Federal Records Management

BRIDG 01/15/04

January 15, 2004

Speakers:     Lewis J. Bellardo, Deputy Archivist
Nancy Allard, Policy and Communication Staff
Steve Cooper, Life Cycle Management Division
David Langbart, Life Cycle Management Division
Susan Cummings, Modern Records Program
Larry Baume, Life Cycle Management Division
Paul Wester, Life Cycle Management Division

Draft position description for Chief Records Officer or Director, Records Management Program

This position description includes elements that NARA believes are important for a records management officer. The draft is based on several SES-level descriptions already in use by Federal agencies. It does not include recommendations on organizational placement or a specific job series. When finalized, the model position description will be posted on NARA's web site.

Regulatory framework

NARA usually begins its rule-makings on records management with publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. For the regulatory framework, we are inviting comment at an earlier point. We will be publishing an advance notice of proposed rule making that generally describes how we plan to organize the revised regulations, and will be inviting comments on our plans. This will be the first step in a lengthy process as we revise the regulations in a series of proposed rules.

The intent of the revisions is to make the NARA regulations more user-friendly and easier to find what you need. Most noticeable is our plan to break the current Part 1228 into several smaller parts. The regulatory framework will follow the life cycle of records, from general to specific, and incorporate new elements such as the ISO RM Standard 15489 and changes resulting from the Records Management Initiatives (RMI) and ERM Initiative guidance.

Training and certification update

NARA training classes are being revised to include Records Management Initiative (RMI) principles, ISO 15489 information, and updates on RMI-related projects such as flexible scheduling and the expanded GRS. We are working with a contractor and the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Go Learn program to update course content, incorporate adult-learning principles, and build a distance learning component. Training will include building skills of NARA staff who will teach the new classes.

NARA certification (small "c") is entirely voluntary. It acknowledges that the participant has taken the required modules and successfully completed a test on the material. At this time, approximately 60 modules are anticipated in 6 core areas: introductory material, creating and maintaining records, scheduling records, implementing a records schedule, asset management, and developing a records management program. Modules will vary in length and may be combined in various ways. The intent is to have the revised training and certification of completion of training program up and running in FY05.

Agency assurances

An important component of records scheduling and appraisal is the assurance that dispositions adequately protect legal rights, and provide government accountability.

In response to comments received from earlier BRIDG meetings and other discussions, NARA has developed proposed options for Records officers to supply assurances that schedules reflect business needs, legal requirements, and an assessment of risks.

Media Neutral Schedules

Media neutral schedules will better support the business needs of Federal agencies while ensuring adequate and proper documentation for Federal activities. They can reduce the overall appraisal burden while ensuring that records are kept long enough to protect rights and assure accountability, and that records of archival value are preserved and made available for future generations. It is important to note that this discussion is limited to changes in media and new schedules must always be submitted where there are substantive changes in the content or function of records on a previously approved schedule.