheduling process fulfills.
- Recordkeeping Requirements. Electronic information system recordkeeping requirements require, at a minimum, a full and accurate documentation of the system: The functions supported by the system; the operational, legal, audit, oversight, or historical requirements for the information; how the information will be used, accessed, and maintained on each medium to meet these differing requirements; and the procedural controls employed to preserve the integrity of the data in the system.
Technical documentation includes system architecture, field definitions, record layouts, data element definitions, and code books that identify and interpret all codes used to record data. Full, accurate, and current documentation of both the system and the data must be maintained until the electronic information system is discontinued.
The information needed to establish recordkeeping requirements and retention periods for electronic records can also serve as a catalyst for answering many management questions that should be addressed when designing or updating an electronic information system.
- Roles and Responsibilities. The requirements for effective records and information management, argue strongly for the participation of the IHS RMO in the design of electronic information systems, and in major modifications of existing systems.
This involvement means analyzing information needs, information flow, and information controls, and resolving a variety of management questions. Potential benefits range from reducing the amount of paper records stored in offices and improving management of on-line disk space in the central computer facility to systematizing the life cycle of information within an agency.
Automating information systems often increases the amount of information to be managed and often results in storing the same information on multiple media. To avoid unnecessary duplication, it is particularly important that the IHS RMO help program officials and information resource management officials to agree on and establish appropriate recordkeeping requirements as the electronic information system is designed.
Effective management of electronic records demands coordination among three different groups:
- Information System Managers. Program officials who oversee the creation and use of electronic records in an information system.
- Information Resource Managers. Information resource management officials responsible for the acquisition and technical operation of computer and communications systems.
- Indian Health Service RMO. Individual responsible for monitoring the implementation of guidelines for the proper creation, maintenance and disposition of IHS records.
- Records Retention. Indian Health Service records are identified by the type of activity documented. Each activity is a separate record series, described in its own legally binding record schedule. Some examples of these series include policy document development, system development, and program management. The required retention of these records (i.e., how long they must be kept) is determined by the record series into which they are classified and are documented in the record schedules. There are several hundred record series in IHS, with different retention values. This retention period identified in the IHS RDS, also indicates whether the records should be held in the office or sent to an FRC.
- Legal Requirements. To be accepted as legal evidence, an electronic record must meet the requirements of the Federal Business Records Act (28 USC 1732), and it must be the only record (i.e., it must not be a duplicate of a paper or microform record). It must include:
- The date it was created.
- An automatically recorded date of alterations.
- Evidence that the document was properly authorized to be issued (signed in paper or electronically by the appropriate IHS official).
5-15.9 ELECTRONIC MEDIA STORAGE REQUIREMENTS
- Records Identification. The end-user is responsible for determining which documents are records and for ensuring that the records are maintained in the official file system so they will be available to other staff and established records management controls, including disposition, can be exercised.
Records created or received using electronic media must be printed-out in paper form and filed in the official file system.
The decision whether a document on an electronic information system is a record that should be filed in the official filing system or deleted when no longer administratively useful, is no different than the decision that employees make with regard to the disposition of paper records that come across their desks every day. The nonrecord version on the electronic system should be deleted.
- Electronic Mail. The same records management principles that apply to paper records apply to electronic mail (e-mail). Review all electronic messages before filing them in a message directory. Most electronic messages do not contain any record information. Documents such as meeting notices, telephone messages, routine information requests, and similar documents can and should be immediately deleted or destroyed, whether they are paper or electronic. Do not keep any message in an electronic message directory longer than 3 months. If documents transmitted through electronic message systems are necessary to document transactions or IHS policy or program decisions, transfer the documents to paper form and file them in the official filing system.
- Electronic mail is not completely confidential or private. Your supervisor may have the right to read your e-mail in certain circumstances, e.g., during your absence due to sick leave. The local are network (LAN) administrator may need to access your e-mail for technical reasons.
- Non-records may be deleted.
- The e-mail system is Government property. It should be used only for authorized purposes.
- The office of record (i.e., on e-mail the person directly and solely responsible for the maintenance of the record) has to file the message in the official filing system when it rises to the level of a record.
- If information is retrieved from a Privacy Act system of records and included in an e-mail message, or if a record from a Privacy Act system of records is attached to an e-mail message, the communication is a disclosure of a Privacy Act record. Such e-mail communications should only be sent when authorized under the Privacy Act.
- Electronic-mail messages may have to be released under the FOIA. However, as long as proper records management procedures are followed, regarding e-mail, a FOIA request should not present a problem.
- Backup media are maintained only for security purposes. Backup media do not serve any archival purpose and should not be used as a records management tool.
- Electronic Storage Media. Although records can be stored on many different storage media, including diskettes, tapes, and CD-ROMs, the NARA has established strict requirements for the types of records, formats, and media that will be accepted.
The requirements are:
- Diskette. The FRCs will not accept records on diskette.
The National Archives prefers not to accept any records on diskette.
- Magnetic Tape. The FRCs will not accept records on magnetic tape.
The National Archives will accept permanent records on magnetic tape. However, magnetic tape must conform to the requirements of 36 CFR 1228.188.
