Records Managers

Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA)

Each year, NARA requires all Federal agencies to conduct and submit to NARA an annual records management self-assessment (RMSA). The goal of the self-assessment is to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements. In FY 2011, 247 agencies responded to the self-assessment, including all Cabinet-level agencies and those under the Executive Office of the President.

Our findings are similar to last year. The majority of Federal agencies records management programs scored in the high to moderate risk categories. Records disposition, training, compliance monitoring and the management of electronic records continue to be significant challenges for agencies.

NARA is pleased to report that a number of agencies either have, or are working on, guidance for managing records in social media and web 2.0 platforms as well as cloud computing environments. Agencies acknowledge the need to have performance metrics for their records management programs, and several have established sophisticated metrics that can serve as a model for others. Finally, agencies are increasingly using the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), NARA's strategic initiative to preserve and provide long-term access to the electronic records of the Federal Government, to transfer their permanent electronic records.

The work reflected in this report was accomplished prior to the issuance on November 28, 2011, of the Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records which requires each agency to designate a senior official to supervise an evaluation of the agency's records management program. Data from the RMSAs and agency submissions in response to Section 2(b) of the Presidential Memorandum, will give NARA a Government-wide base of information from which to develop the Records Management Directive later this summer.

NARA believes the RMSA serves as a baseline for evaluating records management within the Federal Government and provides a roadmap for its future. Agencies can use RMSA data to assess and improve their own programs. NARA will use the results to inform the selection of future targeted agency inspections. Taken together, the data gleaned from the RMSAs and inspections will allow NARA and the Federal records management community to assess the effectiveness of current records management practices and develop strategies for improving the compliance of programs in Federal agencies.

Previous Records Management Self-Assessment Reports

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