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REPORT UK STUDY VISIT ELECTRONIC RECORDS MANAGEMENT

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REPORT UK STUDY VISIT ELECTRONIC RECORDS MANAGEMENT

REPORT ON THE ELECTRONIC RECORDSMANAGEMENT STUDY VISIT TO THE

    UNITED KINGDOM: 20 SEPT.3 OCTOBER 2003 AND THEFOLLOW-UP

    WORKSHOP IN PRETORIA:25-28 NOVEMBER 2003: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

     A comprehensive report on both the Electronic Records Management

    Study Trip (London 20 Sept-3 October 2003) and the follow-up workshop

    (Pretoria: 25-28 Nov. 2003) is attached

1. FIELDS OF INTEREST

    The following specific areas of interest were studied during the visit:

    ? The IRMT and Commonwealth Secretariat.

    ? Relevant legislation in both the UK and RSA.

    ? Electronic records management.

    ? Implementation and roll-out of electronic records management software

    programmes; demonstrations of electronic records management software

    products.

    ? Electronic document management.

    ? Digitisation, digitisation programmes and related scanning.

    ? Digital archiving, with an emphasis on archiving databases and websites.

    ? Related IT issues.

    ? Records management (paper and electronic) in the following functional

    environments:

    - health

    - audit

    - trade and industry

    - libraries and archives

    - local government

    ? Cultural/change management.

    ? Electronic governance.

    ? Digital cataloguing of and online access to archives.

    ? Records management in general.

    Fields of interest that was discussed during the follow-up workshop revolved not

    around electronic records management only, but around records management

    capacity building in general.

2. RECURRING THEMES

     The following recurring themes developed as the study visit progressed:

    2.1 General 2.1.1 Electronic records management underpins electronic government and

    governance.

    2.1.2 The government modernisation programme in the UK, as the driving force behind

    electronic records management. In this context, certain parallels can be drawn

    between the UK FoI legislation and this country’s PAIA legislation. The UK FoI

    legislation only takes effect in 2005, while this country’s PAIA legislation has

    already been implemented.

2.1.3 The professionalism and enthusiasm of all individuals and facilitators who

    presented the study programme.

    2.1.4 The high regard there is in the UK for the profession of records management and

    archives, as well as for the UK-NA itself.

    2.1.5 The status of records management in general and especially electronic records

    management, use of technology and archiving, both digital and in paper format. 2.1.6 A lot more responsibility for certain aspects of records management is given to

    government offices and expected from them, than is the case in RSA, particularly

    with regard to file plans and appraisal.

    2.1.7 Computer literacy is vital for all staff and placing of computers is also important.

    2.1.8 Completely different appraisal methods, which also impact on the compilation of

    file plans.

    2.1.9 Different organisations implemented different solutions, according to their varying

    functions, needs, etc. Not one office had exactly the same solution. 2.1.10 Records Management practices in the conventional paper environment in UK

    organisations seem less regulated than in South Africa, but the UK archival

    legislation is being revised to include records management as a statutory

    imperative.

2.2 Use of ERM software

2.2.1 Driven by targets for UK FoI legislation.

    2.2.2 Senior management buy-in.

    2.2.3 Pilots before full roll-outs and obtain feedback from staff.

    2.2.4 Information architecture should be done first.

    2.2.5 Decisions and policies about which documents should be declared/captured as

    records, which records should be kept and for how long. 2.2.6 Inventory of all electronic records in an organisation.

    2.2.7 Security and access.

    2.2.8 Compliance with international electronic records management standards.

    2.2.9 Use of ERM to promote and improve business processes, the importance of

    underlying business benefits and the use of business cases. 2.2.10 The importance of cultural/change management issues and communication with

    staff. Some offices made use of newsletters/publicity and information brochures. 2.2.11 Systems must be user friendly.

    2.2.12 Training.

    2.2.13 ERM projects take time full roll-out and implementation can take up to three

    years.

    2.2.14 Use of comprehensive thesaurus to enable efficient search and retrieval and

    accommodate specific technical and functional languages.

     The following themes developed during the follow-up workshop

    ? Lack of senior management support

    ? No clarity about roles and responsibilities of the NARS, DPSA, GITOC and

    SITA

    ? Lack of capacity in provinces to manage records

    ? Client offices buy products without doing proper user requirement

    specifications and then have to compromise their needs to suit the products.

     ii

    3. THE SOUTH AFRICAN ARCHIVAL CONTEXT

    3.1 Approach to file plans

     All the institutions dealt with during the study visit agreed that correspondence

    conducted in the electronic environment must be structured in one way or the

    other, according to a structured plan and filed according to such a plan.

     The following similarities between approaches to the use and development of file

    plans in the UK and the South African archival requirements were noticed:

? manual processes and procedures must be in place before computerisation;

    ? use of a functional file plan, where the focus is on functional rather than

    organisational principles, as restructuring occurs often; a classification

    structure centred on functions and activities is not subject to organisational

    changes and fluctuations;

    ? only records management components design file plans;

    ? requests for input from all staff regarding some of the following aspects:

    - examining existing filing structure

    - naming documents/folders

    - use of meaningful names and avoiding generic folder names such as

    “miscellaneous”, “private”, “new”, personal names, etc.

