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Subject:

FOI,DPA Survey

From:

<[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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Date:

Wed, 12 Jul 00 14:16:21

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (60 lines)

 From: Alison Drew - Archivist, City Museums and Records Office M
 *** Resending note of 12/07/00 12:28                                          E
 To: 141MLPR --PCC      Alison Drew

 From: Paul Gibbons
 Subject: FOI,DPA Survey
 cc. 727plpr
 Alison, I wonder if you could forward the following to the NRA list. Many thank
 s, Paul
 I have been asked to provide a summary of the responses to the mini-survey that
  Alison kindly posted to the list on my behalf a couple of weeks ago. The resul
 ts are interesting, if perhaps a little worrying. I received responses from 10
 people.
 1. Staffing. In local government, staffing for RM ranged from 1 (2 part time po
 sts) to 5. Those with more staff have been better placed to take advantage of c
 urrent developments. In 2 cases, a records or document manager had been employe
 d corporately to oversee RM throughout the organisation. They were independent
 of the existing archives/RM set up. The respondents appeared to see this as a p
 ositive thing - one said "Archives will at long last break free of RM, knowing
 that there will be a responsible person in charge."
 2. FOI and DPA. One service was taking a proactive approach (notably a fairly w
 ell resourced RM service), sending out questionnaires to departments and planni
 ng follow-up surveys for depts who didn't respond. A few others were liaising w
 ith the corporate Data Protection Officer to greater or lesser degrees. Most we
 re "monitoring developments" - or waiting to be told what they needed to do.
 3. E-government & EDMS. The authority mentioned as taking a proactive approach
 to FOI and DPA was equally active on this issue. They have set up a working par
 ty, chaired by the Modern Records Archivist, with 3 main aims:
 i. replace paper records with electronic
 ii. promote and train for better use of existing software
 iii. meet govt. targets (aiming for original 2008 target)
 They have set up 4 pilot schemes, one for each dept.
 In other authorities, departments are working independently, and don't appear t
 o be involving archivists or records managers. Some saw Best Value and similar
 schemes as providing a basis for this work in the future.

 4. Best Value. Most have not been assessed as yet, archives and RM being left u
 ntil last in most local authorities (no surprise there then). One which had bee
 n assessed reported that they were undergoing market testing (though with the l
 evel of staffing that they had, it seems difficult to envisage a cheaper option
 !).

 Susan Healy also reminded me that the Lord Chancellors code of practice, when p
 ublished, should strengthen our case for improved RM.

 Interesting reading I'm sure you'll agree. Though the sample was small, I think
  it supports my own belief that local government is extremely unprepared for cu
 rrent government initiatives and legislation, and that we as a profession are i
 n danger of missing out on the best opportunity we have had to improve our serv
 ices. I hope this will provoke some discussion amongst the profession - I don't
  believe that these issues are being discussed enough at present.
 Thanks again to those who responded to my survey.
 Paul Gibbons,
 Modern Records Archivist,
 Portsmouth City Council



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