When there is some sort of incident, essential records are necessary to support an agency’s essential functions (critical services or processes). By law, 2-6-206, MCA requires elected and appointed officers to ensure the security of essential records, needed for an emergency or for the reestablishment of normal operations after the emergency.
Essential records are categorized into two, specific areas. The first, are those records that are needed during an emergency or disaster recovery event. They are needed at time of or shortly after an incident. Emergency response records examples include emergency action plans (EAP), human resource call lists, delegated authority provisions, essential records inventories, emergency management personnel and contact numbers, etc. The second type are those that are needed to bring an agency “up and running”. In other words, records that support business continuity. Continuity response records include those that are necessary to support the agency’s legal, financial and public responsibilities. Examples include, health and human services assistance, payroll, facility plans, accounts receivables, contracts and other legally binding documents, software source codes, access and permissions lists, etc.
The State of Montana is participating in a national program that offers interagency preparedness for essential records (IPER). The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) is leading this project to develop and deliver web and CD-based training to and for state and local governments. Montana has formed a team who will lead other their agencies through a three-part curriculum, that fundamentally educates and prepares agencies. More information and curriculum course descriptions can be found on the IPER website at: http://www.statearchivists.org/IPER/
Additional resources available to agencies:
- MT IPER Resource Center
- Essential Records – Potential List
- Department of Administration Continuity Resources
- Introduction to Records and Information Management
- IPER Key Terms and Acronyms
- Continuity Guidance Circular 2 –Continuity Guidance for Non Federal Entities
- National Incident Management System
- State of Montana State Essential Functions