“It is the responsibility of all contractors and Federal employees that create or receive recorded information which contributes to the missions of an agency to preserve those records in accordance with approved record schedules.”
Records are the memory of organizations such as Federal agencies. In today’s nearly all-digital work environment, most Federal agencies are saddled with a large number of electronic records (email, video, voicemail, etc.) and some physical records that they must properly organize and store. Not all records are created equal—records designated as permanent are kept “for the life of the republic”—while temporary records are destroyed after their fiscal, legal, and/or administrative use is up. There are rules and regulations that outline how records should be managed and every Federal agency should have an approach to managing records that meets their unique needs. Your agency may be missing an opportunity to streamline processes and may even be at risk of lawsuits if it lacks a detailed plan for managing its records.
Records Management aims to manage records across their entire lifecycle (creation or receipt, maintenance and use, disposition) with the goal of:
- Promoting effective file maintenance practices;
- Preserving records of continuing value;
- Removing noncurrent paper records from office space to less expensive storage facilities through either physical transport, or conversion to an electronic format; and
- Destroying records (both paper and electronic) of temporary value as soon as they have served the purpose for which they were created and are eligible for destruction.
Rules and regulations for Federal records management are covered by the Federal Records Act, which dictates that agencies must create a records management office to manage the records of the agency. Agencies create records schedules to provide mandatory instructions on how to treat records when they are no longer needed for current government business. Once a record becomes inactive, obsolete, or is superseded, a records schedule provides instructions on how to handle that record (the disposition). It is the responsibility of all contractors and Federal employees that create or receive recorded information which contributes to the missions of an agency to preserve those records in accordance with approved record schedules.
Getting Started with Federal Records Management
Management Strategies has supported several Federal records management initiatives. Our typical Federal records management support project begins with a kick-off meeting with the appropriate Federal personnel to outline goals of the effort and lay out a high-level project schedule. It is imperative in these engagements to work with the Federal personnel who have been given authority to manage records and the personnel who are producing the records that must be managed. Once we have outlined our proposed approach, we need to identify where records are stored so that we can perform a records inventory. We will work to map the inventory to existing records schedules, create a file plan to serve as a quick reference and begin the process of creating and managing a folder structure in accordance with established processes to help facilitate better records management practices moving forward.
How Our Work Supports Federal Records Management Initiatives
Management Strategies is proud to support Federal records management efforts across several Federal organizations including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. If you are interested in learning more about how we can support your organization with records management, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.