Federal Records Management

NWM 10.2011

March 2, 2011

MEMORANDUM TO FEDERAL AGENCY CONTACTS: NARA's 2010 Records Management Self-Assessment Report

I am pleased to announce the publication of NARA's Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA) report for FY 2010. It is now available on our web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/pdf/rm-self-assessmemt.pdf.

Every year beginning in May, NARA requires all Federal agencies to conduct and submit to NARA an annual records management self-assessment (RMSA). The goal of the self-assessment is to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements. In FY 2010, 270 agencies received the self-assessment and 251 responded, for a response rate of 93 percent.

The responses indicate that 95 percent of Federal agencies are at high to moderate levels of non-compliance with statutory and regulatory records management requirements, which leads to a risk of compromising the integrity, authenticity, and reliability of their records. They risk improper management and disposition of records or, in some cases, they are saving their records but not taking the necessary steps to ensure that they can be retrieved, read, or interpreted.

NARA believes the RMSA serves as a baseline for evaluating records management within the Federal Government and provides a roadmap for its future. Agencies can use RMSA data to assess and improve their own programs. NARA will use the results to inform the selection of future targeted agency inspections. Taken together, the data gleaned from the RMSAs and inspections will allow NARA and the Federal records management community to assess the effectiveness of current records management practices and develop strategies for improving the compliance of programs in Federal agencies.

The Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, in commenting about the report said: "Non-compliant records management undermines the ability of Federal agencies to efficiently conduct their business; undermines Government accountability and citizens' rights and interests; and jeopardizes the historical record. This is unacceptable to NARA as the institution charged with safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government. It is also unacceptable to everyone interested in effective records management, from Federal Records Officers, to researchers, and to members of the public."

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/.

Modern Records Programs