Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 6 – Compliant records management systems

There has been a lot of emphasis on compliant record keeping systems in recent months, with the emphasis perhaps on those organisations who have failed, rather than those who do have a compliant system.  The failure of giants such as Enron, HIH, Andersens and BAT because of various reasons including poor record keeping practices, might sell a lot of newspapers, and has brought record keeping to the forefront of people’s minds.  The deadline for WA State Government Departments to write, present and have approval for their record keeping plans by the State Records Office looms ever closer, we thought that you might appreciate a few pointers as to where information on compliant record management systems can be found.

In this issue…
• State Records Act 2000
• Standards
• Safeguarding Australia’s Web Resources: Guidelines for Creators and Publishers
• State Records Office Publications
• DIRKS – Designing and Implementing Record Keeping Systems
• AGLS – Australian Government Locator Service
• Dublin Core Metadata Standard
• VERS – Victorian Electronic Records Strategy

The State Records Act 2000
WA State Government Departments are required to submit a record-keeping plan (RKP) to the State Records Office by March 2004.  In order to do this, each department must have a records management system that meets all the minimum compliance requirements of the State Records Principles and Standards 2002.  These Principles and Standards are defined in Section 61 of the State Records Act and came into effect in March 2002, and cover the management of records by state organisations including Local Government.  The Principles and Standards are:
Standard 1: Government Record Keeping
Standard 2: Record-Keeping Plans
Standard 3: Appraisal of Records
Standard 4: Restricted access archives
Standard 5: Compulsory transfer of archives
Standard 6: Outsourcing.

Standard 2: Record Keeping Plans covers records that are created by the organisation and how it is to keep its records.  Failure to keep records in accordance with the principles and standards is an offence under the State Records Act 2000 and can incur a fine of $10,000

AS ISO 15489: Information and documentation – Records Management, has replaced the Australian Standard on record keeping, AS 4390-1996, Part 2 covers Responsibilities and Part 3: Strategies.

This international standard focuses on the business principles behind records management and how organisations can establish a framework to enable a comprehensive records management programme.

HB 275-2001: Knowledge Management: A framework for succeeding in the knowledge era
Knowledge Management (KM) is a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge. KM focuses on processes such as acquiring, creating and sharing knowledge and the cultural and technical foundations that support them. This handbook outlines a framework that is designed to reduce confusion about KM, instil confidence in the value of the field and to assist organisations in its implementation.

AS/NZS 7799.2:2003 : Information security management – Specification for information security management systems
This standard specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving a documented ISMS within the context of the organization’s overall business risks. It specifies requirements for the implementation of security controls customized to the needs of individual organizations or parts thereof.

Safeguarding Australia’s Web Resources: Guidelines for Creators and Publishers
The National Library of Australia have been working towards ensuring the ongoing access to online resources.  With the dependence on computers and their short time span to obsolescence the real problem of losing Australia’s documentary heritage is increasing.  The guidelines are available from:

State Records Office Publications:
The following items are available for purchase from the SRO.
Records Disposal : A Handbook for Government Agencies (2000)
General Disposal Authority for Human Resource Management Records (revised 1999)
General Disposal Authority for Financial and Accounting Records (1996)
General Disposal Authority for Local Government Records (revised 1999)
How to Design a Records Management Procedure Manual (1995)
Policies and Standards Manual (incremental , launched 1992)
State Records Commission – Principles and Standards (incremental , launched 2002)

DIRKS (Designing and Implementing Record Keeping Systems)
The DIRKS methodology is an eight-step process developed by the National Archives of Australia, and is used as a method to improve Record Keeping and information management practices in Australia. This includes how to design and implement a record keeping system within an organisation.

AGLS – Australian Government Locator Service
The National Archives of Australia also produce the AGLS Standard.  This standard contains a set of 19 descriptive elements which government departments and agencies can use to improve the visibility and accessibility of their services and information over the Internet. It is based upon the leading international online resource discovery metadata standard known as the Dublin Core standard.
AGLS was published as Australian Standard AS 5044 by Standards Australia in December 2002.

Dublin Core Metadata Standard
The Dublin Core is a 15-element metadata set intended to facilitate discovery of electronic resources. Originally conceived for author-generated description of Web resources, it has also attracted the attention of formal resource description communities such as museums and libraries.

VERS – Victorian Electronic Records Strategy
Specifies a single, minimal framework for the management of electronic records
The VERS standard specifies a long term format for the capture of records which need to be preserved for an extended period   This is achieved with the use of the PDF (Portable Document Format) to ensure can be viewed in the future regardless of the system that created them
VERS specifies methods to automate the capture of records from the desktop and agency business systems
Uses XML as the format in which information about records is captured and encapsulate with the records to ensure that they will be understood in context in the future.
The use of electronic signaturing technology ensures that changes to records using the VERS methodology are detectable.