Senior Agency Officials for Records Management

The National Archives recently hosted a meeting of Senior Agency Officials for Records Management (SAORM) and agency records officers from across the federal government. This meeting covered progress and plans for modernizing Federal recordkeeping and implementing strategic records management mandates and priorities.

I was pleased to greet so many Senior Agency Officials for Records Management here at the National Archives. For many, this was their first meeting in the new Presidential Administration.

These senior officials have direct responsibility for ensuring their department or agency efficiently and appropriately complies with all applicable records management statutes, regulations, NARA policy, and the requirements of the Managing Government Records Directive.

Under the direction of Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officer of the United States, our Office of the Chief Records Officer does great work every day engaging with the SAORM community and ensuring that all SAORMs, especially those newly appointed, are briefed and ready to step into their critical roles in ensuring records and information are managed appropriately across the Federal government. The Office of the Chief Records Officer also completes important work collecting and analyzing the SAORM and agency reports on records management. It’s one of the ways we understand how much progress has been made in improving records management in agencies and how far we have to go.

Federal agencies and officials must remain aware of the laws, regulations, and guidance governing how records and information are identified and managed in compliance with the Federal Records Act. Managing government records is essential not only to ensure agency activities are documented in order to meet legal requirements, but also to preserve our history for future generations. Properly executed, records management increases the efficiency and effectiveness of every government activity by ensuring that federal employees can find what they need, when they need it.

SAORMs bear a special responsibility for ensuring their agencies meet these obligations. In particular, we rely on agency SAORMs to ensure that the political appointees and agency heads are properly informed of their records management responsibilities. We want all agencies to be successful in meeting these responsibilities, and to help drive the change needed to modernize recordkeeping in the Government as envisioned in the 2012 Managing Government Records Directive. To achieve this goal, records management must be a critical component of every agency’s overall information governance strategy.

At this meeting, I shared this brief video with our SAORMs describing the records management responsibilities political appointees should be aware of when entering, working in, and leaving Federal Service:

We are pleased to have such an engaged community of Senior Agency Officials for Records Management continuing to improve records management across the federal government. I thank all the SAORMs for their attendance and for their consideration of how they can be advocates for records management in their respective agencies to elevate its profile and importance.

For additional guidance, please consult the following resources:

Documenting Your Public Service: https://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/publications/documenting-your-public-service.html

Records Management Guidance for Political Appointees: https://www.archives.gov/files/records-mgmt/publications/rm-for-political-appointees.pdf

Records Express blog: https://records-express.blogs.archives.gov/2016/11/16/records-management-guidance-for-the-presidential-transition/

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