Module 3: Classification

Section 3.5 Duty to evaluate records and make designations and classifications (63G-2-307)

GRAMA provides that each governmental entity evaluate all of its records, designate classifications, and report these designations to the State Archives. The evaluation of classification is based on the content of the record, not its format. The law does not require that any record be classified until that record is requested. However, an effective method of managing classification decisions is to designate intended classifications for each record series the governmental entity maintains. This provides a framework for appropriately determining a classification in a records request. If records officers need help in determining classifications, they can begin by referring to the suggested designations on the record series retention schedules on the Archives’ website. Assistance is also available from the State Archives records ombudsman. Records officers can use the legal resources available to them (either from the Office of the Attorney General or county attorneys) and should consult their legal counsel as needed for classification issues.

63G-2-307. Duty to evaluate records and make designations and classifications.
(1) A governmental entity shall:
  • (a) evaluate all record series that it uses or creates;
  • (b) designate those record series as provided by this chapter and Title 63A, Chapter 12, Part 1, Archives and Records Service; and
  • (c) report the designations of its record series to the state archives.
(2) A governmental entity may classify a particular record, record series, or information within a record at any time, but is not required to classify a particular record, record series, or information until access to the record is requested.
(3) A governmental entity may redesignate a record series or reclassify a record or record series, or information within a record at any time.

Regardless, when a governmental entity receives a GRAMA request, it is obliged to review the requested record to determine its classification and possible disclosure relevant to the specific request. A governmental entity cannot use the records designation or the classification of a record series as the sole reason for non-disclosure, especially considering that request may be “for the disclosure of a single record within a record series that does not bear an express GRAMA classification.” (Deseret News Publishing Company V. Salt Lake County, No. 20060454)

Governmental entities may re-designate classifications or re-classify information in records at any time.