Records Management FAQs

Records Management FAQs

February 26, 2014

Background

Why do we need to be concerned about Records Management? 

UC campuses are under heavy scrutiny by the media, the Regents, the Internal Revenue Service and members of the public and as such need to provide quick access to documents upon request.

Related Information:
Records Management Overview
Records Management Responsibilities
Records Management Services

What is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and how does it apply to the University and Records Management?

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was designed to prevent financial malpractice by establishing new standards for U.S. public companies. The University of California has chosen to incorporate its provisions.

How does the Sarbanes-Oxley Act affect me? 

Sarbanes-Oxley includes retention mandates for certain public records, and while the Act doesn’t technically apply to the University, UC may seek disciplinary action for destroying, altering or concealing business records.

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Managing Records

What exactly is a record? 

University records are pieces of information that have been created or received by your department of administrative, legal, fiscal, research or historical value in any format including paper, electronic or other media.

What is not a record? 

“Non-records” include items that have no unique business, legal, regulatory or operational value including notes, extra copies maintained for convenience and emails to colleagues regarding non-official events.

I'd like to set up a records management program in my department. How do I start? 

First, take an inventory of your department's records and then begin disposing of records in accordance with the UC retention schedules making sure to shred or erase personal, confidential or sensitive information.

My department's records are increasingly becoming electronic. We have a great IT staff, so why should I worry about records management? 

Electronic records are subject to discovery in court and to review by auditors and members of the public. It's important to establish a system for retrieval and possible disposal according to UC guidelines.

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Why don't we just use imaging technology to scan all paper documents into electronic form? This would save a lot of space. 

Some UCLA offices such as Corporate Financial Services scan their own records because they have the volume to warrant the expense. Also UCLA Document and Bulk Mail Services provides scanning for a nominal cost.

Why is Records Management under Corporate Financial Services (CFS) and not under the Campus Counsel's office? 

The majority of retrieval requests received by Records Management are for financial documents, for which CFS is the office of record. Records Management also works closely with Campus Counsel and other offices.

What resources are available to answer other questions I may have? 

Your first point of contact is generally your chief administrative or financial officer. However, Records Management is always willing to assist you in developing and managing a records management program.

Related Information:
Handling & Storing Records
How to Create a Filing System
Storing Paper Records
Naming Conventions for Electronic Records
Storing Electronic Records

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Retention & Disposition 

My department's filing cabinets are full. How long do we have to keep these documents?

The University has a searchable database to find the retention period for the documents you have.

Why don't we just keep all records indefinitely? 

It's important to destroy records at the end of their retention period in order to save money on storage costs and minimize legal risk since they are still subject to subpoena.

What exactly does the University Archives office do? 

The University Archives office preserves items of historical value. If you have records that you think may be a significant piece of history, contact the University Archives staff.

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Employee Records Requests 

Sometimes people ask me for another employee's personnel or payroll records or to verify their employment. What should I do? 

Direct the requester to Records Management, the Office of Contact for all such requests. Do not release any such records yourself even if you have them. Records Management must determine the validity of the request.

Subpoenas & Summonses 

What should I do if somebody hands me a subpoena?

Only the coordinating offices that are authorized to process subpoenas may accept one even if they specify records in your possession. Contact Records Management with any questions.

What should I do if somebody hands me a summons and asks me to accept service on behalf of a UCLA employee?

The summons (or subpoena-to-appear) can be accepted only by the individual or by the manager of a department with authorization of the named person. 

Should I tell the employee about the subpoena (for records)?

No, since Records Management sends a letter of notification to the employee upon receiving a subpoena.  In addition, the attorney or copy server is obligated by law to notify the employee in advance.

If I receive a subpoena in which the University is named as a defendant, what should I do? 

Do not accept the subpoena.  Direct the process server to the Office of Campus Counsel.

Why can't the University release documents collected pursuant to a subpoena before the due date? 

State law prohibits the University from releasing information prior to the due date in order to provide the subject an opportunity to object to the disclosure by filing a motion to quash.

Related Information:
How to Respond to a Subpoena

Additional Information: Public Records FAQs

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Records Management
Email: UCLARecordsManagement@finance.ucla.edu | Phone: (310) 794-2600 | Fax: (310) 794-8961 | Mail Code: 143348

Address

10920 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 530
Los Angeles, CA 90024-6541

Office Hours

Monday – Friday 8 a. m. to Noon, 1 p.m. to 5 p. m.
Saturday and Sunday Closed