The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a joint memorandum to the heads of all federal agencies reminding them about their records management responsibilities regarding e-mail.
The September 15 memorandum seeks to ensure compliance with the president's November 28, 2011, Managing Government Records Memorandum and the 2012 Managing Government Records Directive issued jointly by NARA and the OMB. The directive requires federal agencies to manage both permanent and temporary records in an electronically accessible format by the end of 2016. It also requires federal agencies to manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format by the end of 2019.
“This Memorandum reinforces the importance for each agency to manage their email properly and the need for all Federal employees to be aware of their responsibilities for managing email records,” stated Arian Ravanbakhsh, a records management policy analyst with NARA, in a September 16 blog post. “This has been an important issue for Congress and the Administration over the last few months. It is also an animating issue as we continue to work towards the goal in the Managing Government Records Directive that all email be managed electronically by the end of 2016.”
Accompanying the memorandum is a bulletin containing question and answer guidance on a number of topics, including the kinds of e-mails that are official federal records, agency responsibilities for e-mail management, the role of federal employees in e-mail management, a description of the Capstone approach to managing e-mail, guidance on e-mail retention, strategies for mitigation against loss of e-mails, instructions on reporting e-mail loss, and other electronic records reference materials.
The guidance “will assist agencies in meeting these goals and the Federal records management requirements under the Federal Records Act and associated regulations,” NARA and OMB stated in the memorandum. “NARA will begin to track agency implementation of the 2016 email records management requirement and regularly provide reports to OMB on agency progress.”
The memorandum also reminded agencies that they are accountable and responsible for meeting certain requirements in the directive that are due at the end of 2014. Those requirements include agency records officers having obtained a NARA certificate of federal records management training and all agencies having established and developed suitable records management training.
The memorandum also notes that NARA and OMB will convene a group of senior agency officials for records management, CIOs, general counsels, and records officers to develop best practices documents for identifying and retaining federal records that would be used by agencies to establish annual records management training requirements.