Records Management Association of Australasia
I am responding to the recent call for submissions on the above Taskforce. I am responding on behalf of the ACT Branch of the Records Management Association of Australasia. RMAA.
Our comments are based on a good knowledge and understanding of recordkeeping practices in Government. Our concerns are around governance, access and accountability of information.
We feel the Office of the Commissioner should be established first and a consultative framework put in place with a link to the FOI and Archives Act changes and implications.
NAA and AGIMO should play a participative role in the Office of Commissioner obligations.
It should also be determined what role NAA will play in ensuring government agencies are prepared for the new role they will play in disseminating information to the public.
Some additional responses -
What should government do to foster a culture of compliance with information and records management policies and best practice?
The Government should recognize that records management is usually under resourced in agencies and the function is not given an appropriate level of status to ensure it operates effectively within organizations. The Government should revisit the MAC Report “Note for File: on Recordkeeping in Government Agencies and the numerous audit reports on Recordkeeping the ANAO has published. These reports highlight issues which must be addressed before a culture of effective recordkeeping in agencies is developed. There has been virtually been no follow up on these reports.
Recordkeeping should be regarded as a governance issue and should not be relegated below information technology and other knowledge management initiatives. Recordkeeping should be regarded as the foundations on which
these systems and practices are built.
In the majority of government organisations this is not the case. Records Management principles like the OECD principles need to be fully supported.
What recordkeeping challenges are posed by both the re-use of government information, and in the mechanisms of development of government policy and practice through interactive citizen engagement?
Any systems and practices that are developed must address the recordkeeping requirements to ensure that evidence of transactions with the public in the form of records are captured. Therefore developers of these systems must incorporate within them a functionality which enables the capture of records and their subsequent management over time or a mechanism to link them with compliant recordkeeping systems. Close attention must be given to the principles set out in the Records Management Standards AS ISO 15489, National Archives of Australia standards and other legislative requirements such as, the Archives, FOI and Privacy Acts.
It is suggested that a check list or guidance document be developed which set out the requirements which must be met before an information system is developed and deployed.
What role could the proposed OIC play in encouraging the development of Government 2.0? Are there practical recommendations the Taskforce might make about how the OIC might best fulfil its functions in relation to
optimising the dissemination of Government information?
The role of the proposed OIC is to ensure that government information is made available to the public in a reasonable way. The OIC must therefore focus on barriers within agencies that might not facilitate access to information or frustrate the process of gaining access to information in the form of records. From a recordkeeping point of view it all comes down to capturing records from information systems in an compliant recordkeeping system and adequate resourcing to manage these records.
The RMAA supports new initiatives and improved technologies to facilitate better recordkeeping compliance it must be realised that to improve uptake and public awareness to government information requires added resources to cope with demand.
Veronica Pumpa MRMA