Public sector records prepare for standards, audit

Two record-keeping standards launched

Public-sector agencies’ record-keeping standards will be audited progressively from 2010 to ensure competence and consistency.

The adoption of standards for record-keeping is a matter of balance between international consistency and best practice on the one hand, and appreciation of the limited resources of a country of small organisations on the other, says Archives NZ group manager for government record-keeping, Greg Goulding.

Archives last week formally launched two record-keeping standards, which draw on international standards but have particular accommodations for the New Zealand environment.

The “create and maintain” standard and the “electronic record-keeping metadata” standard will be progressively applied to all public and local government records. These standards have been added to a storage standard, created earlier this year.

Section 17 of the Public Records Act, passed in 2005, requires that records kept by public offices and local authorities be “complete, authentic, reliable, usable and accurate” and maintained so as to be available in the long-term future. The standards are designed to support these objectives.

The standards are also intended to “enable the assessment of record-keeping systems” and this is a process that will start in 2010, Goulding says. Over the following five years or so, every agency will be audited to ensure it is meeting the standards’ objectives.

On the electronic front, the metadata standard reflects that established under the e-government interoperability framework (eGIF), part of the wider e-government initiative.

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