OMB: Records management directive coming

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A Nov. 28 presidential memorandum unveiled an Office of Management and Budget effort to reform records management, which will culminate in the issuance of a records management directive in summer 2012. In the near term, agencies are required to outline concrete archiving plans, according to the memo signed by President Obama.

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Cass Sunstein called the memo the "most important step in many decades" to improve federal records management, in a Nov. 28 post on the OMB blog.

"[The memo] begins a large-scale transformation in how we maintain the backbone of open government. It promises, at once, to save money, to increase accuracy, and to contribute knowledge and perspective to future generations," wrote Sunstein.

The guidance asks agency heads to ensure records management requirements are a priority for agency leadership, allocate resources for records management plan implementation and appoint a senior official by Dec. 28 to lead records management reviews.

By March 27, 2012 each agency must submit to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero and OMB Director Jacob Lew a report outlining the agency's current plans for improving or maintaining its records management program, including a plan for electronic records such as email and social media, and the possibility of using cloud-based services or storage solutions. The report must also identify any regulations or rules that pose an obstacle to the agency plan and identify policies and programs that would assist agency records management efforts, according to the memo.

From these agency reports, OMB, NARA and the associate attorney general will issue a records management directive by July 25, 2012, the memo says. They will also review potential policy updates for facilitating records management.

According to the memo, the directive will aim to create a governmentwide records management framework; promote consistent records management policies; encourage openness, accountability and legal compliance; and transition paper-based records to electronic records where feasible.

For more:
- see the White House memo
- see the OMB blog post

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