Colorado State Archives
Records Management FAQs
management services historically provided by the Colorado State
Archives are currently undergoing remodeling and construction.
We encourage you to access the official State of Colorado
Records Management Manual at:
you need more in-depth assistance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
with your question.
Please be sure to write “Records Retention Question” in
the subject/title box.
apologize for any inconvenience, but rest assured we will do our
best to solve these challenges for a better Colorado.
What are the laws that cover the retention and
destruction of public records?
Title 24 - Article 80 of the
Colorado Revised Statutes provides for the preservation of permanent
records and the destruction of records that are no longer of value to
public agencies. SB03-033 made
significant changes to the above Title 24 - Article 80. The Colorado
State Archives as the designee of the Executive Director of the
Department of Personnel sets the policy for the preservation of
records of enduring value and the destruction of records that are no
longer of value. All State agencies and political subdivisions
must consult periodically with the State Archives concerning the
retention and disposition of their records. The State Archives
does not provide retention guidance for records created and maintained
by private entities or non-profit groups.
Are there any guidelines or manuals on-line that
tell me how long I need to keep my records?
Currently, there is a
Records Management Manual
that covers the records that are common to all State agencies
including higher education agencies. State agencies may destroy
records listed in the manual at any time. There are also a
Model Municipal Retention Schedule
School District Retention Schedule
that covers the records of cities and towns and the state's
school districts. Municipalities
must adopt the Model Municipal Retention Schedule in
order to utilize it. Libraries, school districts are to adopt
the Colorado School District Records Management Manual in order
to utilize it. For most other records, State agencies and
political subdivisions need to implement a records retention schedule
with the Colorado State Archives.
What is a records retention schedule?
A records retention schedule is developed
specifically for a public agency. It lists all records maintained by
the agency and how long they need to be kept. The State Archivist,
the State Auditor's Office and the Attorney General's Office sign the
retention schedule. Some of the records need to be retained
permanently, while others can be destroyed once they have exceeded the
minimum retention period. The records retention schedule is a legal
authorization to destroy records.
What is a minimum retention period?
A minimum retention period is the shortest amount of
time a record must be kept before it is destroyed.
How are minimum retention periods developed?
State or Federal laws or regulations set some
retention periods, while others are based on laws or regulations. For
most records, the State Archives along with the agency appraises the
legal, fiscal, administrative and informational value of the record to
arrive at a retention period.
How can I tell if my agency has a records retention
The State Archives keeps a copy of all retention
schedules on file. For information, e-mail us at:
put "Records Management" in the subject line.
My records retention schedule is old. How can I get
an updated schedule?
Since records retention schedules are developed
specifically for each entity, the State Archives does not
automatically update them. Entities are responsible for notifying the
State Archives as to what records on their schedules they no longer
maintain and what records need to be added to their schedule.
Do I need to keep the paper copy of all permanent
Most permanent records may be microfilmed or imaged
and placed on an optical disk. For records that are microfilmed, the
negative microfilm must be inspected and deposited in the State
Archives prior to destruction of the original record. For imaged
records, consult the State Archives'
Optical Disk Policy Statement.
Contact the State Archives for more information on either of these
I work for a political subdivision of the State
(i.e. municipality, county, school district, special district). Every
year I receive a "records retention disposition authorization" and a
"certificate of disposal" from the State Archives. What are these
The State Archives sends out an annual authorization
to destroy records for another year. You should refer to your records
retention schedule to know what records you can destroy. Once you
have completed the destruction of records, fill out the pink
certificate of disposal and return it to the State Archives.
How do I destroy my records?
Records can be destroyed by shredding, burning
(where no local burn ordinance is in effect), recycling, or landfill.
Records that are confidential in nature should be destroyed by
shredding, or they can be destroyed professionally by a company that
can certify to security destruction.
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