Record Center Services: Destruction
Destruction in the Creating Agency
The majority of records series on records retention schedules have disposition instructions similar to “Destroy in office after 3 years.”
State Agencies may destroy records only when complying with the provisions of:
Consistent and routine implementation of the disposition instructions listed in these schedules provides the proper and legal foundation for the disposition of public records through destruction or transfer to the State Records Center.
Authority for these disposition instructions is contained in Chapters 121 and 132 of the General Statutes of North Carolina. Compliance with the disposition instructions listed in these retention schedule helps ensure conformity with the public records laws, and allows the proper destruction of records whose value has ended, as well as the retention of records with continuing value.
No unscheduled records in an agency's custody should be destroyed. Contact the records management analyst assigned to your agency to create a schedule, or deal with any extenuating circumstances.
According to N. C. Administrative Code, Title 7, Chapter 4, Subchapter M, Section .0510 agencies are allowed to destroy records in one of the ways listed below, depending on the nature of the record:
If the records are paper, they should be destroyed in one of the following ways:
- burned, unless prohibited by local ordinance;
- shredded or torn so as to destroy the record content of the documents or materials concerned;
- placed in acid vats so as to reduce the paper to pulp and to terminate the existence of the document or materials concerned; or
- sold as waste paper, provided that the purchaser agrees in writing that the documents or materials concerned will not be resold without pulverizing or shredding the documents so that the information contained within cannot be practicably read or reconstructed.
If the records are electronic, they should be destroyed in this way:
- the data and metadata are to be overwritten, deleted, and unlinked so the data and metadata may not be practicably reconstructed.
If the records are confidential or contain confidential information, whether they are paper or electronic, they should be destroyed in this way:
- N.C. Administrative Code, Title 7, Chapter 4, Subchapter M, Section .0510
- the data, metadata, and physical media are to be destroyed in such a manner that the information cannot be read or reconstructed under any means.
Confidential records must be destroyed in a secure manner so that the information contained in them cannot be used.
Destruction In SRC Storage
No record is destroyed without written agreement from the custodial office.
We generate each Notice of Destruction of Records (form 23X) from our database. The database identifies those records which have been stored for their complete retention period. Each form is signed by the Supervisor for State Agency Services and given to the Records Management Analyst for the appropriate agency. The analyst then transmits the form to the Chief Records Officer. The CRO will then follow the creating agency’s internal procedures for distributing and approving the Notice. The Government Records Branch does not dictate who approves destruction - that is for the agency to decide.
If your office cannot approve destruction, we need to know why. Some reasons are temporary (such as an audit that is not complete). Other reasons will lead to a change in the records schedule (such as new federal regulations).
Return the original signed copy to the State Records Center, and keep a copy for your records. Our staff will proceed to remove the records from the shelf, and turn them over to our vendor to be destroyed.
At present, there is no charge for destruction activities.
Even under disaster conditions (such as the flooding that followed Hurricane Fran), the creating agency will be informed of the condition of their records, and be presented options appropriate to the value and condition of the records.
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