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Review, monitor and report on recordkeeping

You should regularly review, monitor, and report on agency recordkeeping, including your records management systems, tools, and resources.

Agencies have different levels of recordkeeping maturity depending on their size, function, levels of risk, and resources.

Reviewing and monitoring your recordkeeping practices will help you determine your recordkeeping maturity levels and ensure your recordkeeping practices are appropriate for your agency.

The monitoring and reviewing process should be based on your agency’s recordkeeping requirements and specific circumstances.

Reporting is an important part of reviewing and monitoring activities.

You may need to make changes to your recordkeeping system if you:

  • have identified that there are recordkeeping requirements you are not meeting
  • have identified that there are system functionalities missing that you need
  • you want to make your recordkeeping or business activities more efficient or innovative
  • are undergoing a machinery-of-government or administrative change.

1. Benefits of reviewing and monitoring

Regularly reviewing and monitoring recordkeeping practices will:

  • establish and enforce approved practices
  • guide resources to where they are needed most
  • help you meet your recordkeeping requirements and support your agency’s business needs
  • give you accurate information about how effective your recordkeeping systems are and what improvements can be made
  • allow you to regularly report to senior management about issues, challenges and achievements of the records management program
  • determine recordkeeping maturity levels in your agency and provide you with data to identify short and long-term trends
  • prevent corruption by ensuring accountability and integrity.

2. Reviewing your recordkeeping

You should review recordkeeping regularly and consistently as part of your records management program.

Reviewing involves systematically considering your business, recordkeeping requirements, risks and recordkeeping system to determine if it is meeting your needs.

It is the process of examining your recordkeeping activities to determine whether it is satisfactory at a particular point in time.

Monitoring is the process of continuous examination to maintain awareness of what is occurring.

Review methods

There are a number of ways to review your recordkeeping such as:

3. Scope of a review

A review may concern your whole agency or a distinct part. It may focus on one aspect of your recordkeeping system or all parts such as:

Frequency

For most agencies, 2 to 3 years between assessments is reasonable.

If you have implemented changes, you need to allow a sufficient amount of time for them to take effect. Making changes may mean you need to increase the frequency of reviews.

4. Monitoring your recordkeeping

We recommend that you continually monitor your recordkeeping functions. You should develop a plan for how you will monitor your recordkeeping.

You can use the outcome of previous recordkeeping surveys as a benchmark for what to measure.

Monitoring outcomes should be reported to senior management.

When to monitor

The frequency and degree of monitoring is up to your agency. It will depend on your risk assessment and how you have chosen to address those risks.

You can also incorporate monitoring recordkeeping into broader agency monitoring and evaluation programs.

How to monitor

You can collect evidence to assess your recordkeeping performance by:

  • reviewing compliance with recordkeeping policies, plans and procedures at regular intervals–are staff using these documents and are they useful?
  • examining documentation from audits or reviews including the QSA recordkeeping survey–were gaps identified as a result of these reviews?
  • conducting file audits–can you locate records quickly? Are all staff capturing records into your systems? Are record titling conventions being followed?
  • analysing feedback/helpdesk requests–can you identify common issues?
  • capturing regular metrics-are you meeting your KPIs?

Feedback

You can use feedback to help your assessment and gauge staff awareness of recordkeeping through:

  • interviews–individual or workshop
  • internal surveys–ensure that you clearly define the purpose and only conduct them as often as is necessary
  • intranet site–if you have an internal forum or blog
  • training and awareness sessions–review participant comments.

Metrics

What metrics or KPIs you choose to monitor will be different for each agency.

You may use external sources as a benchmark (e.g. the QSA survey or International Standards) or choose your own metrics based on:

  • your strategic goals
  • your overall operational objectives
  • your recordkeeping requirements
  • your recordkeeping objectives (e.g. to switch to an eDRMS, to improve recordkeeping knowledge amongst staff, etc)
  • any changes you have made to your recordkeeping system.

Key performance indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be part of your recordkeeping monitoring.

They can provide useful information on recordkeeping activities as well as how well records and recordkeeping are supporting your agency to achieve its strategic goals. KPIs should be:

  • clearly linked to these strategic or operational goals and be unambiguous
  • based on business metrics – a quantifiable measure that you can use to determine the status of a particular activity or process.

When choosing KPIs consider:

  • what issue you want to address
  • what metric or metrics can you use to find out if the issue is still occurring
  • what KPI you can reasonably expect.
  • The KPIs selected should support your agency’s vision and objectives and set targets for people and teams in your agency to aim towards without becoming an administrative burden in their own right.

See an example of a how to align objectives, strategies and KPIs.

5. Reporting on your recordkeeping

While there are no mandatory reporting requirements, reporting on recordkeeping:

  • should be included in your reviewing and monitoring activities
  • will provide evidence to support changing recordkeeping practices
  • can be used to inform and gain support from senior management.

