Managing Government Records Directive: What it Means for You

By Pam Barker posted 08-28-2012 14:54


Written by Rachel Theran, Director Solution Markerting, Iron Mountain   

On Friday, August 24th, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of the White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the “Managing Government Records Directive”.  This was the follow up from the Federal Memorandum on Records Management from November 28, 2011.

The Directive is organized into two parts.  Part one outlines the goals of the Directive, while part two talks about the means to get there. The goals are two-fold: First to transition federal agencies towards a digital government, and second, to build a new infrastructure to help manage compliance with Federal Records Management Statutes and Regulations.

The OMB and NARA are taking great steps in the right direction.  First and foremost, they have placed openness, transparency, and accountability at the core of the directive.  Secondly, they are aiming towards rule simplification, and establishing a structure wherein the federal agency can be more self-sufficient in their records management moving forward.

The dates set forth represent an aggressive timeframe.  Developing a new governing structure and new norms takes time, patience, and coordination.  Target dates in the directive extend out to 2019, when “all permanent electronic records in Federal agencies will be managed electronically to the fullest extent possible for eventual transfer and accessioning by NARA in an electronic format.”  There is a lot to accomplish during this timeframe, but the OMB and NARA have incorporated some key best practices from private industry including the appointment of a Senior Agency Official (SAO) for senior level accountability. In addition, they will partner with private industry leaders in IT, legal and records management to form an advisory group called a Community of Interest (COI) to address challenges.

So where does an agency start in meeting its goals for the Directive?  The first deadline is November 15th of this year, when each agency is required to appoint its respective SAO.  At that point, the necessary leadership and, therefore, accountability, will be in place to begin moving forward with next steps.  There are other check-in points along the way, but by August 24th 2013, each agency must report annually to OMB and NARA the status of its progress toward the directive goals.

It will not be an easy road for agencies, but assurance that the future of our federal records management is headed in the right direction and has support of the White House should help provide some inspiration for all of the hard work ahead.

What do you think? Is the timeline of deliverables one that can and will be met by federal agencies?

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