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The Challenge

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Read the text below and do the tasks that follow.

Governing effectively depends upon accurate, reliable and accessible records. Records are essential to every aspect of the governance process, providing the basis for:

· the rule of law;

· service for citizens;

· accountability;

· anti-corruption strategies;

· the management of state resources;

· the protection of rights and entitlements.

Records are a particular and essential category of information that must be managed as evidence of entitlements, policies, transactions and activities. Without a robust and appropriate infrastructure, record keeping is informal and ad hoc.

All modern governments require well-managed information about policies and programmes. Their needs are becoming more complex in the light of public sector reform, citizens’ requirements for accountability and computerisation.

Accountability and transparency depend upon complete, accurate and legally verifiable records. Without reliable records, officials cannot be held accountable and fraud cannot be prosecuted. Freedom of information legislation and computerization programmes is undermined.

Records, as evidence, are essential to underpin the functions of:

· the parliament / legislature;

· the public accounts committee;

· the auditor general;

· the ombudsman;

· the civil service;

· the judiciary.


Good local government requires access to information. But decentralized administrations often suffer from:

· inadequate local information to support decentralized policies, transactions and activities;

· lack of mechanisms for transferring existing records from the centre to the districts;

· conflicting legal requirements by central and local administration for existing paper-based information;

· lack of systems for managing records and information;

· inadequate accommodation and storage equipment for records;

· inadequate systems and procedures for sharing computerized information between central and local administrations;

· lack of staff trained to manage records.





In many countries records systems have not kept pace with rapidly changing information requirements.

Records professionals must rethink the way that records are created, managed and preserved. They must be equipped to analyse information requirements, design and deliver effective systems, responds to the needs of electronic government and communicate effectively with users. The challenge is to:

· convince senior government officials of the vital importance of records and information management;

· build the capacity of national institutions responsible for managing records and archives;

· ensure the continued training of professional staff;

· educate and train new entrants to the profession;

· train users of records systems.





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