Records Retention

August 9, 2016

The Local Records Act (50 ILCS 205) regulates the preservation and disposal of the public records of all units of local government in Illinois.  The law’s purpose is to maintain a mechanism for the retention of those records that are necessary for the proper functioning of government, the destruction of obsolete and valueless records, and the archival preservation of those records that have long-term research values but are not necessary for the routine operations of local government.  By disposing of useless records and by preserving archival materials, valuable storage space can be freed for the ever-increasing quantities of current records, which are vital for the daily business of local officials.

Records management legislation is designed to promote efficiency and economy in the record-keeping practices of local government.  In Illinois, no public record may be disposed of without the approval of the appropriate records commission.  The Records Management Section of the Illinois State Archives is responsible for assisting state and local government agencies with the disposal of records.

So what does this mean for you?

Perhaps you are wondering how long you need to keep inmate files, inmate medical records, cell check logs, jail surveillance recordings, personnel and training files, radio logs, etc.  In order to properly dispose of such records, you must submit an “Application for Authority to Dispose of Local Records” to the appropriate Local Records Commission prior to the destruction of any record.

In order to get the application process started, you will need to contact your Local Records Representative and ask them to prepare an application for your agency.  Below is a map identifying the Local Records Representative for your geographical area.  After the application template is created by the Local Records Representative, you will complete the application and return it to your Local Records Representative who will then forward it to the Local Records Commission.

After the application has been approved by the Local Records Commission, it will become your agency’s Records Retention Schedule.  You can then dispose of records after the minimum retention period listed for each record series is met – provided no litigation is pending or anticipated and provided that all audit requirements (local, State and federal) have been met – and after you have submitted and received an approved Local Records Disposal Certificate from the appropriate Local Records Commission.

Disposal Certificates must be submitted to the Local Records Commission authorizing the destruction at least thirty (30) days before the date you wish to dispose of the records per Section 400.40 of the Illinois Administrative Code.

If you have any other questions regarding record retention and/or disposal, please contact your Local Records Representative.

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