If you work for a federal agency, M-19-21 extensions and updates aren’t news to you. 

But with 2022 deadlines missed, the time is now for federal agencies to focus on achieving compliance before the new extended deadline is here before we know it. 

At the end of last year, OMB and NARA released a new memo, M-23-07 OMB/NARA, Update to Transition to Electronic Records, to the heads of executive departments and agencies. M-23-07 extended the M-19-21 deadlines to June 30, 2024.

While the need for digital conversion hasn’t diminished nor has the federal government’s reason for the policy changed, timelines have shifted to help accommodate delays in implementation.

In this article we’ll cover some important details and background information about M-19-21, then jump into an overview of key updates that will impact agencies. We’ll also discuss some helpful tips for successfully implementing digital conversion in accordance with M-19-21 guidelines.

What Is M-19-21? 

M-19-21 is a government-wide policy that was jointly issued by the Office of Budget & Management (OMB) and the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) which requires all hard copy records, business processes, recordkeeping methods, and document management systems to completely transition to a digital format.

The federal mandate was created to help government agencies achieve better record management systems and implement best practices for digitization in order to improve accuracy, efficiency, and secure storage of government records.

For information on M-19-21, see the Memorandum for Departments and Agencies.

Who Is Impacted?

All federal agencies are impacted by M-19-21. Any government departments, corporations, and organizations that are branches of the federal government will have to achieve compliance with the Federal Records Act.

Overview of Government Responsibilities: M-19-21

M-19-21 establishes guidelines to help support agencies as they successfully convert from paper-based processes while embracing new pathways for the Federal Government to better engage with the public and to foster transparency throughout the various government agencies. 

Here’s an overview of key government responsibilities:

  • Federal agencies must take the appropriate steps to convert their government record management systems including paper files, documents, and appropriate metadata into a digital format in accordance with M-19-21 guidelines.
  • All federal records must be created, modified, and maintained electronically in accordance to policy timelines/deadlines.
  • All temporary records must be managed electronically.
  • Federal agencies should manage all permanent electronic records in a digital format by 2019.
  • All permanent federal records with appropriate metadata must be created and managed in an electronic format by 2022.
  • Government agency-operated records storage facilities must be closed by 2022.
  • Federal agencies must maintain a record management program that is compliant with the Federal Records Act.

M-23-07: New Deadlines 

M-23-07 creates new timelines and provides updates to help agencies complete digital conversion and successfully achieve compliance. M-23-07 extends the M-19-21 deadlines to June 30, 2024. 

“The new deadline allows agencies more time to complete their transition to electronic records due to implementation delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.” (M-23-07)

M-23–07 also provides assistance if an agency is unable to meet the M-19-21 deadlines and allows them to take the proper steps to request an exception.

Overview Of M-19-21 Updates

2023 Deadlines:

By December 31, 2023, NARA will finalize ERM guidelines & requirements for ERM solutions & services under the Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative (FERMI), NARA’s comprehensive Government-wide strategy for procuring records management solutions & services.

2024 Timelines:

2024 Deadlines

Helpful Tips: Moving Forward With Digital Conversion

Whether you’re a federal agency or an organization who is transitioning from paper to digital document management, here are some tips for ensuring continued compliance and success with your digitization projects: 

Finding The Right Scanning & Digital Conversion Partner

As federal agencies prepare for the M-19-21 deadline and implement digital conversion solutions, it’s important to have a plan in place with the necessary support systems and operational processes ready to go in order to be successful with the transition to digital records. 

If you’re researching  potential partners to assist you with your scanning and digital conversion needs, remember to look for a partner who has the right experience, security, credentials, and digital conversion expertise to ensure your project is properly managed and compliant with government guidelines.

Next Steps

Reach out to us today! Click the “Get Your Quote” button below, fill out the form, and we’ll quickly reply to you to discuss your project.

Further Reading

“Improving User Experiences With Digital Document Management”
Curious how digital document management systems can improve user experiences? See the three key benefits users will get from digitization.

“Directive M-19-21: Government Records Digitization Compliance”
Preparing for the M-19-21 deadline? Learn more about the government-wide policy issued to all federal agencies to transition government records and metadata into a digital format before December 31, 2022.

“Preserving Microfilm Records: Backup Disaster Recovery”
Don’t let your microfilm records & data be one of the things you can’t replace when the unexpected happens. Learn how you can protect your records with a backup disaster recovery plan.