Federal Records Management

Review of Agency Functions and Recordkeeping Requirements and Practices


The process of developing a comprehensive records schedule for an agency begins with a review of the agency's functions and its recordkeeping requirements and practices.  A careful review of the agency's functions and its recordkeeping requirements and practices helps lay the groundwork for inventorying and other steps needed to schedule records.

Agency Functions

Before the inventory begins, it is necessary to review the agency's functions as reflected in its program responsibilities, structure, and levels of authority. Doing this involves examining pertinent documents, such as laws, regulations, organization charts, and functional statements, and consulting with program managers, information technology managers, and records personnel. This process is essential in identifying and locating important records within the agency. The following questions should be answered:

  • Which are the key line and staff offices?
  • What programs does the agency have?
  • What units are responsible for developing policies?
  • What is the nature of staff support activities?  Legal?  Fiscal and budgetary?  Inspection?  General management?  Administrative services?

Agency Recordkeeping Requirements and Practices
It is also important to review the agency's recordkeeping requirements and practices. The following questions need to be answered:

  • What are the agency's recordkeeping requirements?
  • Have recordkeeping requirements been established for all electronic records systems and for all audiovisual and cartographic records?
  • Is there a prescribed agency-wide records maintenance system?  If so, how widely is it used?  If not, what systems are used?
  • Is there a prescribed classification system for general correspondence?  If so, is it numeric, subject-numeric, or some other system?
  • Is there a central file?  A uniform indexing system?  Does each operate as planned?  At what levels?  What records are not included?  Where are records likely to be that relate to important agency programs?
  • What agency policy and procedures, if any, govern vital records, adequacy of documentation, personal papers of officials, and Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act concerns?

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