May 25, 2022

National Archives (NARA) Releases “Federal Agency Records Management: 2016 Annual Report”

From NARA’s “Records Express” Blog:

In 2016, we required Federal agencies to submit three reports: The annual Senior Agency Official for Records Management (SAORM) Report, the annual Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA), and a supplemental Federal Email Management Report.

We consolidated these reports from agencies into the Federal Agency Records Management Annual Report. 2016. This report provides a summary analysis on the state of Federal records management programs.

The data received this year by Federal agencies shows progress towards improving records management and strengthening electronic records and email management throughout the Federal Government. Laurence Brewer, the Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government summarized by saying: “Overall the results are trending positive. Most agencies have taken action, but there is still a ways to go in many areas, including policy promulgation, systems implementation, managing access, and — important for NARA — transferring email to our agency for permanent preservation.”


Source: Federal Agency Records Management Annual Report, 2016 (NARA) p. ii

Key findings:

For the first time since 2010, more agencies submitting the RMSA scored in the low-risk category for non-compliance than the high-risk category;

Overall, agency records management programs continue to improve through active involvement in information management processes and decisions; enhanced policies and directives; and increased awareness and outreach programs.

As seen in prior RMSAs, gradual overall improvement in compliance with Federal records management statutes and regulations continues.

The RMSA used a maturity model scale of 0 to 4 to measure email policies, systems, access, and disposition based on the Success Criteria for Managing Email published by NARA in 2016. The majority of agencies rated themselves at Level 3—indicating that agencies are no longer printing and filing email records, systems are in place to capture and preserve email records, access to stored email exists, and records retention scheduling is in progress but needs considerably more attention.

Most of the SAORMs reported meeting the M-12-18 target to manage email in electronic format by December 31, 2016. Those who did not, expected to be managing email in electronic format by the end of 2017.

Agencies are making progress towards managing permanent electronic records in electronic format by December 31, 2019.

Direct to Full Text Report
96 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.