What is a Machinery of Government (MoG) change?
A Machinery of Government (MoG) change occurs when government decides to change the way government responsibilities are managed. This can occur at any time but often occurs after an election.
A MoG change can involve the movement of function and responsibilities from:
- A Victorian Public Sector (VPS) entity to another VPS entity
- A VPS entity to a non-VPS entity (e.g. to the private sector or to the Commonwealth government)
- A non-VPS entity to a VPS entity.
When this occurs, the impacted entities will need to work together to plan and implement arrangements for staff, assets and resources. Records are a critical asset and proper arrangements need to be made for them.
What needs to happen to the records?
When a MoG change occurs, all digital and physical records relating to the function being moved will need to be identified. Records include those held in different systems, as online content, and in storage - both digital and physical. Non-current records, such as those held in legacy systems, need to be identified also. Note that a public record is all information/data created or received while carrying out the work of a public office.
PROS 23/01 Strategic Management Standard sets out the mandatory recordkeeping requirements for Victorian public offices undergoing MoG changes.
The general principle is that records, and responsibility for them, must follow the function so the receiving entity can continue to administer the function and access all records. This means that all records, current and non-current, with as much supporting information as possible (including metadata), must be included in the scope of work for transfer to the receiving entity.
When a function is being moved to a non-government entity, the original public records created prior to that move must remain with the responsible public office. If the non-government entity taking responsibility for the function requires access to those public records, an information sharing arrangement can be made or a duplicate copy of public records can be provided. See further guidance on recordkeeping and privatisation.
When a function is being moved to a government entity outside of Victoria, the responsible VPS entity and the government entity taking responsibility for the function must assess their need for the public records, created up to that point. If it is determined that the original public records should be moved with the function, approval must be given by the Keeper of Public Records.
The senior person in each entity who has responsibility for records management will need to be involved in the planning and oversight of arrangements for the records. It is important to ensure that sufficient resources are obtained so that effective arrangements can be made. External expertise may be required to undertake the migration of records between systems.
The Department of Treasury and Finance has published a Machinery of Government Manual - this includes a section on managing records. It also provides a template for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for use by the public offices.
It is critical that:
- The entity relinquishing the function and the entity receiving the function can access the information they need to operate effectively and meet their obligations
- Care is taken to ensure that full records, including metadata and contextual information, is successfully exported from the systems of the relinquishing entity and imported into the systems of the receiving entity, so they can be identified, retrieved, read and understood in the future
- To preserve the provenance of records, metadata created by the relinquishing entity should remain linked to the records and labelled as such
- Records are retained for their minimum required retention period, with permanent value records transferred to PROV at the appropriate time.
PROV must be informed of any changes to functional responsibilities - contact us to discuss your situation.