This Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm EDT we will be hosting a free, hour-long encore presentation and discussion about the recently issued Request for Disposition Authority Quality Control Checklist. There are a limited number of seats available for this presentation.
Recall that back in October, we wrote about the “backlog schedule” project. During that project, we collected data and lessons learned which are being 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 our own Standard Operating Procedures. We created a checklist based on these requirements to assist agencies when reviewing records schedules for submission to NARA. The checklist is available (as a .pdf) from this link.
Rachel Ban Tonkin, who currently serves as the supervisor for Records Management Services’ Appraisal Team 1, will be presenting this webinar. To register for this upcoming webinar, please visit: http://nara.ilinc.com/public
This webinar is a part of a series of free Webinars that NARA is offering to help Federal agencies meet the challenges of a complex and evolving records management environment. To receive more information regarding upcoming sessions, please send a request to email@example.com.
Today, the Public Interest Declassification Board released online its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. The full Report can be found at http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/recommendations/transforming-classification.html.
The report centers on the need for new policies for classifying information, new processes for declassifying information, and the imperative for using and integrating technology into these processes. In advance of today’s release, the Board publicized some of its recommendations on its blog Transforming Classification. A public release event took place earlier today at the National Archives to discuss the report with current Board members.
This is being reposted from Transforming Classification
The Public Interest Declassification Board will host an open meeting on Thursday, December 6, 2012 to discuss its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. The full Report to the President will be published online on December 6th at http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb. The meeting will focus on the Board’s fourteen recommendations. The recommendations center on the need for new policies for classifying information, new processes for declassifying information, and the imperative for using and integrating technology into these processes. Press and media are welcome to attend.
When: December 6, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Doors Open: 8:45 a.m.
Where: The Archivist’s Reception Room, Room 105 in the National Archives Building
Address: 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
(Note: Attendees must enter through the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.)
Space is limited and attendees must register via firstname.lastname@example.org; provide your name and professional affiliation (if applicable). You will receive a confirmation e-mail from the Public Interest Declassification Board staff confirming your reservation. Please note that one form of Government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license) is required to gain admittance.
In anticipation of the report’s release, today the Board will re-engage its followers by re-opening its blog, Transforming Classification, where it will post summaries of some of the key recommendations in the report. Be sure to stay connected to the Board’s activities and look for more information about the Board on its website: http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb.
Yesterday, we passed one of the first major milestones called for in the Managing Government Records Directive. David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, convened the first meeting of Senior Agency Officials.
This meeting brought together the agency-appointed Senior Agency Officials (SAO), agency record officers, and NARA staff for the first time. Over 100 people attended the meeting and heard remarks by Archivist Ferriero, Chief Records Officer for the Federal Government Paul Wester, and the head of the Project Management Office for the Directive, Preston Huff. In addition to reviewing the goals and milestones in the Directive, their remarks focused on important role the SAO plays in supporting individual records management programs in Federal agencies. Another important theme was engaging SAOs both within their agency and with our staff to improve records management policies and practices. After the presentations, a wide-ranging question-and-answer session, which included Director of Policy Analysis and Enforcement Donald Rosen, covered specific items of concerns such as the training and reporting requirements spelled out in the Directive.
Donald Rosen, Paul Wester, Preston Huff
Also, we should note that yesterday was also the anniversary of the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum that launched this process. While we have come a long way and accomplished much, there remains much work to do. We are looking forward to working with the SAOs across the Federal Government, as well as all of our stakeholders, to complete that work and improve records management across the Federal Government.
The first deadline in the Managing Government Records Directive that was released earlier this year is fast approaching. Agencies have two weeks to name their Senior Agency Official (SAO). Goal 2.1 of the Directive requires the designation of the SAO by November 15, 2012.
We have received many questions about this process and have compiled an FAQ to answer some of the more pressing issues:
1. What is the requirement for having a SAO?
The Presidential Memorandum – Managing Government Records dated November 28, 2011 required agencies to designate a Senior Agency Official (SAO) to oversee a review of their records management program. The Memorandum also required the development of a directive by OMB and NARA. The Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18), dated August 24, 2012, outlines the duties and responsibilities of the SAO.
2. Is the SAO required just for Executive Branch departments and independent agencies or does it also include agencies within the Judicial and Legislative Branches?
The Directive requires all Executive branch departments and agencies and independent agencies to designate a SAO. NARA recommends that Legislative and Judicial agencies that are governed by the Federal Records Act should designate a SAO as a good records management practice. If you have questions about whether your organization is required to designate a SAO, send an email to PRMD@nara.gov.
3. When is the due date for submitting the name of the designated SAO?
The Directive requires each agency to name its SAO by November 15, 2012 and to reaffirm annually.
4. Who should be the SAO for an agency?
The Directive states that the:
SAO is a senior official at the Assistant Secretary level or its equivalent who has direct responsibility for ensuring the department or agency efficiently and appropriately complies with all applicable records management statutes, regulations, NARA policy, and the requirements of the Directive.
The SAO must be located within the organization so as to make adjustments to agency practices, personnel, and funding as may be necessary to ensure compliance and support the business needs of the department or agency.
5. Can a department have more than one SAO designee?
Yes. Agencies must determine where to designate SAOs within the organization. For example, rather than designating a single SAO, a large department may determine that additional SAOs at the agency level are appropriate. Regardless of the approach, departments and their agencies should coordinate the selection of the SAO(s) and report the designations to NARA.
6. Can the Agency Records Officer also be the SAO?
No. The SAO and the records officer have different responsibilities to ensure the agency’s full compliance with records management statutes and regulations. The SAO and the Agency Records Officer should work collaboratively to have a fully successful program.
7. Can an agency change their SAO?
Yes. Agencies will reaffirm their SAO by November 15th of each year. However, agencies may designate a replacement SAO at any time. For example, a SAO designee may leave their position or the agency may determine another senior official is more appropriate.
8. How do we notify NARA of the agency designee for SAO?
Submit the following for your designee via email to PRMD@nara.gov.
• Name of SAO
• Position Title
• Office Telephone Number
• Email Address
9. Whom can I contact for more information?
If you have any questions, contact your appraisal archivist or send an email to PRMD@nara.gov. For more information, go to the Records Express blog.
You can download a .pdf version of this FAQ by visiting this link. Please let us know if you have any additional questions by leaving a comment here on this post.
As you know, Hurricane Sandy is significantly impacting the east coast of the United States this week. Federal agencies from Virginia through the New England states will be affected by high winds and heavy rains from this historic storm.
Depending on the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, it may be necessary for your agency to implement a records recovery operation. Water damage will likely be the major records recovery issue. For advice and assistance on records recovery operations please refer to: http://www.archives.gov/preservation/records-emergency/federal.html
There, you will find a template for contracting for records recovery services: http://www.archives.gov/preservation/disaster-response/contracting-emergency-records-recovery-template.pdf
You will also find a list of records recovery vendors. This list of vendors is provided by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for informational purposes. Inclusion on the list should not be viewed as an endorsement of the quality of the vendor’s services. http://www.archives.gov/preservation/disaster-response/vendors.html
NARA staff members are available to provide additional information and guidance. The following are points of contact for national records recovery and records management advice from NARA:
For advice on records recovery issues, please contact Doris Hamburg, NARA’s Director of the Preservation Programs Division on 301-837-1785 or via email at email@example.com or Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Chief of the Conservation Branch on 301-837-2906 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For advice and assistance on other records management issues arising from the storm, including to report on the emergency destruction of records under 36 CFR 1229.10 or the loss of records under 36 CFR 1230.14, please contact the appraisal archivist assigned to your agency. Please see a list of agency staff assignments and points of contact at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/index.html.
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 email@example.com.
Tomorrow is our first Bimonthly Records and Information Discussion Group (BRIDG) meeting for FY 2013. Registration for this meeting is now closed. However, we will be making BRIDG available via webcast.
The BRIDG meeting will run from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m, Eastern time. Items on the agenda include:
1) Records Scheduling Backlog Project – Margaret Hawkins, Director, Records Management Services, Officer of the Chief Records Officer. This presentation will include a summary of the activities undertaken by the Appraisal Teams in ACNR to reduce the records scheduling backlog in FY 2012. Ms. Hawkins will also discuss lessons learned and the approach to reviewing and processing records schedules for agencies going forward.
2) Restructuring the General Records Schedules. Andrea Riley, Supervisor, GRS Team, Records Management Services, Office of the Chief Records Officer will provide an overview of the GRS Team’s project to restructure the GRS, including the proposed plan and process.
3) FRC Facilities: Stephanie Hutchins, Lead Management Analyst, Storage Coordination and Logistics Branch, Federal Records Center Program will provide information on new facilities, compliance issues, and space challenges in the current Federal leasing environment.
Please visit this link to review the steps you will need to take to view the webcast.
If you are attending the meeting at the National Archives in Washington, DC, we will be providing free wi-fi to on-site participants in the McGowan Theater. We will also be monitoring questions from both the on-site and remote audiences through Twitter. If you would like to ask a question or make a comment, please use the #NARABRIDG hashtag.
This post comes from our General Records Schedule (GRS) Team.
Many have asked why the GRS update will take five years to complete. When asked this question at the September 2012 RACO meeting our Chief Records Officer’s response was: “It took a long time to get the GRS where it currently is and it’s going to take a long time to fix it.” About 80% of the GRS is 20 years old and more; one-third has not been updated in 40 to 60 years. A significant update is necessary to ensure that the GRS meets the Federal government’s needs in the 21st century.
The revision project isn’t a matter of updating a single schedule. The current GRS is made up of 25 chapters aligned by type of record. The plan for the new GRS involves the development of 46 new schedules based on work processes producing records. While the GRS Team will build upon the current GRS, each schedule must be built afresh from the ground up. We will reexamine old authorities to see if they are still relevant, investigate current business practices to identify new records series, and analyze all this information to create more comprehensive schedules. We are also committed to building new schedules on the bucket model wherever useful. It is not a small task. It’s comparable to an agency updating and revising its entire records manual after 20 years, but even more complicated: rather than looking at records in just one agency, we seek to accommodate all agencies.
We plan to involve agencies in the process and make use of their records management programs’ expertise, but it will take time to research and develop the schedules, obtain stakeholder review, and pursue appraisal. The appraisal and review process for GRS schedules is the same as for agencies schedules, but with this significant exception: GRS schedules usually have many more stakeholders. GRS schedules are reviewed by NARA staff, in some cases regulatory agencies, the public via the Federal Register process, and Federal agencies. Comments from all sources must be adjudicated. More often than not, schedule revisions are made.
Creating new GRS schedules is a time-intensive project. For years, GRS responsibility moved from one to another office or team within NARA’s records management function, but always as an ancillary duty. Now the Chief Records Officer has invested resources by forming a team whose primary responsibility is the GRS. The era of patchwork fixes—small victories punctuating a larger paralysis—is over. Good things are on the horizon…but well-done universal reconstruction will require an investment of time as well as talent. We think your patience with the process will be rewarded.
Our 24th annual Records Administration Conference, or RACO, held last week was a great success! The McGowan Theater was filled to near capacity and the live stream was viewed by well over one hundred users. Slides used during the presentations have been uploaded to our main RACO page. Congratulations again to our Archivist Achievement Award Winners: the Office of Privacy, Transparency, and Records at the Department of the Treasury; and the Records and Archives Management Division at the State Department.
The recording of the live stream is also still accessible on UStream. All you need is the password – RACO2012 – and you can watch the videos from the “Recent Videos” link below the player. The program is split into part 1 and part 2.
Next year will be our Silver Anniversary RACO as RACO turns 25! We welcome your thoughts and suggestions for how we should celebrate this milestone.