We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Records Management-Self Assessment (RMSA) report has been posted to our website (.pdf). In FY 2015, all 260 agencies that received the RMSA completed the self-assessment. This includes all Cabinet-level department records officers, departmental components, and independent agencies.
Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, said, “This is our seventh RMSA, and we are very pleased to see real progress being made by agencies. We expect this improvement to continue, especially as agencies continue to work towards achieving the goals in the Managing Government Records Directive.”
Some highlights from the 2015 report:
- There continues to be gradual improvement in overall scores.
- RMSA findings and recommendations are consistent with the goals and requirements of the Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M-12-18). We believe improvement will continue as the requirements of M-12-18 are implemented and as our records management oversight activities persist.
- The majority of agencies indicated their records management staff have oversight over records created at the highest levels of their agency (e.g., those of the agency head, senior advisors, and executive staff.)
- Agencies have policies and procedures in place for email. However, there is little or no auditing for compliance.
- A majority of agencies are planning to implement the Capstone approach for managing their email.
- Fewer than half of agencies report having records management staff participating in the design, development, and implementation of new electronic information systems. Of those who participate, only a quarter have approval authority.
We use this annual self-assessment to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements as well as to identify trends and areas where further guidance may be necessary. Federal agencies can use the annual self-assessment to identify strong and weak areas of their records management programs and to determine the impact of changes they have made since the previous self-assessment. As a whole, the data can be used to improve records management practices within the Federal Government.
We are committed to continuing our work with Federal agencies to strengthen their records management programs and improve the RMSA scores across the Government. We look forward to working with Congress, OMB, and the Federal agencies to strengthen records management, modernize federal recordkeeping practices, and facilitate the transition to a digital Government.
All of our past RMSA reports are available here. If you have any questions regarding the RMSA, please feel free to leave a comment here on the blog or send an email to email@example.com.
We have recently published three new materials to help agencies in advance of the upcoming transition of administrations. Two of the products are targeted at political appointees, a video briefing and 1-page handout. Each are titled “Records Management Guidance for Political Appointees”
This video features an introduction from the Archivist of the United States and describes what political appointees should know when they enter, while they work, and when they leave Federal service. The video is available on NARA’s Records Management YouTube Playlist. For agencies that block YouTube at work, we have made the file available for download here. The handout reinforces the points made in the video briefing. Agencies are encouraged to share the materials with political appointees.
Additionally, we have created Model Federal Records and Information Management Entrance and Exit Checklists. These checklists describe basic common records management responsibilities and tasks all individuals should complete when entering or leaving Federal service. The checklists are posted online in a Microsoft Word format to allow records management staff to easily adapt the materials to their specific agency needs.
When preparing for the entrance and exit of employees, agencies should:
- start as early as possible in each phase of service,
- integrate records management training into existing practices and procedures, and
- ensure the removal of any material by an individual is cleared by appropriate staff.
It is important to stress to political appointees and departing officials that records and information they created in the course of their official duties must remain under control of the agency. By ensuring departing officials are aware of Federal records management requirements, agencies can ensure official actions and decisions are documented and preserved for future generations.
If you have any questions about these materials, please email PRMD@nara.gov.
President Barack Obama signed into law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 last week. This law codifies many of the Administration’s openness policies and initiatives into the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and advances open government. It also highlights the importance of NARA’s Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) to the FOIA process.
Follow OGIS’s blog, The FOIA Ombudsman, for updates on how the law will be implemented. OGIS’s Kirsten Mitchell provided an update on OGIS activities at the June 14 BRIDG meeting. You can view the remarks at the meeting here:
The federal records management community may be interested in a new sentence added to the Federal Records Act (44 USC 3102). Here is the updated section with the new text (underlined) added:
§ 3102. Establishment of program of management
The head of each Federal agency shall establish and maintain an active, continuing program for the economical and efficient management of the records of the agency. The program, among other things, shall provide for
(1) effective controls over the creation and over the maintenance and use of records in the conduct of current business;
(2) procedures for identifying records of general interest or use to the public that are appropriate for public disclosure, and for posting such records in a publicly accessible electronic format;
(3) cooperation with the Archivist in applying standards, procedures, and techniques designed to improve the management of records, promote the maintenance and security of records deemed appropriate for preservation, and facilitate the segregation and disposal of records of temporary value; and
(4) compliance with sections 2101-2117, 2501-2507, 2901-2909, and 3101-3107, of this title and the regulations issued under them.
We are reviewing this section for its impact on records management and will continue to post updates here on Records Express.
We are pleased to announce the first two agencies approved to use General Records Schedule (GRS) 6.1 for email managed under a Capstone approach are the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
Goal 1.2 of the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) (.pdf) requires all agencies to manage permanent and temporary email records in an electronic format by December 31, 2016. To assist agencies in reaching this goal, we released Bulletin 2013-02 establishing the Capstone approach. Capstone allows agencies to manage and schedule email records based on the role or position of the email account owner. GRS 6.1 provides disposition authority for email records managed under a Capstone approach.
