David Loukidelis | David Loukidelis QC Law Corporation | “The Duty to Document, Government Openness & Archives—How Can Governments Keep the Tail From Wagging the Dog?”

Many observers around the world advocate for a positive duty to document government decisions. A number of jurisdictions have gone down that road. Yet there is no clear consensus on the policy goals of such a duty, what its parameters should be and how it should be implemented. These are critically-important issues, since any duty to document naturally must account for the statutory, technological and administrative environment in which the duty exists. Vitally-important contextual considerations include freedom of information legislation, open government policies and systems and, not least, the existing archival framework (both legislative and administrative).

This presentation will survey international developments in creating and implementing a duty to document and examine some of the theoretical and practical questions that arise, including implications of a duty to document for freedom of information and open government initiatives and how a duty to document can align effectively with archival legislation and systems. Questions to be addressed within these areas include:

  • What is the case for a duty to document? Is it aspirational or is there evidence that a duty to document is a necessary step?
  • Given the broader implications of the duty to document, are ordinary-course policy formulation approaches up to the task of identifying and refining its policy goals? Are the usual processes adequate to the task of designing duty-to-document legislation and policies?
  • Assuming the duty to document will prompt freedom of information requests for documentation, how can governments ensure that documentation is managed to optimize access through such requests? What are the implications of a duty to document for open government programs, i.e., is there a case for pro-active disclosure of documentation, across the board or in selected areas? If the latter, which kinds of decisions should be pro-actively published? How and when?
  • Should a duty to document drive changes in records management and archival policies or procedures? If so, how?
  • Who should oversee implementation and how? Should oversight emphasize punitive or remedial methods?
  • Since culture eats policy for breakfast pretty well every day, how can governments ensure that a duty to document program succeeds day-by-day and over the long term?

Normand Charbonneau | Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Modern organizations are often policy driven, in the public sector in particular. In a world that is transforming at high speed where organizations need to seize opportunities to advance, where they are asked to be innovative and agile, where management tries to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset, isn’t there a discrepancy? The presenter will also talk about the development of policies in the context of the realpolitik of large organizations.

Elvis Otobo | Caleb University | “Impact of Policy Matters in Archive Management in Nigeria”

This paper will explore the impact of policy matters in archive management in Nigeria.  Archive management has both administrative and cultural functions. In Nigeria today, government agencies and large private organizations produce large quantity of records in different formats. (from paper files to computer disk and emails). These records need to be managed by qualified archivists and records managers. Efficient records and archives management is essential to accountability in government and making records access to information by the general public as stipulated in the Freedom of Information Act which was signed into law on 28th May, 2011. The Act was enacted to promote, enhance and develop our record management systems and precarious democracy. The National Archives Decree was promulgated in July, 1992 empowered the National Archives of Nigeria to establish as many branches as might be deemed necessary, convenient and to manage the archives.  The 1957 Archives Ordinance was first enacted but has since been repealed by the promulgation of the National Archives Decree no. 30 of July 8th 1992.

Preceding the advent of government policies on records and archives management, individuals, kingdoms and organizations maintained their own records and achieves in ways that are suitable to them. Some kingdoms even relied on oral archives; stories were told from generation to generation of what transpired.

It is important to note that before the enactment of the 1957Archive Decree, there was no official policy to rely on when we talk of archives and records management in Nigeria. The various enactments, laws and policies as contained in the National Archives Decree of 1992 and the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 brought some sanity and created the frameworks to support the management of archives and records in Nigeria.

The various policies outlined government principles on archives and records management, especially the section that stipulates that organizations that have operated in Nigeria for over 25 years must have their own archives.  To this end, few government agencies can boast of standard archival repositories while many private organizations, especially banks and multinational organizations as well as some state governments have standard archival facilities in Nigeria.  One can proudly mention First bank of Nigeria; Union Bank Plc; Stanbic IBTC; Guarantee Trust Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Lagos State Government also has an archival repository known as Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau (LASRAB).

The policies also define the life cycle of records and disposal procedures among others.

Record Managers and archivists now have a clear policy direction in the performance of their duties.

The habit of government officials hoarding official records to cover up inflated contracts was addressed in theory but in practice some of these records are still not accessible to the general public.

The policy also stipulates punishment to be meted on those who break the law as it relates to wrong handling of official records.

The archival heritage is important but in total neglect due to inadequate funding, lack of equipments, few qualified archivists, decaying repositories and dilapidating infrastructures and nauseating sights of unkempt archival materials.

The policy has not created a clear path as it concerns information and communication technology adoption in managing records and archives considering the many advantages of ICT in managing archives and records, it has not been exploited at all by the National Archives of Nigeria and there is no noticeable progress in this direction.

The decay in infrastructure and archival repositories has led to serious decline in the numbers of visitors in recent years as the policy document has failed to address this important area of infrastructural development.

