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    ARMA International: State Department OIG Report Highlights Federal Records Managers’ Need for More Resources, Authorities

    May 26, 2016

    Overland Park, KS, May 26, 2016 – ARMA International, a not-for-profit professional association representing records management and information governance professionals, today called on Congress and senior U.S. government agency leaders to provide federal records managers with the tools, resources, and authorities they need to meet the e-mail records management and cybersecurity requirements outlined in today’s report released by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

    “Today’s OIG report offers important guidance for all agencies,” stated Liz Icenogle, ARMA International’s director of strategic affairs. “But the dedicated federal professionals who manage records, including those at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which is responsible for the implementation of federal records policy, lack sufficient authority and resources to compel consistent implementation and compliance across programs, departments, and agencies.”

    As an American National Standards-setting organization for records management and information governance practices, ARMA International developed the globally recognized Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (Principles) and the complementary Information Governance Maturity Model (Maturity Model). Together, the Principles and Maturity Model identify the critical hallmarks of information governance – including the need for accountability, business transparency, information privacy and security, and legal and regulatory compliance – establish a standard of conduct for governing information, and provide metrics by which to judge that conduct.

    To ensure that policies and enforcement mechanisms are in place to govern how federal agencies preserve, manage, and maintain electronic and other communications that constitute government records, ARMA International is recommending actions that go beyond the OIG report. These include:

    • Directing inspectors general across government to pay greater attention to how their respective agencies are meeting the U.S. archivist’s 2016 and 2019 mandates and to provide Congress with status updates in semi-annual reports;
    • Bringing together regulations, memoranda, and directives under one coordinating mechanism so duplication and gaps can be identified and information policies revised to produce an integrated information governance policy;
    • Integrating records management practitioners into the full information technology lifecycle management process to prevent the kind of systemic records management failures that have plagued a number of agencies;
    • Increasing education and training resources to better equip federal records and information management practitioners to comply with federal statutes, regulations, directives, and policies;
    • Identifying senior executive service leaders to serve as “chief information governance officers,” who would be responsible for developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of a sound and integrated records management and information governance architecture for their department or agency; and
    • Establishing reporting requirements to bring transparency and accountability to the information governance function, similar to the process for reporting on internal financial controls under the Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) and OMB Circular A-123.

    “For too long, records management responsibilities have been overlooked within the business functions of many federal agencies – with disastrous consequences in some instances for their mission, effectiveness, and credibility,” Icenogle stated. “The State Department OIG report offers important recommendations for improving compliance with federal records laws, but much more needs to be done to ensure that records are protected and managed responsibly across all federal agencies.” 

    © 2017, ARMA International