report

Records Management in Local Government

Recordkeeping plans are approved but lack supporting policies and procedures

We found all 146 LGs have had their RKPs approved by the State Records Commission as required by the State Records Act 2000 (the Act). However, we found that the 4 LGs in our sample had RKPs that were not supported by appropriate policies and procedures.

Consequently, the responsibility for good recordkeeping is left to individual staff and is not embedded into business practice. This can lead to inefficiencies and risks such as:

  • double handling of records
  • poor controls over identification, naming, and location of records affecting retrieval processes
  • failure to plan for and test records disaster recovery.

Recordkeeping plans are current and approved

At 30 June 2018, all 146 LGs had approved RKPs as required by the Act. We found that 78% of LGs submitted an amended or reviewed RKP on time, in the 5 years to 30 June 2018. A further 21% had submitted their RKPs within 3 months of the target, with only 1% failing to submit within 6 months. While there is room for LGs to improve the timeliness of RKP approval, most LGs demonstrate a timely commitment to meet good recordkeeping standards. RKPs demonstrate compliance with the State Records Commission’s recordkeeping standards and principles.

Recordkeeping plans are not supported by adequate policies and procedures

We found the 4 LGs we sampled had records management policies. However, they were inadequate and often had not been reviewed, updated and approved to reflect current management expectations for recordkeeping.

The State Records Commission requires the recordkeeping policies and procedures of an entity to clearly set out roles and responsibilities for staff, and to cover all aspects of an organisation’s business operations. We expected to see policies and procedures that provided guidance and support for individual business area recordkeeping and management of sensitive records. LGs, like many organisations, are using social media to engage with their community, they are also faced with the challenge of transitioning from paper-based to digital records. We therefore expected to see appropriate guidance around both of these areas of operation. Table 1 shows these areas were rarely covered.

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