NARA Report Says Agencies on Track to Meet E-Record Requirements

    Jan 13, 2016

    Almost one year after receiving responses from senior agency officials (SAOs) for records management, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on November 23 released a report and analysis outlining the progress of federal agencies toward implementing the Managing Government Records Directive.

    According to the report, which covers the activities of agencies during calendar year 2014, 94% are on track to meet the directive’s goal that they manage all e-mail records electronically by December 31, 2016, and manage permanent electronic records in an electronic format by December 31, 2019.

    “Email management has become a visible, important priority for agencies and several SAOs indicated they had awareness briefings with agency heads on the importance of properly managing email,” the report notes. “Agencies are also taking strides to improve records management training, especially ensuring that all agencies’ records officers have been through NARA’s Certificate of Federal Records Management Training program.”

    In addition to improving training and being on track to meet the 2016 and 2019 goals for e-mails and permanent electronic records, NARA’s analysis shows that a substantial number of agencies are considering or implementing the Capstone approach for identifying e-mail accounts most likely to contain records that should be permanently preserved.

    The report also highlights challenges faced by smaller agencies, which cite limited resources and personnel to successfully implement the records management requirements of the directive. “These agencies,” notes the report, “often request basic assistance, guidance, and training so that they can implement electronic records management programs with limited or no additional resources.”

    Agencies are currently being asked to provide information about their compliance activities in 2015. They received their survey questions on November 16, and the SAOs for records management have until January 29 to submit their reports to NARA. In addition to asking agencies to report on efforts to meet the goals of the directive, NARA is asking for more information on best practices, lessons learned, and solutions to records management challenges.

    “For many agencies, one of the outcomes of the SAO reporting process has been closer coordination between the agency records officer and SAO,” the report concluded. “The SAOs are crucial to achieving the Directive’s vision of moving federal recordkeeping from a system rooted in a largely paper environment to a modern, efficient, open and accountable electronic information and records management system.”

    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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