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Records Management in the Government of the District of Columbia: Retention Schedule Requirements

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Information about the Office of Public Records

The Office of Public Records is mandated by DC Law 6-19 and the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, Title 1, Chapter 15, to review and approve agency records retention schedules; train records officers in implementing the policies, procedures, and guidelines of managing records; collect, store, preserve, conserve and service historical records in the custody of the Archives; collect, store and service temporary records in the custody of the Records Center; and collect, store and service publications in the custody of the Library of Government Information. 

Public Records and Archive Services is managed and administered through the Office of Public Records and Archives.

Service Details: 

Deeds, Land and Property



Historical Documents

Research Building Permits and Architectural Plans

Related Services: 

District of Columbia Archives

Library of Government Information

Public Records Center

Service Contact: 

Office of Public Records, Administrator

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: (202) 671-1105

Contact Fax: (202) 727-6076

Contact TTY: 711

Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:45 pm

Service Location: 

GIS Address: 

1300 Naylor Court, NW

Washington, DC 20001

Office of the Secretary - OS

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Office Hours
Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

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1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 419, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 727-6306
Fax: (202) 727-3582
TTY: 711
Alternate Number: Notary: (202) 727-3117

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Ask the Secretary of the District of Columbia

Agency Performance


Kimberly A. Bassett

Kimberly A. Bassett

Secretary of the District of Columbia

Requirements for Records Schedules

To assist agencies as they begin to develop or update records schedules the Office of Public Records has developed the following list of requirements so that all agencies understand what is needed to develop a records schedule that will be approved by the our office. 


  1. The retention schedule must be complete, covering the entire agency, accurate, and clear – and result from the inventory of all records in agency custody

  1. All retention schedules must be completed using ms word, editable  and in the designated format approved by the public records administrator

  1. The retention schedule must make a clear determination whether each type or series of records inventoried has temporary or permanent value

  1. All records designated as permanent must have sufficient value to justify their transfer to the dc archives

  1. No records designated as having permanent value are scheduled for destruction

  1. All retention periods for temporary records must be reasonable and justified

  1.  the retention schedule must develop/formulate specific disposition instructions for each type/series of records

  1. The retention schedule must identify and clearly describe each series of records and contain  readily applicable  disposition instructions

  1. The retention schedule must be prepared so that each subordinate office will have standing instructions detailing the destruction, transfer, or retention of records in the custody of the agency

  1. The retention schedule must specify for all temporary records a retention period of no more than five (5) years after creation, or five (5) years after the close of a transaction or case file, or five (5) years after an event; unless explicitly required by statute to retain the records for a longer period of time. Agency heads shall obtain written permission from the administrator to retain temporary records longer than five (years) for administrative purposes

  1. Retention schedules shall describe records adequately to show the types of records, arrangement, content, and purpose of the series, finding aids and indexes, restrictions on access, and physical form if the records are nontextural items such as maps, photographs, microforms, sound recordings, computer tapes, digital or other nontextural records

  1. The retention schedule must establish a clearly defined cutoff period/ date for permanent records after which they shall be offered to the dc archives, and for temporary records which will be transferred to the dc record center and eventually destroyed

  1. The retention schedule must provide for the removal to the dc record center (or other depository approved by the public records administrator) of those temporary records not eligible for immediate destruction which are no longer needed for the conduct of current business. Such records shall be maintained by the depository until they are eligible for further disposition action

  1. The retention schedule must provide for the destruction of records that have reached the end of their life cycle (served their statutory, fiscal, or administrative uses)

  1. The retention schedule must provide for the minimum volume of current records in office space and equipment consistent with efficient operations