Not all the work associated with the Managing Government Records Directive is occurring here in the Office of the Chief Records Officer. While all agencies are working towards the main goals, the Directive also charges specific agencies to carry out actions. One of these agencies is the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). They are working on meeting action item B3, the establishment of a formal records management job series.
Last month, OPM held the last of three focus groups. The focus groups provided an opportunity for agency subject matter experts to discuss their current experiences classifying this type of work in their agencies. OPM was specifically interested in the duties and responsibilities appropriate for records management positions and how this work is performed throughout the Federal government.
Paul Wester, Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, attended the last session and said he was glad that he went. He said, “The meeting gave me, and several participants from other agencies, the opportunity to make more clear how records management work is now really highly analytic, high profile, somewhat technical activity that is more about information management and access – not just getting boxes out of offices and performing disposition.” Further, Paul said “we talked about how records management is part of the larger information management practice that is integral to agencies’ missions on a day-to-day basis – not just the housekeeping or administrative functions. We were particularly effective in talking about how records management actually makes things like FOIA and privacy work more effectively – not the other way around.”
Earlier efforts to define a Federal records management job series included the administration of FOIA and the Privacy Act. However, a decision was made to separate records management from those distinct functions. In March 2012, OPM released a position classification for a new job series called the Government Information Series, 0306 – which focuses on an agency’s specific work on FOIA and the Privacy Act. The effort for this year will address the related, but broader, records management occupation series.
OPM reported that a total of 41 participants attended the focus groups. They have begun the next phase of analyzing the input from the focus groups and reviewing the substantial, accumulated data as they work toward determining the approach to be used in establishing the series. We will continue to provide updates on this important work as the process moves forward.
Thanks to everyone who attended the focus group meetings or provided information to OPM and NARA about their agency’s records management positions.