Federal government agencies are making consistent progress on going paperless and 97 percent of agencies believe they will meet the December 2022 deadline, set in Memorandum-19-21, to properly manage permanent files, according to a National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) report.

NARA recently released a proposed rule for how permanent files need to be managed and stored, which applies retroactively to all files already transferred. The report, which NARA released at the end of September 2020, also indicates that 96 percent of agencies that responded have already developed or are in the process of developing strategies to permanently manage electronic records.

“The transition to electronic records management, as we know, is very challenging,” Don Rosen, NARA’s director of records management oversight and reporting, said at a Digital Government Institute webinar Dec. 10. “Agencies gave us some insight to what those challenges are. Whether … it was hearing from a very large department or a smaller micro agency. In either case, the challenges remain.”

Facing a Dec. 31, 2019 deadline for the permanent managing of electronic files, 70 percent of responding agencies met requirements, according to the report.

Agencies are having slower progress on moving files created as hard copies to digital copies, with just 71 percent of agencies having fully or partially developed strategies for storage. Progress on these sorts of transfers is also expected to have taken a hit in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing most government agencies to work from home.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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