Victorian Government is creating and collecting more information than ever before. But there is a struggle to effectively harness the value of information to improve work practices and service delivery to businesses and the community.
Independent reviews and investigations have taken place in recent years which have reported on recordkeeping and information shortcomings across the Victorian Public Sector. In addition, Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) has also undertaken assessments and surveys to address recordkeeping issues.
This report aims to:
provide a snapshot of the major recordkeeping challenges currently facing the Victorian Public Sector
highlight and summarise activities undertaken by PROV and other organisations during 2017-18 which have brought to light these challenges.
PROV has conducted numerous surveys and research designed to determine what recordkeeping issues and challenges stakeholders face. Combined with the findings of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office and various other publications, PROV has been able to identify the following key recordkeeping challenges currently impacting agencies:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.
Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting.
PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples.
Control of record assets is spread across the organisation, with a lack of comprehensive accountability and governance
Information management is not always understood, prioritised or resourced by agency management
Information management practice is sometimes inconsistent and siloed within agencies
Victorian Government agencies give insufficient regard to the value of information throughout its entire life. This devaluation reduces accountability, lowers public respect, increases costs and lowers productivity.
63% of VAGO, IBAC and OV reports include incidents that highlight issues with accountability
43% of VAGO, IBAC and OV reports cite issues with recordkeeping responsibility
39% of VAGO, IBAC and OV reports cite issues with integrity
A lack of clear and effective leadership is a common theme throughout the investigations by VAGO, OV and IBAC
Inadequate planning and resourcing is in place to ensure records are properly managed and protected when systems reach their end of life
Many high value permanent records and long term records continue to exist only within operational line of business systems in the Victorian Government. A challenge exists for Victorian Government for storage and retrieval of these records, where systems are being decommissioned.
Permanent records are not transferred to PROV so they are accessible to citizens when appropriate
There is not a management plan for Lotus Notes content as the system is retired
A new Digital Archive will be commissioned in 2020 so agencies can efficiently transfer permanent digital records to PROV. This will also improve access to the digital and physical records held at PROV. PROV is developing a range of tools to assist agencies in preparing and transferring digital records.
PROV has undertaken a Proof of Concept project with CenITex on a sample set of Lotus Notes emails to test how well an eDiscovery tool can be used to automatically apply retention and destruction rules. The results from this will be used for further work.
The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) tabled a report that highlighted the deficiencies of record keeping across the Victorian Government sector. The report identified several weaknesses in recordkeeping across government agencies and concluded that outdated legislation and the absence of system-wide compliance monitoring has resulted in discrepancies in records management across government agencies.
OVIC is the primary regulator and source of independent advice about how the public sector collects, uses and shares information. The establishment of this Office bringing together Freedom of Information and information privacy and security enables better coordination of Victorian public sector information policy and standards.
The Privacy Act 1988 was amended by the Australian Government to include the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme. The scheme, which applies to all businesses, government agencies and organisations covered by the Privacy Act 1988, aims to ensure people are notified about serious data breaches and came into effect in February 2018. This scheme requires agencies to put in place improved management regimes to manage personal information.
In December 2017 the Royal Commission presented a final report to the Governor-General. This was the culmination of a five-year inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. Volume 8, Recordkeeping and information sharing examines the records, recordkeeping and information sharing of institutions that care for or provide services to children. It includes 23 recommendations, which are being addressed by the Victorian Government.
The Commonwealth Government has commenced a national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse. This was a key recommendation of both the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Victorian Betrayal of Trust Inquiry. A range of Victorian agencies are involved in providing records to support redress applications.
In March 2016 the final report of this Royal Commission was tabled in the Victorian Parliament. This report detailed a range of issues with the way information is managed and shared by the government and non-government agencies involved in responding to family violence. As a result, Family Safety Victoria was established in July 2017 to deliver family violence reforms. This includes the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme, which was created by changes to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and the Family Violence Protection (Information and Risk Management) Regulations 2018.