Shutdown Could Delay Records Management Directive Implementation

    Oct 09, 2013

    As a result of the budget stalemate that caused the shutdown of the federal government on October 1, most employees of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as well as records managers at the various agencies, have been furloughed. If the stalemate continues much longer, it could jeopardize the ability of federal departments and agencies to comply with a series of goals and actions that must be completed by the end of 2013 to implement the Obama administration’s initiatives to modernize the government’s records management policies and practices.

    On November 28, 2011, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records, launching an ambitious multi-year effort to reform and modernize federal records management policies and practices.

    In August 2012, NARA and the Office of Management and Budge issued an implementing directive that outlines two high-level goals for executive branch agencies:

    1. Require electronic recordkeeping to ensure transparency, efficiency, and accountability.
    2. Demonstrate compliance with federal records management statutes and regulations. 

    To meet these goals, there are a number of activities that NARA and the Office of Personnel Management must complete by the end of this year. This includes revising guidance for the transfer of permanent electronic records to the National Archives; establishing a formal records management occupational series; identifying a government-wide analytical tool to evaluate the effectiveness of records management programs; and producing a comprehensive plan to describe suitable approaches for the automated management of e-mail, social media, and other types of digital content. 

    On May 28, 2013, NARA issued a further memorandum outlining specific responsibilities that the senior agency official and the agency records officer of each agency must take, and giving agencies the period between October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013, to submit a report on progress toward meeting their goals and requirements. The report is required to cover: the transition to managing all permanent records in an electronic format; the existing use of cloud services and storage; the name and contact information of SAO designees; a list of all scheduled permanent records that have been in existence for more than 30 years that have not been transferred to NARA; and a list of all unscheduled records.

    To read the full list of reporting requirements, click here.

    The Washington Policy Brief is an online advisory that contains brief summaries of recent legislative and regulatory issues that may affect the records and information management profession. Further information about the issue is accessed by clicking on the link provided at the end of each summary.


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