Make changes to your records governance

Consider your current records governance to determine if it is meeting your recordkeeping requirements, adequately addressing risks, and capturing the records you need to capture.

Even where your needs are being met by your current records governance framework, you may still decide that you wish to make changes to your system to address any inefficiencies or make improvements.

An easy way to identify potential improvements is to transform each requirement and functionality into a series of questions that you will seek to answer.

For example, if the recordkeeping requirement is for records of employment history to be kept, you may need to ask yourself:

  • What records capture the necessary information?
  • Is the system able to link these records to provide a history? e.g. through metadata or manually placing all the records into the same storage folder
  • How is this information updated or added to as circumstances change?
  • Who is authorised to access this information?
  • Does the system have the ability to track modifications, when they occurred and who made them to ensure authenticity and reliability?
  • Do training, policies or other resources support staff to understand these access and collection rules and why they exist?
  • Who maintains these records and information to ensure they are preserved appropriately?
  • When and how are these records transferred to QSA?

If your current system is not able to meet your requirements, or you have identified areas that could be improved, you will need to consider making changes to your recordkeeping practices.

To determine what changes you want to or can make, you will need to consider:

Implementation considerations

Not every records governance framework will work for every agency.

When deciding what changes to implement, you should think about:

  • your agency’s culture
  • geographic spread
  • resourcing.

Culture

Take your agency’s culture into account when deciding what changes to make.

Consider if your agency or staff are resistant to change, risk averse, time-poor, have minimal computer literacy, or high workloads.

Making additional efforts to include all staff through consultation can help staff to feel buy-in to any changes ultimately made (and help to design a fit-for-purpose solution).

Risk averse staff may appreciate clear and unambiguous policies and procedures that clearly lay out their responsibilities.

Additional or more intensive training may be required if staff have minimal computer literacy skills and are required to use technology to capture and access records they need.

Changes that make recordkeeping invisible (e.g. through capturing metadata automatically rather than manually) may offer time savings to ease pressure on staff with heavy workloads.

The larger the change, the more support will be required.

Geographic spread

Geographical considerations may also be relevant to your agency. Not all locations may be able or suited to adopting the same approach.

For example, an agency with a heavy regional presence may not be suited to an internet-based solution (e.g. using a Cloud-based storage system) if internet access is not reliable in all offices.

Similarly, digital records that everyone can access over physical records may be better suited if records are needed by multiple offices, or mobile or travelling staff.

Resourcing

Any changes you undertake will have different costs in terms of expenses, staff and time.

Whether these costs are acceptable to your agency will depend on considerations such as:

  • what resources are available
  • the problem or issue that will be addressed by the change (minor or serious)
  • the benefits of the change
  • the timing of the change (is it part of larger changes being undertaken simultaneously or stand alone?)
  • who needs to approve the change
  • your agency’s priorities at that particular point in time.

Implementing your changes

Depending on the extent of the changes you will make, you may need to develop an implementation plan.

This plan is an important tool to ensure that you have thought through the implementation from start to finish:

  • Determine what changes will be made including considering:
    • system functionalities
    • technology and applications
    • recordkeeping tools
    • roles and responsibilities including delegations
    • policies and procedures
    • the timing–when should the transition happen and how long should it take
    • legislative requirements and ensuring responsibilities will continue to be met during any transition.
  • Determine what supporting documents and training is necessary to support the change including:
    • what training should be mandatory and what should be optional
    • what training should cover (content)
    • how frequently it should occur
    • what form it should take (face-to-face, online, etc)
    • what resources (e.g. manuals, factsheets, etc) are needed to support training
    • whether staff have identified any training needs.
  • Determine how long it will take implement the change.
  • Consult with internal (and external, if relevant) stakeholders on the change.
  • Obtain any necessary approvals.
  • Develop supporting documents and training if necessary.
  • Communicate with staff about the change.
  • Review the actions you have taken once complete to make any adjustments necessary including:
    • How will you know if you have achieved the outcome you set out to achieve?
    • How will you measure the suitability of the process you undertook? How will you measure staff/customer/stakeholder satisfaction?
    • How can you determine if the process or the change you undertook increased efficiency or reduced risk?

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