Where and How do You Keep Documentation – New Regulations with Respect to Archival Materials and Documentary Materials

Where and How do You Keep Documentation – New Regulations with Respect to Archival Materials and Documentary Materials

December 17, 2021

New bylaws in relation to the Law on Archival Materials and Services (Official Gazette of RS no. 6/2020) (“the Law”) have recently been adopted to supplement the regulatory framework concerning document management. These regulations are:

  • Regulation on Unique Technical and Technology Requirements and Procedures for Storage and Protection of Archival and Documentary Materials in Electronic Form (Official Gazette of RS no. 107/2021) (“the Regulation”), whose application has been delayed until September 1, 2022, and
  • Rulebook on Detailed Requirements for Ensuring Appropriate Space and Equipment for Storage and Protection of Archival and Documentary Materials with Creators and Holders of Archival and Documentary Materials (Official Gazette of RS no. 111/2021) (“the Rulebook”), which entered into force on November 26, 2021.

We have written about the Law in our previous articles (available here and here), and in the below text we will provide an overview of key provisions of the new bylaws.

Regulation

The Regulation stipulates that creators and holder of documentary materials in electronic form shall be obliged to perform electronic archiving, until delivery of archival materials to the competent archive, in accordance with the Regulation on Conditions for Preparation of Documents for Reliable Electronic Storage and Document Forms Suitable for Long-term Storage (Official Gazette of RS no. 86/2018).

Electronic archiving is done by a software – information system for reliable electronic storage, while creator and holder prepare a list of categories of archival and documentary materials with retention periods and submit it in electronic form to the competent public archive (to “eArhiv”, through “eUprava” portal). If the archive establishes an irregularity while checking this list, it shall order its correction and the creator/holder shall be obliged to act immediately upon it.

The Regulation further prescribes that individual obligations of creators and holders of documentary material with regard to electronic archiving, prior to delivery to the competent archive, inter alia, include: enacting of internal rules of conducting with regards to the preparation of materials for reliable electronic storage, application of measures for protection of the aforementioned software, classification of materials in accordance with the list of categories (along with designation of the retention period thereof), recording of prescribed data, keeping records of activities undertaken in the process of preparation for electronic storage and archiving, keeping archive books in electronic form etc.

In addition, having selected the materials to be permanently kept from software, creators and holders of documentary materials shall select documentary materials with expired retention period for destruction, and create a request to the competent public archive in electronic form in relation thereto (to “eArhiv”, through “eUprava” portal). As regards the selection of electronic material to be permanently kept, upon expiry of 30 years after its creation, creators and holders of such material shall create a request in electronic form in the software and submit it to the competent public archive (to “eArhiv”), based on which request that the archive adopts an act on establishing the archive material for cultural good, in accordance with law.

Rulebook

In accordance with the Rulebook, creators and holders of documentary materials, except for natural persons, shall ensure appropriate space and equipment for storage and protection of archival and documentary materials, whereby the appropriate space is considered clerk’s office and archive depository, as defined by the Rulebook. The Rulebook also specifies the location and characteristics of the depository, i.e., physical requirements, microclimate, and chemical and biological requirements for protection of archival and documentary materials.

Archival and documentary materials are kept in arranged and safe state, until delivery to the competent public archive, i.e., until destruction after expiry of the prescribed retention period. Creators and holders of archival and documentary materials in electronic form shall ensure permanent storage of archival materials in the said form, as well as its preservation, migration and transfer until delivery to the competent archive.

The Rulebook also specifies that the archival materials are preserved in appropriate protection folders, whose structure suits the type and form of materials and where the prescribed data are written. Creators and holders shall ensure the control of access to the depository, as well as managing of archival and documentary materials by designating a responsible person thereof. The responsible person shall keep records of employees’ access to the depository and borrowing of files included therein, as well as regular control and cleaning of the respective space.

With the exception of state authorities and organizations, bodies of territorial autonomy and local self-government units, institutions, public companies, holders of public authorities and religious communities, creators and holders which during one calendar year create or hold less than 20 meters of archival and documentary materials, shall not be obliged to ensure proper space in terms of the Rulebook, and they may keep archival and documentary materials in their business and office premises, provided that such space meets the prescribed characteristics, and they are obliged to keep the archival and documentary materials in appropriate metal shelves or cabinets.

This article is to be considered as exclusively informative, with no intention to provide legal advice. If you should need additional information, please contact us directly.