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Safeguard Public Records in Times of Change

Safeguard Public Records in Times of Change Says Chief Archivist

Safeguarding public records and information when government functions are changing is one of five recommendations from the Chief Archivist’s latest report on the state of government recordkeeping.

Acting Chief Archivist Greg Goulding says, “it is important to plan for the effective management of records during change to ensure the continuity of government services.”

The Chief Archivist’s Annual Report on the State of Government Recordkeeping 2009 identifies three emerging issues and opportunities for development in public sector recordkeeping practices:
1. effective management of records as a way to control paper and email bloat
2. the role of recordkeeping as a foundation for successful implementation of new technologies
3. prudent recordkeeping as a basis for continuity of information in a time of rapid technological and social change.

The Chief Archivist recommends agencies use mandatory standards issued under the Public Records Act 2005 (the Act) to assess their current recordkeeping capability, identify potential risks and develop plans for addressing those risks. In particular, public offices should identify at-risk digital information and take action to address the risks. They must also ensure they have robust recordkeeping practices including disposal coverage and processes in place to manage regular and routine disposal of documents.

Greg Goulding says, “the report is informed by Archives New Zealand’s 2009 government recordkeeping survey. The results indicate an improvement in the recordkeeping habits of public offices.

“Overall the message is good news with 82 percent of public offices reporting they have a formal recordkeeping programme and 78 percent of public offices have applied the General Disposal Authorities.
“Since the Act was passed Archives New Zealand has made significant progress to support the development of recordkeeping in government. The department has established a programme of work including issuing recordkeeping standards, providing advice and delivering training modules,” he said.

The report is available on Archives New Zealand’s website: http://archives.govt.nz/about/publications-media/chief-archivists-annual-report-state-government-recordkeeping-2009


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