AFP Modernise Record-Keeping with $A3.6M Deal

Two years after a scathing report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has issued two contracts worth over $A3.6 million dollars to implement records management systems from solution provider iCognition and local AI developer CastlePoint.

In 2021 the ANAO published a report critical of the AFP’s record-keeping processes and practices, including its extensive use of file shares, and recommended the implementation of an Electronic Document and Records Management System (ERDMS)

It found that “The AFP’s poor digital record-keeping is a risk to the integrity of its operations.”

Despite a project that commenced in 2015 to migrate to an EDRMS, it found that the AFP still stored the bulk of its information on shared drives, a web-based collaboration tool and the PROMIS Case Management system.

The ANAO stated that “As a matter of urgency, the Australian Federal Police should implement an Electronic Data and Records Management System (EDRMS) to allow it to store records so that they are secure and readily accessible.

 “… [it] keeps more than 90 per cent of its digital operational records in network drives which are not considered by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) to be appropriate for that purpose.

“Records in network drives are not secure from unauthorised access, alteration or deletion.

“The AFP does not have the capacity to identify all digital records that it holds on any individual or entity.

“ … the AFP does not have an EDRMS and by its own reckoning, ‘has digital records in approximately 700 business systems’.

“The AFP has a number of network drives but the main drive is known as the S drive. The AFP advised in October 2020 that the S drive contained approximately 680 TB of data. There are no mandated naming conventions for the S drive and officers are free to create folders as and when they choose.

“There are a total of 137,111 folders in the S drive. Some of these folders bear simply a Christian name or surname, and others had names such as Ideas ‘n stuff, Old stuff, Misc, Junk, My music and Footy tips 2002.”

Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw responded that while “the AFP accepts that the distributed nature of information holdings within the AFP posed challenges for the ANAO’s independent verification of material. Pleasingly, the AFP is unaware of any instance where it could not produce a document requested by the ANAO with the exception of one original affidavit retained by the issuing officer.

“Further, when drawing conclusions on record-keeping, it should be acknowledged that policing and court processes remain heavily dependent on paper-based records. For example, paper-based warrants remain a necessary feature of policing.”

Kershaw promised the AFP would establish a “dedicated implementation team” to respond to the findings of the ANAO report, which cost $A532,000 to produce.

The AFP has 6,834 staff of which more than 4000 are either police officers or protective service officers.

iCognition has been issued a contract worth $A2.7 million running over three years from August 2023. The firm is a specialist reseller and integrator of OpenText Content Manager, and has overseen over 500 enterprise information and governance implementations in the last two decades. It also offers as a range of add-on solutions for Content Manager that enhance workflow, collaboration and connections to other line of business systems.

iCognition will be working together with Castlepoint which has been issued a contract worth $918,218 over the same period. Castlepoint offers an AI platform to manage retention and disposal across shared drives, legacy EDRMS, Office 365, business systems, cloud-hosted systems, and other business systems. It claims that two thirds of Australian federal government portfolios have implemented its AI-driven platform.