Update on Backlog Schedules

This message was also distributed as AC 04.2013.

From May 7 – July 6, 2012, the Appraisal Teams within Records Management Services (ACNR) conducted a 60-day initiative to complete processing of agency-submitted records schedules in the appraisal backlog. Backlog schedules are defined as those that are at least two years old, and as of October 1st, have an FY 2010 or older registration date.

During the 60-day focus, appraisers reviewed all backlog schedules and took actions to move them forward as rapidly as possible for approval.  Assistance from agencies enabled us to complete many of the schedules on the backlog, as well as move forward more recent submissions.  By the end of FY 2012 the Appraisal Teams reduced the number of backlog schedules on hand by 84%, just shy of our goal.  We were also able to get an early start on FY 2010 schedules which became backlog jobs at the start of this fiscal year.  Our backlog for FY 2013 is less than half of the FY 2012 backlog.  A recap of the project results (link is .pdf of slides) was presented at the October 17 BRIDG meeting.

As part of our effort, we collected data and lessons learned which will be used to improve our process for completing future records schedules in a more timely fashion. One of the more significant lessons learned is a need to better enforce the requirements for record schedules found in 36 CFR and better enforcement of our own Standard Operating Procedures.  We created a checklist for agencies (link is .pdf) to use when reviewing records schedules for submission to NARA.  As specified in the Presidential Records Management Directive, (link is .pdf) we will be looking reevaluating the appraisal process for clearly temporary records.

We appreciate agency cooperation in this ongoing effort to reduce the amount of time it takes to process records schedules, whether they are recently submitted or in the appraisal backlog. We believe this initiative was an important project that supported the NARA transformational pillar to become a customer-focused organization. We will continue to prioritize backlog schedules while continuing to work on other schedules that are already in progress or others that agencies identify as high priority. In working towards that goal, we are committed to being responsive to records management needs within agencies and look forward to working with them on completing actions on all submitted records schedules.

If you have any questions about your agency’s backlog schedules or need a copy of the checklist, please contact your Appraisal Archivist. A list of Appraisal Archivists can be found at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/work-group-all.html. For overall questions about the initiative, please contact Margaret Hawkins, Director of Records Management Services, at (301) 837-1799, or by e-mail at margaret.hawkins@nara.gov.