OMB Announces New Information Management Policy Requirements

    Nov 12, 2015

    The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on October 20 issued proposed revisions to the federal government’s rules governing information management resources. The proposed updates to Circular A-130: Managing Information as a Strategic Resource are the first in 15 years, and they cover a wide range of policy changes dealing with technology acquisition, records management, information governance, privacy, and data security.

    “The proposed Circular reflects a rapidly evolving digital economy where more than ever, individuals, groups, and organizations rely on information technology to carry out a wide range of missions and business functions,” wrote Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung, Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, and Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Howard Shelanski in a blog post announcing the revisions. “This update acknowledges the pace of change and the need to increase capabilities provided by 21st century technology while recognizing the need for strong governance and safeguarding of taxpayer funded assets and information.”

    The updated circular requires agencies to establish comprehensive approaches to improve the acquisition and management of their information resources. It includes a section on records management that requires agencies to designate a senior agency official who has overall agency-wide responsibility for records management.

    The records management section also requires agencies to ensure that records management programs provide adequate and proper documentation of agency activities and that they can access, retrieve, and manage records throughout their life cycle, regardless of the records’ form or medium. The archivist of the United States must approve retention schedules for federal records in a timely fashion, and agencies must ensure the proper and timely disposition of federal records in accordance with a retention schedule approved by the archivist. Finally, agency officials and employees and contractors must receive training and guidance regarding their federal records management responsibilities.

    “We are encouraged that OMB has incorporated new statutory requirements and guidance from the National Archives regarding records management policy,” said Liz Icenogle, ARMA International’s government affairs director. “The real challenge will be in providing records and information management professionals with sufficient authority and resources to compel consistent implementation and compliance across programs, departments, and agencies.”

    Icenogle said ARMA would like to see an increased focus on encouraging agencies to address records management regulatory, security, and legal requirements early in the information technology system development process.

    “We encourage the OMB to promote private sector best practices in the information management business process of agencies by establishing records management as a major stakeholder,” she said. “Achieving the goal of a more open, transparent, accountable government will require that records management professionals have input in every stage of IT systems development.” 

    According to the OMB notice, public comments about the proposed guidance must be sent to a130@omb.eop.gov by November 20, 2015.

    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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