Proscovia Svärd | Södertörn University | “People’s Awareness of the Swedish Freedom of information Access Act and The Public Sector Information Directive – a Pilot Study”

This presentation is about the ordinary Swedish citizens awareness of the PSI-directive that gives them a right to access government information for commercial purposes and if they have the capacity to exploit it for purposes of developing new information products and services. The Freedom of the Press Act guarantees every Swedish citizen free access to official records to encourage the free exchange of opinion and the availability of comprehensive information. The principle of public access to government records is one of the cornerstones of the Swedish judicial system. In 2010, Sweden adopted a Public-Sector Information (PSI) Directive that is further supposed to guide the release of government information for re-use by the public. Government information has been identified as a resource that when effectively exploited can lead to the development of new electronic services and can thus encourage innovation. The Directive was based on the European Union PSI Directive that was enacted in 2003 (Directive 2003/98/EC) and which required all its member states to implement it. This article argues that though the principle to access government records/information is quite old in Sweden and known to a good number of the citizens, the more recently adopted PSI Directive does not resonate with the citizens in a similar way. In Sweden, the PSI Directive is intrinsically linked to the e-Government development policy. e-Government is supposed to be an inclusive project since it endeavours to deliver high quality services, increased transparency and accountability. The PSI grows out of the activities that the government institutions conduct with the citizens and hence, it is information owned by the citizens. It is good news that through the European PSI Directive governments are now obliged to free their information resources. However, there are interesting questions that are arising and worth investigating. Exploiting the PSI to one’s advantage requires being aware of what it is, it must be packaged in formats that are comprehensible to the users, the user must have skills to turn the availed datasets into a product and the technology to facilitate such an exploitation. An interview guide was employed to solicit answers to the research questions. The results confirmed the PSI directive is equated to the Freedom of the Press Access Act and that some of the respondents did not understand the commercial aspect of the PSI neither did they have the skills and technology to exploit it. Therefore, if the PSI is to be an inclusive and democratic project the government needs to undertake measures to create IT platforms and projects in collaboration with local administrations to promote knowledge about it and its economic potential among ordinary citizens. Without this type of knowledge creation, there is a risk of creating a data divide in the society and this is already a fact since the PSI usage is still concentrated in the hands of a few people in the society.

John Roberts | Archives of Ontario | “Records, Archives, and Policy” 

Recordkeeping requirements should be embedded in policy. This assertion is rarely challenged, but gives rise to a number of questions. What do we mean by policy? How does it differ from governance, strategy, procedure, standards or other mechanisms? And how do we go about achieving it? This presentation provides an introduction to the theory and practice of policy development in government, drawing on experiences in New Zealand and Ontario to make suggestions about how recordkeeping professionals can be effective in their dealings with policy professionals.

Lluis Casellas | City of Girona Archives, Spain | “Trustful e-Services in the Government-to-Government Context”

The digital transformation of Public Administrations implies relevant changes in their business systems but also in the relationship between themselves, with providers and citizens. The exchange of digital information and records is already a standard practice. However, the key issue is to verify if these technological solutions take into account organizational aspects as Records Management and the preservation of the authenticity of records in the Cloud.

The focus is on how electronic services provided by Public Administrations affect the users, independently if they are Public Administrations or citizens. The results show that sometimes the services’ conditions offered by public sector are not very different to those offered by private sector.

The aim is that the conclusions of the case study of the City Council of Girona could be useful to design better policies and electronic services provided by Public Administrations to other Public Administrations and also for the citizens.

Jenny Bunn | University College London | “Defining Lines: Evolution of the Archive Collection Policy in the UK Context”

This presentation will tell the story of how this type of policy first came onto the professional radar in the United Kingdom and of how it has subsequently evolved. By telling this story, other stories will also come to light; about increasing standardisation and accreditation of archival practice, about the interaction between theory and practice, and about a growing emphasis on management and leadership skills within the profession. The timeframe for this story will start in the early 1990s, with the publication of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts’ A Standard for Record Repositories, and end with developments under the more recent Archive Service Accreditation Scheme (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/archive-service-accreditation/).

Sebastien Soyez | National Archives of Belgium | “Policies: the Missing Link. How to feel the gap between Regulations/Standards & Guidelines/Best practices?”

Since more than 10 years, the State Archives Belgium concentrated its efforts in meeting the (inter)national recordkeeping challenges posed by the new digital paradigm. Given this societal transition, there is one way in particular which is the key of achievement: building strong and understandable policies.

Grounded in legal (EU-regulations, national laws) and normative frameworks (professional standards), policies can offer a significant translation into concrete actions, a guidance to decision-making and an usable functional scope to all stakeholders, such as operational actors, lawyers, IT-staff, records managers and archivists.

The presentation will focus on the methodology used by our federal institution in order to develop new policies, notably on the basis of research projects[1], and how they have been/can be implemented and applied in practice.

[1] HECTOR – Records management policy & guidelines ; PROMISE – Web archiving strategy & policy

Camille Callison | University of Manitoba 

Basma Makhlouf Shabou | Haute École de Gestion, Geneva, Switzerland | “Information Governance Policy for Corporate  Information Assets: from Conception to Implementation”

Effective business management within organizations depends, among other factors, on the availability and proper management of appropriate resources. Information resources are one of those resources. This talk offers practical answers to the many questions that information professionals in an institution may have about how to ensure performant, secure and rational management of corporate informational assets. After a brief presentation and discussion of main concepts, it defines and describes the information governance policy, which is the key tool of an advanced information governance approach. It specifies how and when a maturity model should help to develop and update a corporate Information governance policy. In addition, it presents the main practical guidelines including specific recommendations on the structure, content and format of an information governance policy. A discussion of the development and implementation process is then proposed.

Gustavo Castaner | European External Action Service (EEAS), Brussels, Belgium

The presentation will briefly present the European External Action Service, the diplomatic service of the EU and the youngest of EU institutions. It will analyze the development of an ambitious information governance initiative over two years, discuss the lessons learned and reflect on change management within complex organizations.