OMB Integrates ARMA International RIM Proposals Into New Federal IT Policies

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ARMA International, a not-for-profit professional association representing records and information management (RIM) professionals, today applauded the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) revisions to the Federal government’s policies governing information technology (IT) resources – known as Circular A-130. These revisions include an increased recognition of the role of RIM in the acquisition and management of information resources.

ARMA International, a not-for-profit professional association representing records and information management (RIM) professionals, today applauded the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) revisions to the Federal government’s policies governing information technology (IT) resources – known as Circular A-130. These revisions include an increased recognition of the role of RIM in the acquisition and management of information resources.

“While we believe that OMB could have gone further in addressing RIM concerns in the IT governance process, the new policies will help government leaders avoid the kind of systemic records management failures that plagued a number agencies over the past couple of years,” stated Liz Icenogle, ARMA’s director of strategic initiatives. “They will facilitate the enormous task of implementing an integrated approach to records management compliance across more than 250 departments and agencies.”

In a November 19, 2015 comment letter to OMB on the initial proposed A-130 revisions, ARMA International outlined a number of recommendations to create additional RIM discipline within agency information resources in order to ensure transparency, accountability and accessibility of critical records, and to ultimately preserve government records and our national heritage. The final policy revisions include ARMA-recommended requirements that records management functions and retention and disposition requirements be fully incorporated into IT lifecycle processes and stages. This new requirement will help to address the ever-expanding challenge of data governance by ensuring that information assets are not inadvertently lost or made inaccessible as technology and systems evolve.

“This policy change will ensure that RIM requirements be considered throughout an IT system’s development life cycle, including when it is disposed of, upgraded or replaced,” Icenogle said. “Identifying recordkeeping shortcomings early in system development, and addressing RIM concerns before old systems are discontinued, can significantly reduce the cost of implementing records retention requirements and ensure that records on legacy systems are preserved.”

The revised Circular A-130 also incorporates requirements contained in the Managing Government Records Directive, which requires agencies to manage all e-mail records electronically by the end of 2016, and to manage all permanent electronic records in electronic format by the end of 2019. It establishes records management as a major stakeholder and key player in the information management business process by elevating the role of senior agency official for records management (SAORM). Further, it incorporates regulatory, security and legal requirements with respect to RIM assets by integrating those requirements with the larger business and IT governance practices.

“For too long, records management responsibilities have been overlooked within the business functions of many Federal agencies, with disastrous consequences in some instances for an agency’s mission, effectiveness and credibility,” Icenogle stated. “The revised A-130 takes important steps that will better integrate records management decisions and policies into an agency’s planning, budgeting and strategic management processes regarding information technology.”

“Hopefully,” she continued, “this will enable the Federal government to become a better model for RIM leadership.”

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Wade Brown
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