In our last blog we looked at some of the challenges local authorities face managing ever increasing amounts of information. Sadly, programmes designed to improve efficiency, such as integration and shared services, seem to be making the situation worse. And while records managers are aware of and concerned about this, senior managers often don’t appreciate the extent of the problem.
Money isn’t everything
Although lack of resources is clearly an issue, the good news is that it’s not all about money. In fact, the greatest barrier to success is an inconsistent, decentralised approach to information management, alongside internal cultural resistance. Senior managers and records managers can both play a significant role in overcoming these obstacles.
Share the changes
Senior managers are in an ideal position to drive cultural change, reduce information risk and enable their organisation to derive greater benefit from the information they hold. Meanwhile, records managers are the specialists who can provide detailed information, analyses and business cases to support senior management in their decision-making around efficiency and risk.
Here are some ways both parties can help initiate and lead that change:
Be part of it. Find out whether your records management team has a steering committee and join it. This will give you access to the data you need to identify issues and drive organisational change.
Lead by example. Demonstrate the importance of good information management – particularly when it comes to reducing risk. Remind your team to log where documents are at all times, keep sensitive information secure, change passwords and lock computers.
Be aware of information. Many records are still on paper – are there processes in your area or department that could be more efficient if paper was removed? Even changes to the way invoices are signed can help reduce the need for paper and streamline everyone’s workload.
Shout about successes. Efficient processes and information security are critical to both your own and your council’s reputation. When you make improvements, spread the word.
If you’d like to know more about how you can meet the challenge of managing information within a local authority environment, our new whitepaper, The Challenge of Sharing – Information management in UK local authorities in 2016 and beyond, is now available for download.