Records Management Guidance for the Presidential Transition

As we have passed election day, the Federal Government is now in transition mode. The inauguration of a new President means not only a new administration in the White House, but also new senior staff across the Federal Government.

During this time of change, we will work with Federal agencies to ensure both incoming and outgoing political appointees are trained in their records management responsibilities and are properly preserving their records. Managing records is a daily activity and requires constant training and attention throughout an employee’s Federal service.

To assist agencies with these efforts, we created several products to reflect changes in guidance since the last Presidential transition and new requirements codified in the 2014 amendments to the Federal Records Act:

Further, we delivered briefings on records management responsibilities to the Partnership for Public Service, the Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Management Roundtable, and agency records officers.

Earlier today, we released AC 09.2017: Guidance Relating to President-Elect Transition Team Materials. This memo states PETT materials are not Federal nor Presidential records, but are considered personal materials. However, transition briefing materials created by a Federal agency and agency communications with the PETT are Federal records. If a PETT member becomes an official of a Federal agency and incorporates the materials into agency working files, they become Federal or Presidential records depending on the entity they work for.

Records management takes on an increased importance during transitions. The ability to capture and share knowledge is paramount to ensuring a smooth transfer of power. Federal records protect the rights and interests of the public, hold officials accountable for their actions, and document our nation’s history. Our mission is to protect these records and make them available to the public. Sound records management at such critical times ensures today’s records will be available for future generations.