Federal records management report finds progress on email, encourages more work

Dateline: Washington.

Newswire: Oct. 2, 2017.

The National Archives and Records Administration’s annual report on federal records management found improvements across the board in federal agencies’ management of electronic records but said more work must be done.

“The data received this year by federal agencies shows progress towards improving records management and strengthening electronic records and email management throughout the federal government,” the report’s summary said. “Overall records management programs continue to improve through active involvement in information management processes and decisions, enhanced policies and directives, and increased awareness and outreach programs.”

David Ferriero, the U.S. Archivist said that “the great majority” of agencies report that they have met or will meet the goals outlined in an Obama administration directive regarding email management. Ferriero said that meeting email management compliance is a “critical milestone to improving records management throughout the federal government.”

The report focuses on email management and includes a separate report on that, as well as a separate report on Senior Agency Officials for Records Management (SAORM). The SAORM report found 78 percent of agencies managing all email in an electronic format, and 98 percent of them are “optimistic” about managing permanent electronic records in an electronic format by Dec. 31, 2019.

In the email managemenr report, agencies were asked to self assess their email policies for their level of risk on a scale from one to four, with four being the highest. A 48 percent plurality rated themselves at level three of four. Another 24 percent went all the way to four out of four.

And a Records Management Self-Assessment continued to find improvement in records management and decreases in policy risk since 2012. Organizations with high email management risks dropped to 12 percent, another all time low, while agencies with low risk were the plurality for the first time, at 45 percent.

“Through the RMSA, agencies have become increasingly familiar with how to comply with federal records management regulations and have made improvements to their programs accordingly,” the annual report said.

A summary of the report, by Federal News Radio, can be read here.

The full report is here.