What reporting is done and who it is provided to (the CEO, senior executives, management staff, all staff, etc) depends on your agency’s needs and can be used to detail your findings from your monitoring and reviewing activities.

Reporting should be based on your agency’s needs and can be used to detail your findings from your monitoring and reviewing activities.

Examples of useful regular reports are:

  • daily report on recordkeeping system and data quality checks
  • monthly management report on recordkeeping statistics that may detail activities such as:
    • disposal
    • document searches, transfers, registrations, retrievals
    • planned activities/follow-up actions
    • helpdesk enquiries.
  • monthly records management update to information steering committees
  • quarterly reports on projects/programs of work, for example:

See an example of recordkeeping statistics in a monthly report.

6. Recordkeeping maturity assessment tool

The Recordkeeping maturity assessment tool sets out what mature records and information management can look like for agencies and provides guidance for agencies seeking to improve their maturity.

It outlines five levels of recordkeeping maturity (undeveloped, developing, acceptable, managed, embedded) and uses key performance indicators that align with the Records governance policy to describe each level.

The tool retains the flexible and scalable approach of the policy and allows agencies to chart their own path towards mature recordkeeping while providing guidance on how to transition across the levels.

Primarily aimed towards records managers, the tool may be useful to anyone seeking to measure or improve their agencies recordkeeping maturity.

Resources

7. Annual reports

Section 15.5 of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s Annual report requirements for Queensland Government agencies provides guidelines about the types of information you should include in your annual report.

8. Review or change your recordkeeping system

Review recordkeeping

If you have a recordkeeping system, but you’re not sure whether you have all the components covered, take some time to review your recordkeeping practices.

If you are going through a machinery-of-government (MOG) or administrative change, you should review your recordkeeping system to understand how the change will impact recordkeeping in your agency, identify potential issues, and what you can do to make the change easier.

If the MOG or administrative change is an amalgamation or merger with one or more other agencies, you will need to review your existing recordkeeping processes to establish new ones for the new merged agency.

Transition between recordkeeping systems

System upgrades or MOG and administrative changes may require you to transition between recordkeeping systems.

You should review recordkeeping practices in your agency and identify areas for improvement. Improvements can be implemented in the new system.

You will need to plan for the transition. Consider:

  • the current elements of your recordkeeping system—tools, procedures, policies, technology, people, and your business requirements
  • what elements of your current system will change and how
  • which elements will stay the same
  • changes to tools, procedures, services and resources
  • what delegations are in place and whether changes re necessary
  • the impact on staff
  • what training and communication is required
  • the timing–when should the transition happen  and how long should it take
  • legislative requirements and ensuring responsibilities will continue to be met.

If you are merging systems (e.g. as part of a MOG or administrative change), you’ll need to discuss the transition with the other agencies and agree how the new system will work. You can:

  • implement a completely new recordkeeping system
  • combine elements of both agencies’ systems into a revised system
  • maintain one system and discontinue others
  • continue using elements of separate systems as required.

Note: Some elements may need to be updated or developed to suit or you may need to use a combination of the above options.

Find out how to migrate records between business systems and applications.

Find out what you need to do in a machinery-of-government or administrative change.

If you are transitioning to an eDRMS, consider if, when, and how paper records should be digitised. This can be retrospectively or from the point of implementation of the new system.

9. Recordkeeping surveys

Building Digital Capability–the Records Governance Policy Survey

Queensland States Archives (QSA) will be conducting a survey designed to measure public authorities’ recordkeeping maturity and compliance with the Records Governance Policy.

The results of the survey will help to inform QSA initiatives and provide insight into the challenges, barriers and solutions to establishing effective digital recordkeeping. Agencies may also use the survey to measure their own progress in implementing the Policy. The survey will be repeated annually and used to measure progress and changes in recordkeeping capability across Queensland public authorities.

The survey covers all Queensland public authorities, including Queensland Government departments, local government authorities, statutory authorities, commissions, tertiary education bodies, and government-owned corporations.

The Baseline Survey will be released soon.

For more information on the survey and how to be prepared for it, see the Baseline Survey overview factsheet (PDF, 80 KB), and our blog posts The New QSA Survey is nearly here! and Be prepared! The Baseline Survey is coming.

This survey replaces the previous recordkeeping survey conducted every 2 years since 2009. For results from the previous survey, see the full 2014-15 Report on the recordkeeping survey of Queensland public authorities (PDF, 1.01 MB) or the survey summary (PDF, 390 KB), infographic (PDF, 378 KB), and blog post.

Other surveys

QSA also conducts surveys on specific recordkeeping topics, for example, social media, digital archiving, and training programs.

Survey responses help us:

  • understand current recordkeeping challenges
  • identify trends
  • monitor changes over time
  • guide the development of future policy and advice.

Survey results can also help you assess levels of recordkeeping performance across business units and highlight areas that need attention.