During our audit work, my staff and I are constantly reminded of the importance of good recordkeeping for a well-functioning public sector. As Auditor General I am also an ex-officio member of the State Records Commission. This is a role I accept with enthusiasm, as I am eager to support the proper safeguarding and integrity of official records. Good records support good decision-making, effective business practice and improve accountability and efficiency – they are a cornerstone of good governance. For this reason, it is relevant that the implementation of State Records Commission-approved recordkeeping plans was examined as one of our first local government performance audits.
My Office has audited records management by state government entities several times in the last few years. These audits consistently found that entities do not prioritise good recordkeeping. Too often records management is treated as an additional task rather than being integrated into normal business practice. Unfortunately, this audit tells a similar story.
I acknowledge that local government entities can differ significantly in size, complexity and the resources they have available for records management. However, the basic principles of good recordkeeping should not require a resource intensive approach. I encourage all local government entities to read this report and to consider the findings and recommendations in light of their own circumstances, including using Appendix 1 as a guide for self-assessment.