Report: Government agencies are working toward paperless office solutions

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued a directive in 2012 asking every government office, including cabinets within the Executive Branch, to transition toward an electronic document management system.

A recent report from NARA elaborated on how agencies are doing in their progress toward these solutions. About 85 percent of departments, including bureaus and independent offices, responded to its assessment report. With upcoming deadlines on where departments stand in the transition process, 59 percent of respondents said that they have made at least some progress toward paperless office solutions.

However, some participants stated that the lack of resources and support from senior staff, who are used to storing documents in filing cabinets, make some parts of the change difficult, according to Fierce Government IT. 

"While there is still much work to be done, the 2012 report highlights several positive trends by Federal agencies," IT specialist Arian Ravanbakhsh explained on NARA's website.

In it's fourth year of issuing these self-assessments, agencies are moving in the right direction. Offices must have a strategy to report to NARA by the end of 2013.

NARA reviewers wrote in the report that there was, "particular improvement in the documentation supporting training and permanent records transfer activities," but "[d]ocumentation for records management program performance goals and measures were the weakest when compared to the criteria provided."

Based on these findings, NARA recommends that record managers continue to keep everyone within their departments involved in the process, including reluctant, tenured workers. Offices are expected to store emails on a document management server by 2016 and transition to an entirely programmed system by 2019, according to Next Gov.


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