The GRS 6.1 schedule applies only to Federal agencies implementing a Capstone approach as described in this GRS. If an agency is implementing a Capstone approach but using a different disposition from what is provided in this GRS, the agency must submit a records schedule. The public can track, view, and download data on how agencies are choosing to manage their email on our Agency Email Management web page.
Before implementing GRS 6.1, agencies must fill out and submit a form NA-1005, Verification for Implementing GRS 6.1, to us and receive approval. The NA-1005 requires agencies to list their Capstone officials (roles and positions that create permanent emails records) and NARA vets them. Once the form has been approved, we make the information on the form available on Git Hub. Since the NA-1005 form is a PDF (static, closed document), NARA is making the information available on Git Hub to allow the public to search and download the data. This also is a commitment we made in the Third National Action Plan for Open Government (.pdf) last Fall.
We will offer The Case for Records Management: Issues for Federal Agency Counsel at Archives I in Washington, DC on June 1, 2016.
Legal professionals know when business-critical information is missing or inaccessible, an agency risks damage to its reputation, failure to perform its mission, and expensive litigation. This half-day briefing by National Archives and Records Administration legal and records management staffs will discuss issues related to discovery, records retention and legal holds, and electronic information.
Who should attend?
This briefing is targeted toward general counsel, inspectors general, attorneys and paralegals interested in the management of their own records and/or responsible for providing legal direction in Federal agencies regarding agency records management and litigation.
For those unable to attend, we have a recorded version of a previous briefing available for viewing. Click here.
Location: Archives I, Washington, DC
Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Length: 1/2 Day 9:00AM – 12:00 Noon
Space is limited. Register by clicking here
Laurence Brewer, new Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Laurence Brewer as the new Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government effective May 1, 2016. Laurence has been acting in this role since Paul Wester’s departure in October 2015.
Since joining NARA in 1999, Laurence has held a number of positions in our records management program working directly with Federal agencies to improve records management government-wide. He began his career as an appraisal archivist, then served as an electronic records policy analyst.
More recently, Laurence has held management positions in records management as the Director of the Records Management Operations Program. In this position, Laurence was responsible for overseeing the scheduling and appraisal of Federal records; developing records management regulations and guidance; supporting records management training for employees across the Federal Government; and evaluating the effectiveness of records management programs in agencies.
Prior to joining NARA in 1999, Laurence was a records management consultant responsible for managing records management programs at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Transportation. He has more than 25 years of experience in records and information management and earned his Certified Records Manager designation in 1998. In March, Laurence completed the Partnership for Public Service’s Excellence in Government Fellows Program, which focuses on developing leadership skills. He holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia, and a B.A. in Government from the College of William and Mary.
In his new position as Chief Records Officer, Laurence will work with the Executive for Agency Services, the Office of the Chief Records Officer, and Federal agency officials to build upon our accomplishments in records management and promote the goals of the OMB/NARA Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18).
Please join us in congratulating Laurence on his new appointment.
In the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Flexible Scheduling, NARA states that agencies must create a crosswalk when preparing records schedules with big bucket schedule items. We are now providing a crosswalk template and instructions (see the last link on the page) that agencies may use for this purpose. Agencies are not required to use the template, although it is recommended as it does include the minimum requirements identified in the FAQ.
If you have any questions, please contact your agency’s assigned appraisal archivist.
We are pleased to announce the publication of the Criteria for Managing Email Records in Compliance with the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18).
The criteria was developed to provide clarification of the existing requirements directly related to email management. It is a synthesis of the statutory, regulatory, and NARA guidance requirements. Agencies should use this guidance internally to evaluate their progress towards meeting Directive Goal 1.2 to manage email in electronic format.
NARA has defined successful email management as having policies and systems in place to ensure that email records can be used, accessed, and have the appropriate disposition applied. These success criteria reflect the complex challenges that agencies face in managing email. NARA recognizes that agencies may be stronger in some aspects of email management than others. Organizational complexity, schedule development, budgetary or procurement constraints may affect each agency’s ability to meet specific criteria. NARA also recognizes that managing email records effectively, and in compliance with the Directive Goal 1.2, does not end on December 31, 2016. For many agencies, full implementation of the success criteria for email management is an ongoing process that continues beyond this calendar year.
A briefing on this guidance will be delivered at the June 14 BRIDG meeting. Further information about this meeting will be posted here soon. Please leave any questions and comments you may have.
We are pleased to announce that we have submitted proposed rules affecting records management regulations to the Office of the Federal Register. We are proposing these regulation changes to reflect the Managing Government Records Directive and updates to the Federal Records Act. We also want to account for changes in technology, practice, and NARA’s organization structure.
The specific 36 CFR Chapter XII Subchapter B regulations proposed for revision are:
- Part 1223, Managing Vital Records;
- Part 1224, Records Disposition Programs;
- Part 1227, General Records Schedules;
- Part 1229, Emergency Authorization to Destroy Records;
- Part 1232, Transfer of Records to Records Storage Facilities;
- Part 1233, Transfer, Use, and Disposition of Records in a NARA Federal Records Center; and
- Part 1239, Program assistance and Inspections.
We invite you to access the Notice For Proposed Rulemaking on regulations.gov to review these proposed changes. They will be available for comment through May 9, 2016. Comments should be made through the comment process on regulations.gov.