- CD-ROM. The FRCs will not accept records on CD-ROM.
The National Archives will accept records with a short-term retention period. Prior approval must be obtained by the IHS RMO from NARA prior to converting any records to CD-ROM.
5-15.10 SOFTWARE DISPOSITION
- Disposition of Old Software. When reusing or disposing of computer assets, such as, PC software, the IHS staff must comply with all commercial regulations and HHS policies and procedures.
- Disposition Procedures. This section contains information for individuals who are directly or indirectly responsible for reassessing, utilizing, reassigning, and/or disposing of PC software within the IHS. This section highlights the legal concerns with respect to the reuse and disposition of PC commercial software. It also focuses on the need to ensure that sensitive data are removed from PC software prior to redistribution and disposition.
- Software Licenses. It is important to specifically highlight the proper reuse and disposition of PC software because most commercial software is protected by copyrights, and some may also be patented, which provides additional protection to the vendor. When an organization purchases a commercial software package, the ownership of the intellectual property, the underlying program code, remains with the inventor or manufacturer.
The organization usually only buys the right (i.e., license) to use the software. When purchasing commercial software, most commercial software comes with a standard license agreement.
The contracting office must incorporate into the purchase agreement the provisions of "Commercial Computer Software-Restricted Rights." Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 52. This clause is the generic software rights protection for the government. Additionally, the contracting officer may, with the help of the IHS purchaser, craft specific terms and conditions for the use of the software to avoid problems after contract award, such as the ownership and disposition of superseded copies of software and documentation. In summary, the agency's purchase order or contract should define the government's rights, and not the vendor's standard commercial license agreement.
Disposition/reuse actions for software must comply with the terms and conditions of the license. When IHS staff have software they will no longer be using, the license and all original diskettes and manuals may be redistributed and/or reused by going through the IHS Property Management system. Original versions of upgraded software may not be redistributed or reused.
For example, if IHS staff have WordPerfect 5.1 on their PC and a decision is made to upgrade the WordPerfect Program to WordPerfect 6.0, the WordPerfect 5.1 program cannot be redistributed or reused. It must be destroyed. The best way to destroy old 5 1/4" diskettes is to cut them up. The 3 1/2" diskettes should be broken in a safe manner. Manuals and other documentation should be torn beyond use and then thrown in the trash. However, if IHS staff have WordPerfect 5.1 on a PC that will no longer be used, then the WordPerfect 5.1 can be redistributed and reused.
When there is a question concerning the license agreement in relation to a disposition action, the organization initiating the specific action should refer the matter to the appropriate contracting office for clarification.
The license agreement is part of the purchasing agreement or contract with the vendor. Only contracting officers or their superiors should make binding interpretations or changes, in consultation, with the vendor or manufacturer and the government's legal office, as appropriate.
- Removing Sensitive Data. Prior to reuse or disposition, all sensitive IHS data must be removed from the PC software (e.g., overwriting and/or degaussing for such storage media as hard disks and magnetic tapes). This action is the responsibility of the using organization with help from the information resources management staff and Information Systems Security Officer.
- Responsibilities. The IHS Area Property Management Officers have the responsibility for the redistribution of software within their areas of jurisdiction.
The information resources management staff has the responsibility for screening for reuse or disposal of PC software within the IHS.
The IHS RMO has the responsibility for providing guidelines and monitoring activity related to the disposition of PC software.
5-15.11 NONPAPER RECORDS
- Micrographic Records.
- Authority. The policies and procedures for managing micrographic records in the Federal Government are set forth in 36 CFR 1230 and 41 CFR 201-45.109.
- Micrographic Records. Micrographic records include records stored on microform or microfilm.
- Micrographic Records Management. Micrographic records management includes standards for using micrographic technology in the creation, use, storage, retrieval, preservation, and disposition of Federal records.
- Centralized Micrographic Services. The NARA provides reimbursable microfilming services at many of its FRCs, including the preparation, indexing, and filming of records, inspection of films, and labeling of film containers. Indian Health Service staff desiring microfilming services should contact the IHS RMO or the FRC staff.
- Converting Paper Records to Micrographics.
- Standards. Program and administrative records may be converted to microfilm and the original paper records destroyed provided the microfilm is made as part of the regular course of business, and the medium chosen can be guaranteed to meet retention and use requirements as defined in the IHS RDS and the NARA GRS. The microfilm must serve as an adequate substitute for the original records and must serve the purpose for which such records were created or maintained.
Records identified as permanent in the IHS RDS may be converted to microfilm only if they meet the standards outlined in 36 CFR 1230.10, "Standards for Microfilming Records." Permanent paper records converted to microfilm may not be destroyed without the written consent of the Archivist of the United States.
- Product Integrity. When records are converted, the process of conversion must be controlled to guarantee that the integrity of the records is maintained. Validation must be performed to ensure that errors are prevented because the records in the system must be unalterable.
- Optical Disk. Optical disk equipment shall not be purchased without the appropriate involvement of the IHS RMO. The FRCs and NA will not accept records on optical disk.
- Optical disk systems lack standardization within the industry. The systems are hardware and software dependent and use of the medium depends on the uncertain availability of equipment (and vendor) in the future.
