Records Advisory: Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Demonstration Grants
Why did the Archives create this new demonstration grant type?
After surveying local government records programs and talking to local government records management officers and consulting with the Local Government Records Advisory Council, the State Archives has confirmed that electronic records management continues to be a huge challenge for local governments and is the weakest part of most local government records management programs. A new type of Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) grant is the demonstration grant, designed to help local governments tackle the challenging issue of electronic records management.
So what is a demonstration grant?
The goal of the LGRMIF demonstration grants initiative is to fund projects that address electronic records management issues and produce results, best practices, and models that can be replicated, are scalable, or can be used more broadly in other governments or groups of governments of all types and sizes.
What requirements do I have to meet if I submit a demonstration grant application?
Demonstration Grant applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Demonstrate the benefits of the project and the benefits of the project to other local governments.
- Submit as part of the grant application a needs assessment whenever one is needed to prove the viability of a project.
- Include a detailed estimated five-year cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate the clear financial and administrative advantages of the demonstration project into the future. This analysis must provide information on upfront and continuing costs, including system maintenance, and show the source of all estimated costs.
- Provide detailed information about the governments, governmental departments, archives and records management functions, and records that will be the focus of the project.
- Demonstrate the proposed project is sustainable and will result in permanent, positive programmatic change.
Further, all applicants must meet these required project outcomes:
- Develop a webpage or a subsite of a website to publicize the program developed by the grant, including enough information to allow other local governments or consortia of local governments to replicate the program.
- Develop a canned one-hour webinar that explains, in layman’s terms, the elements of the program and how the program was developed.
- Create and make available the governance documents of any consortium participating in a multi-government project, including the intergovernmental agreement for the consortium, the bylaws of its governance committee, and the policies for running the consortium. (Applicable only for the final year of an implementation project.)
- Create a set of policies and procedures, including, at minimum, system management and maintenance, training and support, auditing systems, system performance assurance, information governance, and security, and make these policies and procedures (minus any sensitive information) available for use by others. (Applicable only for the final year of an implementation project.)
- Publicize the results of the project through at least one public event, such as a one-day symposium or a presentation at a statewide or regional meeting of a local government, archives, or records management association.
- Indicate in all of these materials that the source of startup funding for the project was the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund, New York State Archives, State Education Department.
Demonstration grant projects sound like a lot of work. Can I get funding to conduct a needs assessment and plan out a scope of work?
Yes, there are two types of demonstration grants: planning and implementation. You may request up to $100,000 to conduct a planning grant. You can then base a future implementation grant on the results of the planning grant.
What if I need more than a year to complete such a complex demonstration project?
Demonstration grants that are implementation projects can last for one or two years, but planning projects can last for only one year. If planning a two-year implementation project, your initial grant must describe the full two-year project, include the estimated costs for the entire project, and submit a full budget for the first year of the project. For the second year, you will need to submit evidence that your project is progressing well along with the full budget for the second year, and, if necessary, an updated plan of work. If your project is essentially on schedule (or you can show how you will return to schedule) and if your budget is approved by a review panel, your project will be funded for a second year.
How much funding can I receive for a demonstration implementation grant?
You can receive up to $500,000 for one project, whether it takes one or two years to complete.
How much funding can I receive for a demonstration planning grant?
You can receive up to $100,000 for one project.
How much money does the Archives have available this year to fund demonstration grants?
The Archives has set aside one million dollars for demonstration grants. Any money not expended on the demonstration grants will be reallocated and used for shared services and individual grants.
May I cooperate with other local governments on a demonstration grant project?
Yes, you may cooperate with other local governments on a multi-governmental demonstration project.
If I include other local governments in my application, does the application limit on funds increase?
No, the funding levels remain the same: $100,000 for a planning grant and $500,000 for an implementation grant.
If I want to apply with other local governments, why should I not just propose a shared services grant?
You can, but there are advantages to doing a multi-government demonstration grant, such as a higher funding limit and the ability to conduct a planning grant to better plan for the implementation. Shared services grants are capped at $150,000 as compared to $500,000 for demonstration grants. A demonstration grant will also give you more time to complete your project, since you have the option of proposing a two-year implementation grant. If you’re unsure which is the right choice for you, discuss it with your Regional Advisory Officer (RAO) or other Archives’ staff person.
