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Transformation: What it Means For Our Customers

by on March 24, 2011


You have heard about it. You have seen the press release. You may even have read about it on the Archivist’s own blog. But really, what does it mean to our records management customers?

First of all, let’s go back to what was said in our internal report that recommended the changes to our organizational structure, A Charter For Change: Charting the Course.  You can access the report as .pdf here. During the writing of that report, we identified six transformational outcomes as the guiding force in developing our new organizational structure. They are:

  • One NARA: An agency with unified and coordinated services delivered to customers efficiently and effectively.
  • A Customer-focused Organization: An agency with structures and processes so staff can more effectively meet customer needs.
  • Out in Front: An agency that embraces the primacy of electronic information in all its work and positions itself as a leader and innovator in this area.
  • An Agency of Leaders: An agency that fosters a culture of leadership, not just as a position, but how each individual works proactively.
  • A Great Place to Work: An agency that trusts, empowers, and listens to all staff.
  • An Open NARA: An agency that opens organizational boundaries to learn from others, both inside and outside of NARA.

The Charter for Change is a bold way of positioning us to face the future. Simply, the ways we traditionally completed our work evolved in the 20th century when the format of most, if not all Federal records, was paper. In order for us to fulfill our mission in the 21st century, we need to reexamine our theories and practices to take advantage of the tools available. We need to develop the skill sets that will move us beyond our current capabilities, as we continue our basic job of preserving and making available the records of the Government.

The new Executive for Agency Services represents a unified approach to serving all of our customers, allowing agencies to strengthen communications with us across a broad range of issues. Our new Chief Records Officer will take a fresh look at issues like scheduling, sorting and storing the Federal government’s burgeoning production of electronic and physical records. Those appointments have been announced.

William J. (Jay) Bosanko serves as the Executive for Agency Services leading NARA’s efforts to service the records management needs of Federal agencies, and representing the public’s interest in the accountability and transparency of these records. Previously, Mr. Bosanko served as the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office.

Paul Wester serves as the first Chief Records Officer (CRO), leading and overseeing records management throughout the Federal government. His new position will focus on managing the vast array of Federal electronic records and evaluating the effectiveness of Federal records management policies and programs. The CRO will report to the Executive for Agency Services. As most of you know, Paul previously served as the Director of the Modern Records Program.

These are certainly exciting times. We will continue to use this blog to communicate updates about the ongoing work of the Transformation. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and we will respond.


Comments

Meredith Stewart March 24, 2011 at 9:00 am

Great post! One thing that would be great to see in the fresh look at scheduling is the input of public opinion in the process. I think it would be a great stride for open government if the whole scheduling process got an infusion of transparency, participation, and collaboration. Maybe we can work to get on the radar of historians, public interest groups, etc. so we get more valuable input into the process.

Meredith Stewart

Paul Wester April 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

Thanks for the comment! As approving dispositions for Federal agencies is an official rulemaking by AOTUS, NARA does provide opportunity for public input into the decision through the Federal Register. The process for how this CURRENTLY works is outlined at http://1.usa.gov/hK0lJk

There is clearly an need – and with new tools perhaps a better way – to provide increased access to this process.

In the meantime, those interested in records schedules should check out NARA’s records control schedule portal at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/rcs/

We now have a link for all recently approved schedules that are available online.

Thanks again – Paul

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