- There is no clear track record on legal admissibility of documents stored on optical disk. However, microfilmed images are accepted in most judicial matters. Manufacturers claim that optical disks have a life expectancy of only 10 years. Microfilm will last for 10 to 100 years. Microfilm is the better choice, especially for those offices involving inactive records required for long-term or permanent retention.
- Audiovisual Records.
- Authority. The policies and procedures for managing audiovisual records in the Federal Government are set forth in 36 CFR 1232.
- Audiovisual Records. Audiovisual records include program and information motion pictures, still pictures, sound recordings, video recordings, and related documentation.
- Audiovisual Records Management. Audiovisual records management includes the management of audiovisual records and those related records that document the creation or acquisition of audiovisual records, as well as those that were created for or used in the retrieval of information about or from audiovisual records.
- Centralized Audiovisual Service. The National Audiovisual Center (NAC), NARA, serves as a central information source to the general public and Federal agencies concerning the availability of federally produced or sponsored audiovisual products. The NAC also serves as a central distribution point for the sale, rental, and free loan (under limited conditions) of these products to the public or Federal agencies. In addition, NAC compiles and publishes Government-wide catalogs on audiovisual products available for loan, rental, and sale, and develops criteria, establishes appropriate terminology, and recommends Government-wide practices for the cataloging and indexing of audiovisual materials.
5-15.12 VITAL RECORDS
- Authority. The policies and procedures for managing the vital records program in the Federal Government are set forth in 36 CFR 1236.
- Definitions. The Federal vital records program includes two basic categories:
- Emergency Operating Records. This category includes records vital to the essential functions of the IHS for the duration of an emergency caused by a natural or man-made disaster. The records include records necessary for the maintenance of public health, safety, and order; and the protection of material and manpower resources, services, and systems. These records must be available as needed at or in the vicinity of emergency operating centers.
- Rights and Interests Records. Rights and Interests Records are records essential to the preservation of the legal rights and interests of individual citizens and the Government. The records include social security records, retirement records, payroll records, insurance records, and valuable research records. These records require protection but storage points do not have to be at or in the vicinity of emergency operating centers.
- Program Requirements. Strong management support is required to meet the records needs of emergency preparedness. The IHS must maintain a Vital Records Management Program that ensures availability, as needed, of emergency operating records and rights and interests records. Sound judgment must be exercised in identifying records essential to an office's effectiveness during an emergency. Duplicate sets of such records must be stored off-site. Managers should be aware that during an emergency the employees who will be retrieving and using the records may not be the same ones who use them under normal conditions. The volume of records should be kept at a manageable level, each record clearly identified, and the program should avoid complex and difficult retrieval procedures whenever possible.
- Vital Records Storage. The NARA provides for the storage, protection, and servicing of rights and interest vital records. The IHS RMO may make the arrangements for the transfer of the IHS rights and interest records to an FRC by contacting the appropriate center director.
5-15.13 CONTRACTOR RECORDS
- Records Requirements. Contractor records are subject to IHS records management requirements. Any contract between the IHS and any contractor must contain specific instructions regarding the maintenance and delivery of all data needed for the adequate and proper documentation of the contractor-operated program(s) in accordance with the FAR. The contract must specify ownership of the records at the conclusion of the contract. The best way to fulfill this obligation is to include in the contract a requirement for the delivery of such background data. For example:
- Contracts to produce statistical analyses should specify the delivery of background data that may have further value to the IHS or to other agencies.
- Contracts to produce reports that represent Government policy should specify the delivery of background data needed to verify assertions or justify conclusions.
- Research contracts should specify the delivery of background data that have reuse value to the IHS or other Government agencies.
- Background Data Requirements. When specifying the background data that contractors should deliver to the agency, program and contracting officials should consult with the IHS RMO to ensure that all long-term needs are met, particularly when the data relate to a new agency mission or program.
- Deferred Ordering and Delivery of Data Clauses. These clauses must be included in contracts whenever it is impossible to identify in advance, all data that may be delivered to the Government. The use of such clauses enables IHS officials, after reviewing the final product of a contract, to acquire additional data that may have reuse value to the Government. The IHS may wish to require the contractor to prepare a data inventory, which could be used to identify data for deferred ordering and delivery as additional data requirements are identified.
5-15.14 MANAGEMENT CONTROL SYSTEM
The Management Control System (MCS) is established in accordance with the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA), Section 2.
- Event Cycle. The Records Management Program's MCS has one event cycle comprised of 5 events:
- Policy and Procedure Implementation.
- Records Management Network.
- Files Improvement and Records Disposition Training.
- File System Development and Maintenance.
- Records Disposition Procedures and Activity.
- Questionnaire. A review questionnaire (See Manual Appendix 5-15-D) has been developed to ensure that adequate management controls exist to meet the Records Management Program's control objectives, performance indicators/outcomes, and ensure that the Records Management Program is in compliance with Part 5, Chapter 15, "Records Management Program," of the Indian Health Manual.
- Management Control Plan. The records Management Program, Management Control Area has been assigned a 5 year review cycle and the risk rating is "Medium."
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