Presidential Memo Demands Improved Records Management

A memo released by the office of the President of the United States has caused a big stir in the document imaging and records management industries.

The memo calls on executive departments and agencies to reduce costs and operate more efficiently by improving their records management. It points out that when records are managed efficiently, agencies can use them to analyze a programs impact, reduce redundant efforts among agencies, save money and allow for the accessibility of shared knowledge across their organizations.

“Proper records management is the backbone of open Government”, was the overall theme of the document.

The head of each agency is going to be busy over the next several months. Each head will have to make records management a priority. Within 30 days, they will have to submit a senior agency official to supervise a written review of their efforts to the Archivist of the United States. Before March 2012, they will have to submit a report that details the agency’s current plans for improving or maintaining its records management program. There will be a keen emphasis on managing electronic records, including email and social media.

Once the reports are submitted, the fun is far from over. 120 days later, they will receive directives that require agency heads to take specific steps to reform and improve records management policies and practices within their agency. The main directives will be to create a government-wide records management framework, increase public access to government records and to transition from paper-based records management to electronic records management where possible.

We can conclude that the federal government is serious about taking steps to improve records management although nothing was mentioned in this memo about funding these initiatives other than through cost savings through reducing inefficiencies. You can view a copy of the memo here..