Introduction to General Records Schedules

Records management is regulated by Wisconsin state law, and accordingly, General Records Schedules (GRSs) provide legal authorization to dispose of records common to a business function on a regularly scheduled basis. General Records Schedules are a mechanism for consistent retention and disposition of similar types of records across all government units and provide assurance of accountability to the public. GRSs also contain guidelines for complying with legal, fiscal, and archival requirements for records retention and facilitate cost-effective management of records commonly found in all government units.

The records retention obligations of state agencies are governed by Wis. Stat. § 16.61 and apply to "public records" as defined in Wis. Stat. § 16.61(2)(b)​. These materials are referred to as "records" in this document for ease of reference.  Records that are unique to a specific government unit require the creation of a separate Records Disposition Authorization (RDA) that must be submitted by the entity, and approved by, the Public Records Board (PRB). 

The purpose of a General Record Schedule is to:

•  Provide agencies with uniform guidelines for the retention and disposition of records common to a business function;

•  Ensure that agencies retain records as long as needed in order to complete the transaction of business ​on behalf of the State of Wisconsin, and to meet legal, audit, archival, and other State of Wisconsin and federal requirements; 

•  Provide agencies with legal authorization to dispose of records eligible for disposition on a regularly scheduled basis after the minimum retention periods are met. Records may not be disposed of in a shorter period of time; and

•  Promote the cost-effective management of records.

​In the complete Introduction to General Records Schedules you will find additional information on: Who May Use GRSs, Records Respo​nsibilities, Records Format, Retaining Records, Confidential and Personally Identifiable Information, and Understanding the GRS Categories.