February 27, 2020

Federated Records Management Approach in Meeting the M-19-21 Directive

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The Federal Directive for M-12-18 deadline has arrived and a new directive was issued to extend requirements for agencies transitioning to electronic records.  The new directive, M-19-21 (Transition to Electronic Records), includes initiatives established with M-12-18 and expands on those requirements to eliminate paper records by 2022 

Here are a few of the core M-12-18 mandates: 

  • By 2016 Federal agencies will manage permanent and temporary emails records in an accessible electronic format. 
  • By 2019 – Federal agencies will manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format 

 The additional M-19-21 mandates include the following, in addition to the initiatives established with M-12-18: 

  • By 2019 – Federal agencies will manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format. 
  • By 2022 Federal agencies will manage all permanent records in an electronic format and with appropriate metadata 
  • By 2022 Federal agencies will manage all temporary records in an electronic format or store them in a commercial records storage facility. 
  • By 2022 NARA will no longer accept transfers of permanent or temporary records in analog formats and will accept records only in electronic format and with appropriate metadata. 
  • Federal agencies will maintain a robust records management programs that comply with Federal Records Act and its regulations 

The requirements within themselves can be overwhelming in addition to costs (funding) associated in order to achieve these goals. 

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the Universal Electronic Records Management Requirements to help identify high-level business needs for managing electronic records at federal agencies and to assist with evaluating vendor software to meet these requirements. 

Meeting Record Storage Requirements 

In order to meet the minimum storage requirements, agencies will need to review and assess their record management processes to ensure records are stored electronically.  Designated electronic record repositories must meet the minimum requirements set forth by Federal Directives (M-12-18 & M-19-21).  

The minimum storage requirements include: 

  • Manage Permanent Records in an electronic format with metadata (as required transfer requirements) 
  • Manage Temporary Records in an electronic format and store in a commercial record storage facility 

Other electronic repository areas to evaluate are: 

  • Security and User Access – controls on who can access and who handles administration 
  • Record File Format – ensuring electronic repositories store files in the correct format that is acceptable prior to the transfer to NARA 
  • If digitizing paper in order to meet the M-19-21 mandates, you must ensure you are scanning and storing those files in a document repository where they can be managed as records and support the facilitation to transfer files to the National Archives (NARA). 

 The NARA Universal Electronic Records Management (ERM) Requirements provide additional details and uses cases for storage requirements for assessing and evaluating record storage requirements. 

Meeting Records Management Requirements 

Agencies must review file plans and evaluate record repositories to ensure they meet minimum requirements set forth by Federal Directives: 

  • Federal agencies will maintain robust records management programs that comply with the Federal Records Act and its regulations 
  • Disposition – is this a manual or automated process today? 
  • Permanent Records – where are your permanent records stored/located? 
  • Temporary Records – temporary records will require storage in commercial facility? 
  • Physical Records – do you plan to digitize or move paper to commercial facility? 
  • Transfer to NARA – what is your transfer process today? 
    • Do you have a way of locating and transferring records today? 
  • Review/Assess – you will need to review your existing electronic repositories for records management requirements such as: records classification, lifecycle/retention management, disposition processing and export to NARA.  
  • Additional capabilities that go beyond meeting Records Management requirements should be evaluated as well, such as: 
    • File Plan Management 
    • Auto-Classification 
      • Determination of when a file is a record without human intervention 
    • Retention Management 
    • Search  
    • Disposition Approvals 
    • Defensible Destruction 
    • Reports  
      • How many records were dispositioned? 
      • How many records are up for disposition approval? 
      • Audit Reports 
      • File Plan Reports 

Another resource to assist with identifying additional requirements is NARA’s Universal Electronic Records Management (ERM) Requirements.   

Federated Records Management 

Federal agencies must respond to challenges of M-12-18 that now include the M-19-21 directive.  Record Managers will need to assess both electronic and physical record processes to ensure they meet the minimum directive requirements.  Electronic Record Repositories will need to be designated and appropriate planning for the move from paper to electronic conducted. 

Consider a Federated Records Management approach in leveraging your current investments to meet Federal directives.  A true Federated Records Management solution provides Records Managers with capabilities to Monitor, Classify, Manage and Dispose records regardless of where they are stored.  This also should include the ability to lock down records (immutable) so files cannot be deleted or modified.  This can be very beneficial and cost effective for planning a framework where you are effectively storing and managing records. 

 By utilizing a Federated Records Management approach, the following benefits can be achieved. 

  • Cost Effective – Use current electronic repositories and existing infrastructure to manage records. 
  • End User Adoption – no training, continue to use designated platforms. End users utilize current storage repositories where they do business. 
  • Record Managers – Utilizing a Federated Approach and manage existing repositories with an Enterprise Records Management Solution. 
    • Meet challenges of managing records in multiple repositories (including Physical) 
    • Centralized File Plan Management 
    • Real Time Reporting 
  • Efficiency/Automation 
    • Records Classification – without user intervention 
    • Approvals/Notifications  automatically sent out for transfer/disposition actions. 
    • Lifecycle/Disposition Management 
  • Meet Federal Directives (M-12-18 and M-19-21) 
  • Comply with NARA Universal ERM Requirements    

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