The National Archives of Australia has substantially ramped-up its campaign to permanently wean agencies and departments off paper records and make them to adopt a ‘digital first’ approach in creating and managing vast reams of government information.
The Director-General of the National Archives, David Fricker, has used the launch of a new digital information ‘capability matrix’ to warn that all public servants now needed “the skills to create and manage digital government information, not only a small group of specialists.”
The rallying call comes as Archives continues its campaign for agencies to meet the 2015 deadline to comply with submitting information to it electronically — after which it will no longer accept paper records.
To help agencies and departments get there, Archives has developed a new online resource which it says sets out the relevant skills and knowledge required by public servants at all levels.
The new online resource also includes links to relevant training courses, policies and standards to help public servants develop the skills they need.
“Today, every public servant, from new recruits to agency heads, needs to recognise the value of the government information they are creating and handling,” Mr Fricker said.
“Rapid advances in technology, the growing volume of information, and the increasing complexity of the online environment all mean that Australian government agencies face significant challenges in managing their business information.”
The skills listed in the ‘capability matrix’ range from operational staff needing to understand information as a business asset, through to SES officers needing to take responsibility for information management as part of their role.
The matrix is divided into three sections which target different groups: all staff, ICT specialists and information and records management specialists.
Among the many requirements for public servants is the need to understand:
• the link between information management responsibilities and accountability;
• the value of information as an asset;
• the purpose and benefits of metadata;
• that information cannot be destroyed without appropriate authorisation;
• that risks to information may arise from malicious or inadvertent destruction;
• that information should be accessible and usable for as long as it is required.
“The National Archives is responsible for advising all government agencies on how to manage their information for business efficiency and effectiveness, and also to ensure transparency and accountability,” Mr Fricker said.
The Archives push comes as the government’s new Digital Transformation Office also tries to speed up the rate at which federal agencies put information, services and transactions online.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has mandated that 80 per cent of government information and services must be online by 2017.
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