NARA Assesses Federal Agency Records Management Compliance

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently transmitted to Congress

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a report entitled: “Records Management Self-Assessment 2009: An Assessment of Records Management Programs in the Federal Government.”

In September 2009, NARA issued a mandatory records management self-assessment to 245 Federal cabinet-level agencies and their components, and independent agencies. The goal of the initial self-assessment was to gather data to determine how effective Federal agencies are in meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements for records management.

Ninety-one percent of agencies responded to the self-assessment; 21 agencies did not. The responses indicate that 21 percent of Federal records management programs are at low risk of improper disposition of records. However, the National Archives found that 79% of agencies are at either a High (36%) or Moderate (43%) risk of improper destruction of records. These findings indicate that Federal agencies are falling short in carrying out their records management responsibilities, particularly regarding the exponential use and growth of electronic records.