The State Records Center will be the best option for most departments; however, if you require additional services not offered by the SRC or are moving out from under the UW-Madison agency, contracting with an outside vendor may be necessary. When using vendors other than the SRC, keep in mind the following:
Define the type of services you require and the expectations for performance. For example, do you need inactive records storage only, 24 x 7 access and service, records destruction, routine reporting, or witnessed destruction.
Research the vendor. Some questions to ask are:
- How many years has the vendor been in operation?
- Do they employ trained personnel?
- What type of computer tracking system do they use?
- If they accept electronic records, does their facility have the appropriate storage and security mechanisms in place?
- Are they able to provide University Archives and Records Management Services with reports if required?
- What is their fee schedule?
- Do they meet ANSI standards?
- What types of notification and verification does the vendor provide for records destruction?
- What are their access and security policies?
- If patient or medically related, do they have a ‘business agent’ agreement?
- Does the vendor provide electronic records monitoring and maintenance? If so, at what cost?
Visit the facility. Take the time to tour the facility and ask questions about their storage mechanisms and facility operations.
Ask about media maintenance. If your records require maintenance, it is important to ask whether they have the capacity for maintaining media. Some examples of media maintenance are: media recopying, media inspections, media refreshing, rewinding, and media acclimatization.
Administrative Rule 12 requires readability and retrieval checks at least every 3 years and transfer to new media storage at least every 5 years.
Determine vendor costs. When determining vendor costs, be sure to include fees for storage, service, transportation, re-files, destruction, and other incidental services such as faxing, indexing and photocopying.
Review vendor agreement. Determine what type of agreement you should have with the vendor and specify applicable performance measures. The agreement should be reviewed by appropriate personnel to ensure compliance with University policies and regulations.