Records Managers

AC 18.2012

May 8, 2012

MEMORANDUM TO FEDERAL AGENCY CONTACTS: Annual NARA Records Management Self-Assessment

On Monday, June 4, 2012, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will issue its annual Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA) to Federal agency records officers. The questionnaire is derived from Federal records management regulations in 36 CFR Chapter XII, Subchapter B and NARA guidance.

Under 44 USC 2904(c) the Archivist has the authority and responsibility to conduct research to improve records management practices and programs, to inspect agency records management programs and practices, and report the results of these activities to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and to Congress. This self-assessment is designed to help NARA fulfill its oversight responsibilities by evaluating Federal records management programs and identifying areas of weakness that are placing Federal records at serious risk. As agency records officers, you can use the self-assessment to help your program determine areas for improvement.

Completion and submission of the self-assessment is mandatory. As your agency's primary records management contact, you have been designated to receive the self-assessment for your agency. If you are not the correct point-of-contact for this response, please notify us no later than May 11, 2012, so that we may update this information.

On Monday, May 21, we will send you a "RM Communications" e-mail with official notice of the self-assessment, an explanation of the process and timeline for completing it, and instructions for submitting the required documentation for our verification processes. We will also send an advance copy of the questions to help you gather data for your responses.

On Monday, June 4, we will open the survey and send you the link to go to our online service provider to enter your agency's data. For security reasons, this link cannot be forwarded to other individuals for response, so it is imperative that we have the correct point-of-contact. You will have until Friday, June 29, to enter your data. The link will become non-operational at that time, and we will be unable to accept submissions through the online system after June 29. However, please note that you will be able to request changes to your response through cob Friday, July 13, two weeks after the online system is closed. Any changes must be sent to . We will not accept any changes after July 13.

This year's self-assessment contains fewer questions than in 2011. There are no special focus questions this year. The majority of the questions are core questions that NARA developed for the FY 2011 self-assessment. These are questions that enable agencies to chart their progress over time.

Finally, following GAO recommendations and our own guidance, we will verify agencies' responses to a specific set of questions. We are therefore requiring that agencies submit documentation to support your answers to these questions. Guidance on submitting the documentation is attached to this message.

After the survey is closed and we have gone through the initial review processes, we may request supplemental documentation if we feel it is necessary. We may also contact you to schedule follow up interviews. This year, we will indicate in your agency's individual report, and in our comprehensive report, whether we were able to verify your answers based on the documentation you submitted and any follow-up interviews.

The results of the self-assessment will be reported in NARA's annual performance and accountability report. We will also use our findings as a basis for recommending agencies for an inspection of their recordkeeping practices, per 44 USC 2904(c) and 36 CFR 1239.

Please contact Stephanie Fawcett in the Records Management Oversight Section (ACPO) if you have questions. She can be reached at stephanie.fawcett@nara.gov or 781-663-0124.

PAUL M. WESTER, JR.
Chief Records Officer for the
U.S. Government

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