Government Compliance Checklist for Data Archiving and FOIA
For compliance officers and staff in federal and state agencies across the US
Chapter 1. NARA
NARA Regulations Summary
NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) is an independent US government agency that oversees the documentation of government records and that works to ensure public access to national archives.
It regularly issues guidelines that federal agencies need to follow when collecting, storing, and managing the records, some of which could be of national importance.
We’ll start this chapter by going through some basic information on how NARA rules work. We will then look at the essential records management requirements you need to meet when managing your records in line with NARA guidelines. We’ll also look at NARA-compliant email management to help you manage the records in your agency.
How NARA Works & What You Need to Know
According to NARA rules, the documentation that shows how a government agency works needs to be complete and accurate “to the extent required to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency”.
Plus, this documentation needs to show all the information required to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons who are directly affected by the activity that an agency carries out.
It’s important to note here that all the federal records are broadly divided into two categories – records with temporary value, which can be destroyed after a retention period and records with permanent value, which must be preserved and which agencies need to transfer to the National Archives. It is the US Archivist who determines which documents fall into which category.
NARA Records Management Compliance Checklist(Based on the Federal Records Act and NARA guidelines)
Chapter 2. NARA Email Management Checklist
What follows is a list of questions by the United States Archivist, David S. Ferriero, which is part of the Criteria for Managing Email Records in Compliance with the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18).
These questions refer in particular to the system, access, and policy requirements, and will also help you determined how aligned you are with NARA in terms of email records management and the email archiving system you use:
Chapter 3. FOIA
Note that FOIA applies only to federal agencies. In case you’re from a state agency, it’s best you consult the regulations in your own state.
FOIA Compliance Checklist
Chapter 4. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
These Rules ensure there is a “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding”, by prescribing requirements for retention and disclosure of data, including email management, ESI, network logs, and all other documents stored in a virtual format.
While you should follow the rules that safeguard the privacy of personal information, there are cases where even in the lack of a formal discovery request you need to disclose information.
Chapter 5. Government Compliance Software Requirements
Your task is to meet requirements regarding monitoring, capturing, storing, archiving, and retrieving records, which are produced in a variety of formats.
On average, you need to be able to capture, monitor and store email, images, voice messages, text messages and much more.
This can be a daunting task, especially if you receive a large number of requests.
Before you start looking for record management compliance software, however, you should understand the needs and obligations that your archiving system needs to support.
Without understanding what you need to archive and preserve, no software will be a good match, as you won’t know how to implement it to the full potential. And, you might miss some of the essential information that you’re required to retain.
So, here are the crucial functionalities your data management system should have, alongside the benefits each of these functionalities provides.