Author: Government recordkeeping

On 22 May Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) held its second Records Management Network (RMN) event for 2015.

Featuring presenters from university, government and the private sector, the event attracted over 170 people.

Here, PROV's Andrew Harris profiles two of the presentations featured on the day:


1. Delivering the 'Wards Record Plan' 

Kylie Auld, Manager & Chris Hofmann, Principal Project Manager Ward Records Plan, Records Management Unit, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

In March 2012, the Victorian Ombudsman released the findings of its investigation into the storage and management of ward records by the former Department of Human Services (DHS). To address the report’s findings and recommendations, DHS implemented the Wards Record Plan.

Rolled out over three years, the Plan involves the identification, indexation, storage, management and digitisation of 148,000 original ward records, which relate to 'wards of the state' or children in Government care dating back to 1864 in Victoria. Provenance of these records stretches across approximately 45 Victorian Government-run children’s institutions.

The 2015-2016 financial year will see the project shift to the final phase. It is expected that the project will result in ward records that are better identified, indexed, conserved, stored and managed, allowing better retrieval and easier access for the 1200 viewing requests that come through each year.


2. The barriers to and the benefits of effectively managing information as a business asset

James Price, Managing Director, Experience Matters.

“There is no such thing as a Chief Information Officer. Why?” asks James Price. In a highly engaging and entertaining presentation, James discussed the vital role that information plays as a business asset.

CEOs, he argues don’t hold information as a priority, and there is a significant lack of awareness, governance, education and training on records and information management. Compare this to three other types of business assets - financial, human and physical - which are allocated to specific staff members that must account for their management. By contrast, information assets are usually the domain of all staff and are therefore generally poorly managed, resulting in unnecessary exposure to risk and financial loss.

One case in point is an insurance company, which holds a large number of boxes in storage that contain unknown information. This neglect has resulted in a staggering $1.5m in lost revenue due to unprocessed claims. Conversely, by simply rationalising storage providers a local government council was able to reduce document storage costs by 73 per cent and reduce business risks.

James urged records managers to sell the value of the work they carry out to CEOs and senior executives. Effective information management, he says, cannot be achieved by ICT staff and assets alone, but requires the exercise of careful human judgment by professional record managers.


Attend the next RMN event:

"It was great to learn about other areas of government and get a first hand account of records management and archiving projects. Records Management is a challenging field and all of the talks acknowledged the struggles – with lack of executive support, funding and resources being common factors within many organisations. But it was also heartening to hear of Records Management successes and the innovation, dedication and adaptability records management teams are currently demonstrating to roll out programs, redevelop teams and services as well as complete large-scale projects." (RMN Attendee)

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