A Guide to Enhancing Records Management through the Local Records Grant Program
Washington State agencies have an incredible opportunity to improve their records management systems through the Local Records Grant Program. With applications opening today, we aim to provide a clear roadmap to leverage this grant. This blog post provides an overview of the grant, the scoring system and will dive into how leveraging Collabspace, a FedRAMP Moderate certified solution, can not only expedite your grant application process but also ensure a light, low IT overhead, implementation once approved especially for the technology portion of the grant up to $30,000.
The Window of Opportunity
Applications for the 2024-25 Grant Cycle are open, and the clock is ticking. Agencies looking to enhance their technology tools for better records management have until March 1st, 2024 to submit their applications. The grants are designed to support initiatives that provide more timely responses to public records requests and help manage public records effectively throughout their lifecycle.
- Dec 4, 2023 - Help with preparing applications available
- Feb 1, 2024 - Applications open
- Mar 1, 2024 Applications close
- Mar 4 - Late May - Application review
- Late May, 2024 - Grant awards announced
- May-Jun, 2024 - Contracts executed
- Jul 1, 2024 - Projects start
- May 30, 2025 - Final reimbursement requested to be submitted
More details on the grant can be found on the Washington State Archives website here.
Understanding the Scoring Criteria
- High-Range Score Considerations: Demonstrate the significant challenges your agency faces in managing records and responding to public records requests. Highlight issues like compliance difficulties, significant backlogs, threats to record safety, and the frequent public request of the records in question.
- Strategy: Provide specific examples of past difficulties, quantify backlogs, and describe any incidents where record mismanagement had tangible negative effects. Document any safety hazards or resource limitations that exacerbate these issues.
- High-Range Score Considerations: Show that your plan is well-researched, feasible, and developed in consultation with relevant authorities or experts. It should clearly address the identified problems and be achievable within the grant period.
- Strategy: Outline a detailed, step-by-step plan that includes timelines, milestones, and responsible parties. Reference best practices and guidelines from the Washington State Archives and the Attorney General’s Office. If you've consulted with these or other experts, mention this to strengthen your application.
- High-Range Score Considerations: The proposed project should significantly improve the safety and security of public records, enhance public access to information, streamline agency business processes, and mitigate risks and liabilities.
- Strategy: Discuss the direct benefits of the project for both the public and your agency. Use data or case studies to support claims about improved access, efficiency, or risk mitigation. Explain how the project aligns with broader agency or public service goals.
- Considerations: Smaller agencies, determined by FTEs and population served, may receive additional points to acknowledge limited capacity for technological improvements.
- Strategy: If applicable, make sure to highlight your agency's size and the specific challenges that come with limited resources. Emphasize how the grant could disproportionately benefit your agency and the community it serves due to these constraints.
The official scoring document can be see here.
Crafting Your Application
- Start with a Clear Problem Statement: Begin your application by clearly defining the challenges your agency faces. Use data and specific examples to illustrate the severity and impact of these issues.
- Detail Your Proposed Solution: Link your solution directly to the problems identified. Explain how your plan is the most cost-effective and practical option, and why it stands a high chance of success.
- Demonstrate Alignment with Best Practices: Show that your proposal is grounded in recognized best practices and guidelines. Mention any consultations or collaborations with state archives, the attorney general's office, or other experts.
- Quantify the Expected Impact: Use quantitative and qualitative data to project the improvements your project will bring about. Focus on enhanced access, efficiency, safety, and compliance.
- Address Small Agency Needs: If you represent a smaller agency, explicitly state how the grant will help level the technological playing field for you, allowing for significant improvements in public record management.
To enhance your grant application for the Washington State Local Records Grant, ensure clarity and conciseness in your submission, adhere to all guidelines, and include supporting documents for credibility. Transitioning to the implementation phase, we invite you to consider Collabspace for its proven success in public agencies, offering rapid, IT-light implementation, comprehensive grant application support, and a robust platform for seamless records management. Collabspace stands as a strategic partner, ready to elevate your agency's records management capabilities efficiently and securely.
Why Choose Collabspace?
“Great customer service - knowledgeable and personable, friendly staff; products that can work to meet public agencies needs; business model that makes Collabware a partner with the agency instead of just a vendor of a system/tool/product; impressive security credentials.” ~ Tammy Mueller, Public Records Analyst, City Clerk's Office at City of Issaquah, WA
Speed of Implementation: Collabspace is known for its rapid implementation capabilities that require a very light IT workload making it easier to put together a project to modernize your records management, discovery, compliance and security postures. We understand that a month is not long and we can work diligently to get your project planned and ready for kick-off within the project start date of July 1, 2024.
Grant Application Support: Our team is on standby to assist with your grant application. We provide comprehensive support to ensure that your application is not only complete but also compelling, increasing your chances of securing the grant.
Compliance and Management Made Simple: Collabspace offers a robust platform that supports the full spectrum of records management, from retention to secure archiving and certified disposal, in line with the Washington State Archives' guidelines.
Seamless Integration and Training: Upon securing the grant, Collabspace ensures that your agency benefits from a smooth transition with necessary vendor-provided consultation and training covered under the grant. In addition to premium support, Collabware University will be the go-to for maintaining knowledge and you can have continued access to it even after implementation.
Collabspace: A Catalyst for Timely Grant Execution
With our experience with local, state and federal government, Collabware can be your partner in navigating the intricacies of grant stipulations, ensuring that your technology acquisition is compliant with the grant’s purpose. Our solution is designed to:
Enhance Public Records Accessibility: Improve the public's access to records with intuitive and sophisticated search tools.
Streamline Retention and Disposition: Automate the categorization, retention, and timely disposition of records, all while maintaining compliance with state laws.
Protect Content: With security at the forefront of operations at Collabware, you can be assured that we continuously maintain high security standards to meet FedRAMP Moderate JAB-Authorization.
Potential Project Ideas:
- Network Drive Management: Secure and categorize network drive content without the need for migration, with a timeline of less than 6 months for full implementation.
- Content Discovery and Search: Enhance information accessibility for stakeholders with immediate benefits, as demonstrated by the City of Issaquah.
- SharePoint Content Management: Manage SharePoint content effectively without extensive IT resources or additional licensing.
- Physical Records Management: Tracking physical records in spreadsheets is prone to error which can be costly, less intuitive and leads to less participation and content security. Collabspace allows you to manage physical records in a unified way alongside digital.
Licensing: Collabspace pricing starts at $8,400 per year per 1 TB of managed content for ARCHIVE and up to $16,800 for CONTINUUM with unlimited users and with volume discounts available. This model allows you to only pay for what content you are currently managing and what you implement.
Implementation: Many of our customers have leveraged our premium support that comes at three tiers and connects you with our subject matter experts who can support the implementation and roll-out of Collabspace. Learn more on implementation and licensing by talking to one of our product specialists.
As the application window for the Washington State Archives' Local Records Grant Program opens, it's an opportune moment to align with a partner that guarantees a swift and effective implementation. Collabspace provides government agencies with a strategic advantage, ensuring that your agency can meet the public's need for an efficient and transparent records management system.