U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Financial Guide 2006 - Part III - Chapter 12: Retention and Access Requirements for Records

Highlights of Chapter

  • Retention of Records
  • Maintenance of Records
  • Access to Records

Retention of Records

All financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to the award shall be retained by each organization for AT LEAST 3 YEARS following notification by the grant authorizing agency that the grant has been programmatically and fiscally closed OR at least 3 years following the closure of its audit report covering the entire award period, whichever is later. Retention is required for purposes of Federal examination and audit. Records may be retained in an automated format. State or local governments may impose record retention and maintenance requirements in addition to those prescribed.

  1. Coverage. The retention requirement extends to books of original entry, source documents supporting accounting transactions, the general ledger, subsidiary ledgers, personnel and payroll records, cancelled checks, and related documents and records. Source documents include copies of all awards, applications, and required recipient financial and narrative reports. Personnel and payroll records shall include the time and attendance reports for all individuals reimbursed under the award, whether they are employed full time or part time. Time and effort reports are also required for consultants.
  2. Retention Period. The 3-year retention period starts from the date of notification by the awarding agency that the grant has been programmatically and fiscally closed OR the submission of the closure of the single audit report which covers the entire award period, whichever event occurs later. If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, or other action involving the records have started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arise from it or until the end of the regular 3-year period, whichever is later.

Maintenance of Records

Recipients of funds are expected to see that records of different Federal fiscal periods are separately identified and maintained so that information desired may be readily located. Recipients are also obligated to protect records adequately against fire or other damage. When records are stored away from the recipient's principal office, a written index of the location of records stored should be on hand and ready access should be assured.

Access to Records

The awarding agency includes the funding agency, the Federal agency, the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their authorized representatives, who shall have the right of access to any pertinent books, documents, papers, or other records of recipients which are pertinent to the award, in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, and transcripts. The right of access must not be limited to the required retention period but shall last as long as the records are retained.

However, only under extraordinary and rare circumstances would such access include review of the true name of confidential informants or victims of crime. When access to the true name of confidential informants or victims of crime is necessary, appropriate steps to protect this sensitive information must and will be taken by the recipient and awarding agency. Any such access, other than under a court order or subpoena pursuant to a bona fide confidential investigation, must be approved by both the OJP program office head and the Chief Financial Officer.

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