Idaho Public Records Law grants individuals the right to copy and examine any public record of the state if it is not exempt by law. A public record includes, but is not limited to, any writing containing information relating to the conduct of administration of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristic. A record is a document produced during the routine course of business which notes the occurrence of an event or activity of the agency operations. A record can exist in a number of formats, including various sizes of paper (original or photocopy), microfilm or any microform, electronic media, email, optical disk media, CD, photograph, audio and video tape, punched cards, books, or maps.
As a state institution the University of Idaho must meet the requirements of Idaho Public Records law. It must be understood that all records generated at the University are property of the State of Idaho. State records need to be accessible by departmental staff, administration, other agencies, and by the public. All public records requests must be handled through the Office of General Counsel. Refer any public records requests that you receive to the Office of General Counsel.
Requirements for Departments, Colleges and Offices of the University
Each functional area of the institution is responsible for maintaining proper accessibility of their records. This means that records should be compiled and stored in a manner that makes them secure, safe from damage, and readily retrievable for business use and/or a public records request. Electronic filing should match manual systems and vice versa in order to guarantee consistent and quick accessibility.
Responsibility for Enforcement
The University of Idaho is responsible for internal enforcement of our records management program to ensure compliance with the University's Board of Regents and state guidance. The Records Management Office is available to assist you with your records concerns. You can view the current Records Management procedures in chapter 65 of the Administrative Procedures Manual. These policies should be reviewed often as we work to clarify and stream line the records processes for the institution.
Definition of a Record
A record is any recorded information, regardless of medium or characteristics, made or received by an organization that is evidence of its operations, and has value requiring its retention for a specific period of time. This information is significant or vital to the organization and legally recognized with judicial enforceability as a recorded fact. Many copies of a record may exist. Most often the official copy of the record is the original version created by the original author. The University of Idaho has a statutory responsibility for the guardianship of these records for their useful life. The challenge we are faced with is the management of the volumes of records created in conducting our business. They must be filed and protected for the duration of their retention requirements as well as be readily available to departmental staff and meet requests under Idaho Public Records Law.
Definition of Records Management
Records management is a general term which encompasses a number of activities and techniques that make records-keeping easier, more efficient, and more cost effective. These activities include, but are not restricted to, files, forms, and reports management, essential records protection, non-current records storage, record scheduling and retention, micrographics, computer files, and other alternative long-term storage, etc. Any or all of these techniques may be incorporated into a specific program to meet the needs of your department.
Components of Records Management
Public Access and Information
The University is required to provide public access to its policies and procedures, as well as the indexes to all records which are classified as being open for public inspection.
Current Records Storage
Current records are used frequently in the course of business and should be organized in such a way as to permit rapid access.
Non-Current Records Storage
The active reference life of most records varies from one to two years. Older, less active records should be shifted to cost-efficient, accessible, non-current records storage centers for the remainder of the required retention periods.
Multi-media Records Management
Public records stored on non-paper mediums (microfilm, electronic, etc.) require procedures to ensure that access to those records is maintained for the duration of the established retention periods. The retention periods must be based on the informational content of the records and not the medium in which the records are stored.
Essential Records Protection
Secure copies should be stored so that working copies of records can be replaced if they are lost or destroyed.
Each agency should have a plan and procedure for identifying and recovering records damaged by fire, flood, earthquake, or other disaster.
A records management program should ensure an orderly and ongoing disposition of records from creation to destruction.