Electronic Records Policy Tool Kit
MRSC, in partnership with the State Auditor’s Office Center for Government Innovation, has created this Tool Kit to help local governments in Washington State with the process of updating or adopting electronic records policies, and ensure that they are in full compliance with public records laws, including the 2017 legislation ESHB 1594 (codified in part at RCW 40.14.026) and EHB 1595 (amending RCW 42.56.070 and 42.56.120, among other provisions). It addresses Public Records Act (PRA) policy issues relating to email, text, social media, and other electronic records.
The Tool Kit provides sample policy language options for the various facets of electronic records retention, management and disclosure. It does not provide a “stand alone” public records policy or a comprehensive electronic records policy, because there is not a “one size fits all” electronic records policy that local governments can adopt. Also, many local governments adopt “stand alone” policies with respect to certain topics. For example, a local government may choose to address text messaging in its cell phone policy instead of its public records policy.
Local governments should make modifications to the suggested language in this Tool Kit to meet their specific needs.
Disclaimer: This Tool Kit is intended to provide summary information and examples of PRA electronic records policy language. They should not be regarded as specific legal advice. Consult with your agency’s attorney about this topic as well.
Agencies should address the following topics in their electronic records policies to ensure full compliance with electronic records requirements. Some jurisdictions adopt one comprehensive electronic records management policy addressing these different aspects, while others adopt separate policies.
MRSC has created guidance for each of these topics, including sample policy language adapted from real world examples from local jurisdictions, as well as links to those policies: