Records Managers

Strategic Directions: Advocacy


National Archives and Records Administration
Strategic Directions: Advocacy


September 2003

INTRODUCTION

This document outlines actions the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will take to raise the priority of records management, particularly electronic records management, across the Federal Government and in individual agencies using senior NARA leaders supported by mid-level NARA managers and staff.

The overall goal of these strategies is to demonstrate to agencies how an effective records management program supports each agency's mission and business needs.

WHAT IS ADVOCACY?

For the purposes of this paper, advocacy is defined as the strategic use of senior NARA leaders1 to raise NARA's profile and to increase awareness and understanding of records and information management issues across the Federal Government and in individual agencies. Senior level advocacy activities will work in concert with records management efforts carried out by mid-level NARA managers and staff in the Offices of Records Services-Washington DC and Regional Records Services2. By using a combination of high-level and mid-level approaches, NARA will help agencies understand how an effective records management program supports each agency's mission and business needs.

WHAT IS THE ADVOCACY MESSAGE?

The advocacy program's central message is inspired byNARA's mission and vision:

NARA will ensure ready access to essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience.

In support of our mission, the advocacy program promotes the goals of our Strategic Directions for Federal Records Management (Strategic Directions). The three central tenets of Strategic Directions state that NARA will partner with stakeholders to ensure that:

  1. Federal agencies can economically and effectively create and manage their records to meet business needs;
  2. Records are kept long enough to protect rights, assure accountability; and
  3. Records of archival value are preserved and made available for future generations.

WHAT ARE THE DESIRED RESULTS OF THE ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES?

The result of all advocacy activities will be:

  • Increased senior level awareness of the importance of records management, particularly electronic records management, across the Federal Government and in individual agencies.
  • Increased senior level understanding of how effective records management programs support the business needs of individual agencies and the Federal Government as a whole.

WHAT IS THE ADVOCACY PROGRAM STRATEGY?

The advocacy program strategy is to carry out a series of specific outreach activities that stress the importance of effective records management across the Federal Government and in individual agencies, with an emphasis on electronic records management. NARA will determine how to deploy advocacy resources according to a resource allocation methodology based in risk analysis. The risk analysis accounts for the citizen rights, government accountability, and the documentation of the nation's history.3 In addition to emphasizing Records Management Initiative (RMI) principles4 , the activities in the advocacy program are supported by law, NARA regulation, and guidance.

Senior NARA leaders will:

  1. Brief senior agency officials and program leaders on the importance of records and information management in support of their agency's specific business needs.
  2. Brief senior agency officials and program leaders on specific topical records management issues that the senior agency program officials are interested in (e.g., electronic recordkeeping requirements, litigation exposure, vital records, etc.).
  3. Identify and leverage the interest of senior agency officials and program or political leaders in records management across the Federal Government.
  4. Participate in high-level, inter-agency groups where records and information management issues are the central focus (e.g., CIO Council, Inspector General and General Counsel forums, OMB activities).
  5. Provide public recognition of an agency's, or a group of agencies', records or information management achievements.
  6. Seek out major speaking engagements at events where they can speak about the importance of effective records management, particularly electronic recordkeeping, in support of agencies' missions.
  7. Participate in establishing and/or closing out Targeted Assistance agreements when senior-level visibility and support is appropriate.
  8. Provide public reports to OMB and Congressional oversight committees on records management achievements, challenges, or problems across the Federal Government or in specific agencies.5

In support of NARA's senior leadership, mid-level NARA managers and staff will:

  1. Identify and develop general opportunities for the use of senior NARA leaders to further NARA's records management objectives across the Federal Government and in individual agencies.
  2. Identify and develop background information on specific topical records management issues that NARA leaders can address for senior agency officials and program leaders across the Federal Government and in specific agencies (e.g., electronic recordkeeping requirements, litigation exposure, vital records, etc.).
  3. Identify outreach opportunities that will give NARA and its senior leaders positive exposure in the records management community and raise awareness of the importance of effective records management in the Federal Government.
  4. Enhance the NARA records management web site to include outreach to leaders across the Federal Government and electronic records management issues.
  5. Bring records management issues to the attention of NARA senior leaders who participate in high-level, inter-agency groups where records and information management issues are the central focus.
  6. Arrange for the participation of senior NARA leaders in establishing and/or closing out Targeted Assistance agreements when senior-level visibility and support is appropriate.

WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES WILL NARA CONSIDER THAT WILL HELP RAISE SENIOR LEADERSHIP AWARENESS OF RECORDS MANAGEMENT ACROSS THE GOVERNMENT?

  1. Special events where senior NARA leaders can emphasize the importance of an agency's records with a tie-in to effective records management (e.g., exhibits from NARA's textual holdings and public demonstrations of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) tests or initial deployments).
  2. Feature articles in major trade and general publications and other media outlets where senior NARA leaders discuss the benefits and importance of effective records management programs in the Federal Government.
  3. NARA-supported and/or NARA-sponsored conferences, expositions, forums, and venues where senior NARA leaders (and mid-level managers and staff) can promote records management across the Federal Government or in specific agencies.
  4. Periodic newsletter aimed at senior program leaders in agencies, focused on records management achievements, challenges, and problems across the Federal Government and in specific agencies.

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1 For this paper, senior NARA leaders are defined as the Archivist and Deputy Archivist of the United States; the Assistant Archivists for Records Services - Washington, DC, for Regional Records Services, and for Human Resources and Information Services; Deputy Assistant Archivist for Records Services—Washington, DC; Director of the Modern Records Program; Director of Congressional and Public Affairs Staff; General Counsel; and Director of the Policy and Communications Staff.

2 For this paper, mid-level NARA managers are defined as the Director, Supervisors, and Work Group Leaders in the Life Cycle Management Division; the Directors of other Modern Records Program divisions ; the Director of Operations in the Office of Regional Records Services; and the Regional Administrators, Assistant Regional Administrators, and Records Management Program Directors in the Office of Regional Records Services.

3 Most advocacy activities, at least initially, will be conducted at the agency level or in broad government-wide settings. As the Office of Management and Budget's Business Reference Model is implemented and understood beyond the Federal budget and IT communities, and as NARA's approaches to records management become more functionally-based, advocacy opportunities will take a more functional form. This is consistent with the RMI's long-term approach to identifying risk and allocating resources along high-risk functional lines.

4 Individual projects and papers related to Strategic Directions are collectively referred to as the Records Management Initiative or RMI.

5 Work in this area will be supported by the evaluation/inspection portion of the RMI.

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