Can I propose any project I want as long as it involves electronic records?
No, the Archives will accept applications for only two specific projects that are outlined in the 2014-2015 LGRMIF Grant Application Guide. The two projects are the implementation of a records management application (RMA) and the preservation of electronic records.
What is a records management application (RMA)?
A records management application (RMA) is an add-on module to an electronic document management system (EDMS) or an electronic content management system (ECMS) that allows you to apply retention schedules to your electronic records and to ensure destruction of obsolete records within the system. The RMA will alert you when records retention periods have expired and will destroy records once you have approved their destruction, and it will also keep a record of all dispositions. RMAs
An ECMS or EDMS is a large robust electronic repository where you can manage all of your electronic records. These often have many add-on modules such as the RMA, workflow, and electronic forms.
What do you mean by preservation of electronic records?
Preservation of electronic records is about setting up systems and processes to ensure that all electronic records with historical value can be maintained and kept accessible indefinitely. Such systems must preserve both born-digital records (those records that were created and always maintained electronically) and digitized records (those records that have been converted from analog forms, such as paper or audiotape, to digital forms). Such systems must ensure that records are stored in formats that remain accessible, that records cannot be altered or destroyed without authorization, and that adequate backups of all historical records are maintained.
What are the requirements for these two project types?
For the Records Management Application you must set up reusable products and protocols that will incorporate records retention and disposition controls for electronic records. Proposed projects must propose to use an electronic content management system (ECMS) or a cloud-based ECMS solution to implement the goals of this project. Applications for this project must be submitted in the Records Systems grant category. A demonstration project applicant must design a planning or implementation project that lays out how the applicant will
- develop a method for implementing and/or implement within the ECMS the appropriate New York State Archives’ retention schedules or big-bucket retention solutions based on those schedules
- design and/or implement a filing schema for organizing records and associating retention schedule items to folders of records
- design and/or implement a system of access controls to protect records from both inappropriate access and accidental or otherwise unauthorized modification, replacement, or destruction
- design and/or implement systems that allow each local government in the consortium control over its own records (for multi-government projects only)
- design and/or implement an auditing system to ensure that records cannot be changed without such changes being documented within the system
- design and/or implement a process for authorizing retention and disposition and ensuring that records can be destroyed only after all appropriate authorizations have been granted
- design and/or implement a system that completely destroys any electronic records from both the system and any backups once their destruction has been authorized
For preservation of electronic records grants, you must set up reusable products and protocols that will provide for the preservation of digitized and born-digital archival electronic records. Proposed projects must propose to use an electronic content management system (ECMS) or a cloud-based ECMS solution to implement the goals of this project. Applications for this project must be submitted in the Historical Records grant category. A demonstration project applicant must design a planning or implementation project that lays out how the applicant will
- develop and/or implement protocols for ingesting electronic records into the archival records management system
- demonstrate that each local government in the consortium will maintain some level of control over its own records (for multi-government projects only)
- develop and/or implement standards for file conversion of both born-digital and paper archival records that will be managed in this system (including preferred file formats for long-term retention and conversion procedures that address all records that will at first be stored within the system)
- develop and/or implement standards for descriptive metadata that cover at least the most important or heavily used archival records of the government or consortium
- design and/or implement quality assurance protocols to verify the accuracy of any document conversions and of all metadata
- design and/or implement security controls to protect the archival records from both inappropriate access and accidental or otherwise unauthorized modification, replacement, or destruction
- design and/or implement methods to make the most important and heavily used archival records of the local governments accessible via any combination of methods, including the archival records system itself, a website or websites, media sharing sites on the Internet, removable media, email, or visits to the government or governments
- develop and/or implement backup protocols that will ensure that the archival electronic records cannot be destroyed by human or natural disaster
If I’m interested in doing a demonstration grant, what are my first steps?
First, talk to your RAO or other Archives’ staff. You should consider doing a planning grant first, since there are many requirements you must meet in an implementation grant application, including the costs and technical requirements of your project.
For further information or assistance contact the State Archives at:
Telephone: (518) 474-6926