Federal Records Management

AC 16.2012

May 2, 2012

MEMORANDUM TO FEDERAL AGENCY CONTACTS: NARA’s 2011 Records Management Self-Assessment Report

I am pleased to announce the publication of NARA’s Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA) report for FY 2011. It is now available on our web site at

In May 2011, NARA issued the mandatory annual records management self-assessment to Federal agencies. The goal of the self-assessment is to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements. Of the 276 agencies that received the self-assessment, 247 responded, including all Cabinet-level agencies and those under the Executive Office of the President.

Our findings are similar to last year. The majority of Federal agencies records management programs scored in the high to moderate risk categories. Records disposition, training, compliance monitoring and the management of electronic records continue to be significant challenges for agencies.

I am pleased to report that a number of agencies either have, or are working on, guidance for managing records in social media and web 2.0 platforms as well as cloud computing environments. Agencies acknowledge the need to have performance metrics for their records management programs, and several have established sophisticated metrics that can serve as a model for others. Finally, agencies are increasingly using the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), NARA’s strategic initiative to preserve and provide long-term access to the electronic records of the Federal Government, to transfer their permanent electronic records.

Agencies can use RMSA data to chart their own programs. NARA uses the annual RMSA as a tool to monitor and oversee Federal records management programs.

The work reflected in this report was accomplished prior to the issuance on November 28, 2011, of the Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records which requires each agency to designate a senior official to supervise an evaluation of the agency’s records management program. Data from the RMSAs and agency submissions in response to Section 2(b) of the Presidential Memorandum, will give NARA a Government-wide base of information from which to develop the Records Management Directive later this summer.

If you have any questions about the report, please contact your appraiser who can provide any additional information you might need. If you do not know who your assigned appraiser is, you will find a list of the appraisal and scheduling work groups and regional contacts on the NARA website at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/index.html

Chief Records Officer for the
U. S. Government