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1 April 2022

Archives New Zealand (Archives NZ) is the regulator under the Public Records Act 2005, making sure that public sector information is well-managed.

The report reflects the key indicators for the survey reported in the Annual Report on the State of Government Recordkeeping, published in December last year. Both reports indicate there continues to be room for improvement in information management.

“A third year of the survey has provided added assurance to the consistency of information and data gathered in the series,” says Chief Archivist Kaipupuri Matua Stephen Clarke.

“While we are pleased with the openness and transparency of agencies that replied, the report confirmed no significant information management improvement across the public sector.

“To reiterate what I said in the Annual Report, Archives NZ has a growing set of monitoring tools, but government record-keeping processes, policies, platforms and practice have not kept pace with technological advances.

“An information management system designed for the digital age will ensure there is no excuse for poor recordkeeping. We need to actively make use of the processes and tools available.

“Archives NZ adds value to New Zealand, and the public service, through having a memory we can recall, to make better decisions to enhance our service delivery to our people. We preserve the past to inform the present, to achieve a better future.”

Archives is currently working on an Appraisal, Disposal and Implementation (ADI) redesign project to see how it can work towards effective digital by design information management throughout the whole of government. An Information Maturity Assessment for government agencies already provides clear and specific self-assessment guidance on Archives’ expectations for information management maturity.

A key finding from the 2020/21 annual survey, and the first cohort of audits from the new audit programme, shows change continues to be slow. There has been little improvement, and sometimes regression in categories such as information management staff and disposal, over the past decade.

“In the fast-paced data-driven age, standing still is going backwards,” says Mr Clarke. While the number of organisations implementing governance groups for information management is up from 52% to 60%, a greater effort is required from the remaining organisations to also establish groups.

“An active governance group is the foundation for lifting the importance of information management in organisations and integrating it into business operations,” says Mr Clarke. “When a formal governance group is present there is a greater likelihood that the organisation will build information management requirements into new business systems.”

Also, of concern was only a marginal increase, from 50% to 52%, in information management requirements being built into business systems implemented in the last 12 months.

“It is unacceptable, particularly given that information management requirements have been mandatory for over a decade now. It is of real concern to see the low number of organisations that have built information management requirements into new business systems.”

The survey was sent to 258 public sector organisations between 8 to 25 June last year, including 180 public offices that were required to respond. Overall, there was an 84 percent response rate, up on last year’s 80 percent. Thirty-three public offices did not respond to the survey, including 15 public offices. A full list is in the appendices to the report.

Archives will be engaging further with public sector organisations on the recent publications, to build awareness and communicate expectations.

Read the report on Survey of public sector information management 2020/21