    - grouping of like subjects together

    - thinking about how long documents should be retained

The following differences were noted:

    ? the NAO uses a phased approach to building a file plan, developing with

    the business as the ERM system is developed; in the South Africa file

    plans are developed and approved up front, as a unit, according to NARS

    requirements;

    ? in the electronic environment the UK DTI does not have only specialists

    opening folders all 5000 staff members open electronic folders with

    control points at the middle level; sub-folder problems are prevented by

    the use of good naming convention policies at the DTI;

    ? at the British Library, only records management staff creates electronic

    folders;

    3.2 The role of the records management component of the NARS and the Provincial

    Archives Services as far as the management of electronic records is concerned,

    is a regulatory, monitoring one. The components are not responsible for the

    actual implementation and institution of such programmes, but rather with

    ensuring that all requirements of the NARS legislation and records management

    principles and policies are adhered to. The component also provides guidance

    and information in this regard. It is very important that this distinction be

    understood. The responsibility for actual roll-out and implementation lies with

    each individual organisation, including the relevant records management units in

    each department.

    3.3 In South Africa all government offices in all spheres, make use of a variety of

    electronic systems, in addition to and including conducting correspondence

     iii

    electronically in various formats. However, the position of compliance with records management standards and legislation is not up to standard in most offices, although there are organisations that do comply with certain standards and aspects of legislation. It is not within the scope of this report to go into detail about this matter. However, it is necessary to mention the fact that most government offices do not yet grasp the importance of ensuring that all electronic records are managed in according with records management principles, policies and standards laid down by the NARS. This is despite a concerted effort at educating offices in this regard, due to a lot of resistance from officials within the organisations.

     iv

    REPORT ON THE ELECTRONIC RECORDS

    MANAGEMENT STUDY VISIT TO THE UNITED

    KINGDOM: 20 SEPT.3 OCT. 2003 AND THE

    FOLLOW-UP WORKSHOP IN PRETORIA:

    25-28 NOV. 2003

    Front entrance to the National Archives, UK

    (From the National Archives, UK Website, 2004)

     Louisa Venter, Lesego Phachane

     and Cecilia Cassingham

     2004-03-15

    CONTENTS

     Page

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS iii

1. Purpose of the Report 1

2 Purpose of the Study Visit 1

3. Purpose of the Follow-up Workshop 1

    4. Sponsors, Facilitators and Participants 2 4.1 Sponsor: The Commonwealth Secretariat 2

    4.2 Facilitators: The International Records Management Trust 2

    4.3 Participants 3

    4.3.1 Study Visit 3

    4.3.2 Follow-up workshop 3

5. Report on Activities 4

    5.1 Study Visit 4

    5.1.1 Introduction and practicalities, outline and objectives of the programme 4

    5.1.2 Report on study sessions dealing with Electronic Records Management 5

    5.1.2.1 Electronic Records Management in UK Government

     Departments: Overview of Programmes and Strategies,

     Directives and Legislation. 5

    5.1.2.2 TRIM Context in Operation 6

    5.1.2.3 Site Visit: National Audit Office 7 5.1.2.4 Videos on Electronic Governance 9 5.1.2.5 Presentation: Department of Trade and Industry Electronic Records

     Management Implementation 9

    5.1.2.6 Site Visit: British Library 10 5.1.2.7 Site Visit: Oxleas NHS Trust: Information and Electronic Records

     Management Systems and Operations 15

    5.1.2.8 Demonstration: Valid Electronic Records Management System 21 5.1.2.9 General observations 22

    5.1.3 Report on study sessions dealing with digital archiving, online

     cataloguing and archives repositories 23

    5.1.3.1 National Archives of the UK 23 5.1.3.2 Viewing of the PROCAT System 26 5.1.3.3 Digital Preservation at the National Archives, UK 26 5.1.3.4 UK Local Government 28 5.1.3.4.1 Essex Records Office 29 5.1.3.4.2 East Sussex Records Offices 32 5.1.3.5 National Digital Archive of Datasets 35

    5.1.3.5.1 Introduction to NDAD 35

    5.1.3.5.2 Study Session 35

    5.1.3.6 General observations 36

    5.1.3.6.1 Digital Archives and Web Archives 36

    5.1.3.6.2 National Digital Archives of Datasets 37

     i

    5.1.4 Report on other Study Sessions 37 5.1.4.1 Visits to historical buildings 37 5.1.4.2 Introductory Records Management Course NA-UK 37 5.1.4.3 Workshop Session on Development of own ERM Strategy

     and Implementation Plans 40

5.1.5 End of Study Visit 40

5.2 Follow-up Workshop: 41

6. Recommendations 47

    6.1 Recommendations applicable to the NARS 47

    6.2 Recommendations applicable to the Western Cape Archives 48

7. The way forward 49

8. Expressions of thanks and appreciation 49

     ii

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

CALM Digital cataloguing system, East Sussex County Council Records Centre

    DfES Department for Education and Skills, UK DTI Department of Trade and Industry, UK

    EDRMS Electronic Document and Records Management System ECC Essex County Council

    ERO Essex Records Office

    ERM Electronic Records Management

    FoI Freedom of Information Act, UK

    IRMT International Records Management Trust

    IT Information Technology

    NAO National Audit Office, UK

    NARS National Archives and Records Service, RSA NA-UK National Archives, UK

    NDAD National Digital Archive of Datasets, UK NHS National Health Service, UK

    PAIA Promotion of Access to Information Act, RSA PAWCProvincial Administration: Western Cape

    PGITO Provincial Government Information Technology Officer PRO Public Record Office, UK, now National Archives PROCAT Online digital cataloguing system, NA-UK SEAX Online digital cataloguing system, ERO

    ULCC University of London Computer Centre

     iii

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