2010 Records Management Self-Assessment Report Released

The 2010 Records Management Self-Assessment Report has been released and is now available on our website (.pdf). Recall that in May 2010, we issued the mandatory annual records management self-assessment (RMSA) to Federal agencies. This followed the pilot self-assessment that was completed in 2009. The goal of the self-assessment is to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements. Of the 270 agencies that received the self-assessment, 93 percent (251) responded.

The responses indicate that 95 percent of those Federal agencies that responded are at high to moderate risk of compromising the integrity, authenticity, and reliability of their records. They risk improper management and disposition of records or, in some cases, they are saving their records but not taking the necessary steps to ensure that they can be retrieved, read, or interpreted. We believe that the RMSA serves as a baseline for evaluating records management within the Federal Government and provides a roadmap for its future. Agencies can use RMSA data to chart their own programs. NARA will use survey results in agency inspections. Taken together, data gleaned from the RMSAs and inspections will allow NARA and the Federal records management community to continue to assess the effectiveness of current records management practices and develop strategies for improving the compliance of programs in Federal agencies

“Non-compliant records management undermines the ability of Federal agencies to efficiently conduct their business; undermines Government accountability and citizens’ rights and interests; and jeopardizes the historical record,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “This is unacceptable to the National Archives as the institution charged with safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government. It is also unacceptable to everyone interested in effective records management, from Federal Records Officers, to researchers, and to members of the public.”

NARA has the authority to inspect the records management programs and practices of Federal agencies under 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906. NARA evaluates agencies for compliance with requirements stated in 44 U.S.C. Chapters 31 and 33 and the regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) – specifically Subchapter B – Records Management of 36 CFR Chapter XII.

The report may be downloaded from our website as a .pdf from: http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/pdf/rm-self-assessmemt.pdf

Also keep reading this blog for information about the upcoming 2011 Self-Assessment Report. We will post updates on the timing and more information about that report later this Spring. In the meantime, what are your reactions to the 2010 report or what do you want us to ask about in the 2011 report?