Unpacking Policy Requirement 2 – Agencies must systematically manage records using governance practices that are integrated and consistent with broader agency frameworks

Don’t leave it up to luck! If you aren’t managing your records systematically, you aren’t getting the most out of them.

Today we’re talking about Policy Requirement 2, in our series where we delve into the what and why of the Records Governance Policy.

Just like Policy Requirement 1, this requirement is about the structure and supports for recordkeeping in your agency. In the past, we’ve provided agencies with a checklist and said that you need to have a policy, or a strategy, or a plan. Don’t get us wrong! These things are an important part of records governance – but only when they work with, not against, the rest of your agency’s governance framework.

So this time, we’ve taken a different approach.

Rather than making assumptions about your business and telling you what you need, we’re letting you decide. You know your business better than we do so you need to decide what you need in your records governance framework. Policy Requirement 2 needs you to use what you’re already doing (your agency-wide governance practices) to do your recordkeeping.

But that’s only the first part. The second part is about how you integrate your records governance into the rest of your agency’s governance framework.

Records are important, not just as enablers of open, accountable and modern government, but as tools that support agencies to achieve their strategic goals. To meet this policy requirement, your agency needs to integrate recordkeeping into its strategies, policies, and goals.

How does this work? Well, let’s have a look…

Ensuring records and information governance is aligned with broader agency frameworks and incorporated in business strategies and objectives

What is it about?

The purpose of this element is for agencies to consciously and deliberately factor recordkeeping into their business strategies and objectives. This isn’t just about encouraging agencies to meet their recordkeeping requirements. Giving recordkeeping a more strategic focus also helps agencies do their work better.

Good recordkeeping means an agency knows what it’s doing and how it’s doing it. This allows the agency to make informed, strategic decisions such as how it can improve its business activities, reduce inefficiencies and, of course, work towards its strategic goals.

What do I have to do?

This policy requirement needs you to work with what you already have. It’s about integration and harmony – building recordkeeping into your functions and activities rather than the other way around.

Look at the other areas of your agency and their governance frameworks. How can you align your recordkeeping governance with these frameworks? How can you embed records governance into each framework as well as your agency’s strategic goals and business objectives?

Developing and implementing appropriate and fit-for-purpose documentation that details how active records management will strengthen agency business imperatives and strategic goals

What is it about?

The purpose of this element is ensuring you have the tools that you need to support the implementation of your records governance. Just like above, whatever tools you choose need to suit you and your business.

What do I have to do?

Consider your existing governance frameworks and determine what tools you currently use in other areas of the agency such as methodologies, policies, plans or other tools. Develop records governance documentation that complements existing governance frameworks – whatever form it takes. Whatever documentation you come up with should have a clear link between recordkeeping and your strategic goals.

Complying with relevant legislation that governs recordkeeping requirements

What is it about?

This is the compliance part of Policy Requirement 2. Are you keeping the records you are required to keep for the right length of time and in the right format? We’re not just talking about the Public Records Act 2002 either. Your agency may have additional legislative requirements based on your financial activities, what industry you work in and other circumstances.

What do I have to do?

You need to do what’s commonly called a ‘legislative mapping’. You can find out what legislation applies to your agency from the Queensland Arrangements Administrative Order, your annual report and other publications, internal documents, your website and through talking to employees.

Have a look at the ForGov website for more information on identifying your responsibilities.

The real work starts after you know what your requirements are. Once you’ve got that down, take these recordkeeping requirements and the related compliance activities and make sure they are integrated into your broader governance frameworks and strategic initiatives. Are the compliance activities a seamless part of the business activity or do they require extra effort on the part of staff? Do strategic initiatives and plans account for recordkeeping from the start? Do broader governance frameworks support the recordkeeping activities?

Measuring how well records governance is supporting agency business imperatives and strategic goals

What is it about?

The best governance frameworks aren’t stationary. To continue supporting your agency to achieve its goals, your record governance framework needs to change over time as your agency’s goals, priorities and circumstances change. And the only way to tell when it needs to change is to keep an eye on it.

What do I have to do?

How you measure whether your records governance is providing the best support for your business imperatives and strategic goals will be different for every agency.

In the past, we’ve often had a focus on operational stats (How many records do you have? What format are they in? etc). These stats and metrics have their place but they’re probably not enough to tell you about the strategic side of things. You should choose measurements and metrics that give you meaningful information about how well you are achieving your strategic goals. Whatever metrics you choose should allow you to see over time any changes, improvement or issues. How will you be able to tell when you’re reached your strategic goals? Will you have more engaged customers, healthier communities, a greener local council? These are the metrics you want to be capturing.

We’re excited about this policy requirement because it’s all about transforming your recordkeeping from operational to strategic – using the same governance practices that you already have! We know this requirement may mean thinking about records in a completely new way and that this takes time. We want to work with you to help you get there.

We’re developing more resources to help agencies implement the Records Governance Policy and looking at how we interact with agencies at all levels to help develop the recordkeeping culture here in Queensland.

What do you think about Policy Requirement 2? How is your agency currently using recordkeeping to achieve its strategic goals? Do you have ideas or comments you want to share? Leave us a comment below!

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog as we unpack every element of this policy over the next few weeks.

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Government Recordkeeping

 

Featured image: Golden Casket drawing in progress, 1967 QSA Item ID 435989

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