Answers to frequently asked questions about the retention feature.
To learn more about how the Retention feature works and how to set it up, please see our main Retention article here.
Why are Documents and Requests deleted separately? Why do they have different start dates for the retention period?
This is a great question and best explained with an example. Let's say you have a 5 year retention period and usually destroy or delete records part way through the 6th year. You have a policy manual version that is dated 01/01/2015, but there have been several updates to that manual over the years and the current version is dated 01/01/2021. Then let's say a requester submits a request on 3/1/2021 for all versions of the policy manual available. If you upload the 2018 manual and input the document date as 01/01/2018, the portal will be able to delete the outdated versions according to your retention period correctly without removing the more recent versions. This also provides you with the flexibility to maintain all versions in a request (through exemption) if that makes more sense for you, your process, the requester, or local statute.
By default the document date is the date of upload, however you can click on the pencil icon next to the progress bar while uploading a file to edit the document date:
You can also edit this date if you have already uploaded a document by clicking on the paper icon next to the document name to view the document:
Then edit the document date by clicking on the pencil icon:
Additionally if you redact a document in NextRequest a new version of that document is created when the file is finalized, so the date of upload for redacted documents is the date of finalization.
Can I retrieve documents or requests after they are deleted due to retention? Is there an undo function?
No. Once documents or requests are deleted from retention they are gone forever. This is why it's super important if you are newly setting up retention for your portal and have had a portal for a while, you may want to set the retention period longer than the minimum required so that you have time to exempt requests and documents as needed.
Why would I want to exempt requests or documents from deletion?
The reasons for this vary but typically if it's beneficial for the document or request to continue to be available to the requester or the public for any reason we recommend exempting it from deletion. This can be because there is not a newer version of that document available, the files are pertaining to pending litigation, the files are under another statutes jurisdiction that has a different retention period, etc.