ARMA International has begun reaching out to other professional associations, think tanks, and industry leaders in the records and information management field to build support for a coalition that will focus on the best ways to bring private sector expertise and best practices to address the U.S. federal government's records and information challenges.
“ARMA is proposing to organize a coalition of key private sector stakeholders that would work independently of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), but would support that agency’s efforts to modernize the federal government’s records management infrastructure, including the transition to electronic records,” explained Liz Icenogle, ARMA’s associate director of government affairs.
She said an objective of the coalition will be to support federal records and information management professionals by providing education and training resources as they work to comply with the recommendations developed by NARA to implement the President’s 2011 Memorandum on Managing Government Records. Another objective would be to provide a forum that allows federal records and information management professionals the opportunity to learn about the private sector’s best practices from industry leaders.
“As the largest generator of records and information, both traditional and electronic, the federal government can be a catalyst for promoting best practices, professional standards, and education and training for records and information management programs and professionals, both in the United States and globally,” Icenogle said. “With the support of the private sector, we believe that federal agencies can serve as that catalyst, as well as be better able to meet their legal and regulatory responsibilities with regard to managing information.”
While the details of the coalition’s operations, governance, and programs are still being developed, Icenogle said she hopes they will complement the federal agency community of interest (COI), as called for in the 2012 Directive issued by NARA and the Office of Management and Budget to implement the Presidential Memorandum. That COI will bring together agency leaders from the information technology, legal counsel, and records management communities to “develop and propose guidance, share information, create training and identify tools that support electronic records management.”
In addition, ARMA sees a role for the coalition in creating increased awareness about the benefits of creating an information governance (IG) mindset and standards of conduct among policymakers, in general, and senior agency leaders responsible for overseeing records and information management policies and procedures, specifically.
“We need to go beyond just facilitating a transition to a digital government,” she said. “Our industry can help educate government leaders and policymakers on the principles and core competencies of records management and information governance.”