Public offices should have plans to prepare for and manage the effects of natural disasters on their records and information, says NZ Chief Archivist Greg Goulding in his latest report on the state of government recordkeeping.
"Archives New Zealand is committed to assisting in the rescue and recovery of public records in Canterbury," Mr Goulding said.
"The Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 have shown the impact that natural disasters can have on New Zealand. Although natural disasters have significant and visible effects, disasters can occur in many forms. Information from Archives New Zealand's annual government recordkeeping survey indicates that many public offices are not as prepared as they should be to manage the effects of disasters on their records and information.
“Appropriate disaster recovery/business continuity planning for records and information management can assist in both prevention and response."
The Chief Archivist's Report on the State of Government Recordkeeping 2010 also makes recommendations to ensure information is well managed during times of changes within the public sector.
"In this world of constant change it is more important than ever for public sector agencies to develop good information management frameworks to ensure continuity of government services and continued accountability of government," Mr Goulding says.
As public offices increase the delivery of online services there are opportunities to ensure that information management is integrated into system design. Ensuring systems can create and maintain reliable business information and records supports efficient business practice and helps enable the delivery of better, smarter public services.
The report also reflects on the five years since the passing of the NZ Public Records Act 2005. During this time significant progress has been made in public sector recordkeeping practices.
Archives New Zealand has identified three enablers of good information management in which public offices have made notable improvement:
* 93 per cent of public offices state they now have, or are working towards implementing a formal recordkeeping programme
* Many more offices are also working towards systems to support compliance within the Act; demonstrating there is an increased realisation within public offices of the benefits of full and accurate recordkeeping
* Public offices must be authorised by the Chief Archivist to dispose of their records. Disposal covers a range of activities including destruction or transfer to Archives New Zealand. In 2010 close to half of all public offices have gained disposal authorisation from the Chief Archivist for their core business records.
Implementation of disposal authorities is identified as a major area for improvement. Regular and routine disposal of public records is a key way to improve business efficiency. Only managing information for as long as it is required to be kept reduces storage costs and saves unnecessary time managing records that are no longer required.
Mr Goulding says many historic records of value to New Zealand are held in public offices throughout the country. Transferring them to Archives New Zealand eases the burden on public offices to care for these records and lets them focus on their core business.
The report is available on Archives New Zealand's website http://archives.govt.nz/chief-archivists-annual-report-state-government-...