This post was written by the RMSA team
The Records Management Self Assessment 2012 (RMSA) is here! This morning, Monday, June 4, NARA opened the survey tool for the 2012 RMSA. We sent the link in an “RM Communications” e-mail to agency records officers — so if you’re reading this, and if you did not receive this link and you think you should have, please let us know as soon as possible! Or if you think you received this communication in error (if you are not your agency’s records officer or designated point-of-contact for the RMSA) let us know as well. For security reasons, the survey link cannot be forwarded to other individuals for response, so we must have the correct point-of-contact information for your agency. E-mail the NARA self-assessment team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about your role in the RMSA.
The survey will be available until 11.59 p.m. EDT Friday, June 29. As of midnight, the online survey tool will shut down. However, agencies will be able to request changes to their responses through COB Friday, July 13. Agencies may submit changes during this two-week period directly to email@example.com. We will be unable to accept any changes after July 13.
Why respond to the RMSA? The RMSA is an annual, GAO-mandated exercise designed to help agencies assess compliance with Federal records management requirements.
The questionnaire and instructions for the RMSA are derived from Federal records management regulations (36 CFR Chapter XII, Subchapter B) and NARA guidance. This year the questionnaire is shorter! We do not have special focus topics as we did in previous RMSAs; instead we included mainly what we call our “core questions”, covering basic records management principles, that are repeatable with small changes in each annual survey. We believe that this year’s RMSA will give agencies a baseline score that agencies can use to chart progress over time.
This year, as in 2010 and 2011, we will verify agencies’ responses to specific questions. Agencies will be required to submit documentation to support their answers, and we will evaluate the materials we receive against checklists and criteria derived from the regulations and NARA guidance. These documents must be in PDF, MS Word, or Excel formats only (no web links, please!). The survey tool provides specific instructions on submitting these materials. We also sent instructions (and an advance copy of the questionnaire) to records officers on May 24.
As part of the verification process, we may request additional materials or contact you for more information.
Similar to RMSA 2011, after we have assessed all the data we will issue individual reports to agencies. We will also prepare a comprehensive report for publication later in FY 2013. We will include a section on the validation process, in which we will state whether we were able to verify each agency’s answers to the related questions based on the submitted documentation and any followup activities.
The results of the self-assessment will be reported in NARA’s annual performance and accountability report. We will also use our findings as one possible criteria for recommending agencies for an inspection of their recordkeeping practices, per 44 USC 2904(c) and 36 CFR 1239. Agency responses to questions in this assessment could be subject to public release pursuant to FOIA. However, we will not release responses to questions that contain detailed descriptions of agency activities and other requested internal documentation.