NARA’s Annual Records Management Report Indicates Agency Progress toward Fully Electronic Environment

NARA’s Federal Agency Records Management Annual Report for 2017 indicates that federal agencies continue their efforts to transition to a fully electronic environment as required by the President’s reform plan, Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, and NARA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

The report indicates that ninety-eight percent of executive-branch agencies believe they can meet the OMB/NARA Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) target of managing all permanent electronic records in electronic format by December 31, 2019.  However, the report also noted that more work is still required and agencies must actively continue modernization efforts.

Key recommendations supporting digital modernization call for:

1) Senior Agency Officials for Records Management (SAORMs) to ensure that records management programs are properly resourced and aligned with agency strategic information plans;

2) SAORMs to promote an information governance framework that requires collaboration between records management and information technology staff;

3) Agencies to improve email management, particularly in records retention scheduling and final disposition;

4) Agencies to ensure that new and departing senior agency officials and leaders receive documentable briefings on their responsibilities for records management, and if applicable, require that they obtain approval before removing personal files or copies of records;

5) NARA to increase its oversight activities (inspections, assessments, or system audits) to evaluate the accuracy and causes of extreme changes in record-management performance data.

The publication of NARA’s Federal Agency Records Management Annual Report for 2017, which consolidates data reported annually to NARA in the Senior Agency Official for Records Management Report, the Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA), and the Federal Email Management Report from executive-branch agencies, was announced on August 22, 2018, by NARA through the Chief Records Officer for the United States Government.

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