Training and Good Practice
Materials on Electronic Records Management
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS SERVICE OF SOUTH AFRICA
NASIONALE ARGIEF EN REKORDDIENS VAN SUID-AFRIKA
DIAKHAEFE TŠA BOSETŠHABA TŠA AFRIKA BORWA
INQOLOBANE YOKUGCINA AMAGUGU KAZWELONKE ENINGIZIMU AFRIKA
Private Bag/Privaatsak X236, PRETORIA 0001
Fax/Faks: (012) 323 5287
21 July 2009
CIRCULAR NO 1 OF 2009
TO HEADS OF ALL GOVERNMENTAL BODIES
Dr Graham Dominy
- I have pleasure in drawing your
attention to the availability of
a set of training and good practice
guidance materials on managing records
in the electronic environment. The materials
have been produced by the International Records
Management Trust (IRMT) for the benefit of the
public sector world-wide. The preparation was funded by
the UK Department for International Development, and the
ARMA International Education Foundation has generously helped
to fund the distribution. The IRMT gratefully acknowledges their
support in making the materials available.
- Copies of these materials may be downloaded from the IRMT’s website
at: http://www.irmt.org/researchReports.html and a CD containing the
materials is also enclosed herewith.
- It is internationally recognised that the move toward e-government brings
new possibilities for strengthening governance and for economic and social
development in terms of improving government services, supporting increased
accountability and enabling governments to manage state resources more effectively.
However, the discipline required to manage records held in digital media is not generally
recognised, and there tends to be inadequate attention to the quality of documentary evidence;
and records management tends not to be incorporated in e-government programmes. It is intended
that the materials should provide a step toward addressing this situation and introducing records
management as a critical component of electronic government.
- While the materials were designed for use internationally, it would be important for governmental bodies
in South Africa to use the guidelines within the regulatory framework specific to South Africa. The National
Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act (No 43 of 1996 as amended), which is administered by the
Department of Arts and Culture through the National Archivist, regulates the management of current records of
governmental bodies. The Act contains provisions specifically regarding the use of electronic records systems,
viz. that the National Archivist shall determine the conditions subject to which electronic records systems in
governmental bodies shall be managed [section 13(2)(a)]. To facilitate the provision of prescripts, a manual Managing
Electronic Records in Governmental Bodies: Policy, Principles and Requirements has been produced. The essential requirements
are contained in a synoptic Advisory Pamphlet (No 2): Electronic Records and the law: What governmental bodies need to know.
These materials are accessible on the website of the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa
the links Services to Governmental Bodies and Records Management Publications. Hard copies may also be requested from the National
Archives and Records Service. These prescripts should be used in the context of the overarching policy framework for the management
of current records of governmental bodies contained in the Records Management Policy Manual, which is also accessible on the
National Archives and Records Service’s website and may be requested in hard copy.
- This information is being brought to the attention of heads of governmental bodies, because it has been noted that
the personal support and commitment of top management is a critical factor in the success of implementing electronic
records systems. In practice, the materials would be used by departmental Records Managers in consultation with Chief
- I trust that these prescripts and guidelines will serve to advance the sound management of public records, which is
an essential foundation for good governance and governmental accountability.
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