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Records and Information Management Review. Findings, Recommendations & Strategic Plan Report

CES Appendix I Appendix I Records and Information Management Review Findings, Recommendations & Strategic Plan Report Prepared by: February 10, 2014 The Information Professionals Table of
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CES Appendix I Appendix I Records and Information Management Review Findings, Recommendations & Strategic Plan Report Prepared by: February 10, 2014 The Information Professionals Table of Contents Executive Summary... 1 Project Overview and Methodology... 3 RIM Program Values... 4 Findings and Recommendations Vision /Accountability / Staffing Policies & Procedures Record Content Identification Capture, Access & Use Storage & Disposition User Engagement: Training & Communication Protection & Security...19 Vital Records Protection and Business Continuity Technology Use Monitoring: Compliance & Quality...27 Information Governance Maturity...28 Strategic Plan...32 Overview RIM Program Policy Development Classification Scheme and Retention Schedule Destruction and Hold Policy & Data Asset Inventory Implementation Training Electronic Document & Records Management System (EDRMS) Records Manager Job Description Appendix A - Project plan & Timeline The Information Professionals EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report covers a project that was undertaken to: Determine the current state of information management within the District Municipality of Muskoka; Develop recommendations for building on strengths and rectifying deficiencies; and Develop a strategic plan for implementing the recommendations over the next three years taking into account other District initiatives and budgetary constraints. The project was conducted between September 3, 2013 and February 7, During that period the consultants conducted interviews with every department to determine the current state of their information management practices and any issues they had with accessing information on both physical and electronic media. A committee of Administrative Support staff was also formed by the District Clerk to work on developing a standard file classification structure that would be based on a functional, corporate basis rather than using departmental schemes. The consultants provided several rounds of review and feedback on the classification scheme as it was being compiled. The report contains findings covering all aspects of information management within the District. It also makes 36 distinct recommendations for improvement covering all components of a comprehensive, effective and efficient Records and Information Management (RIM) program. The major findings are: There is no corporate policy which defines the purpose, objectives, scope, authorities and responsibilities of RIM within the District. The lack of a corporate classification scheme has greatly hindered the flow of information within and between departments. This has resulted in significant duplication of information and an inability to access information when the person who created the paper or electronic file structure is not present. The retention By-law is outdated and does not reflect current legislative, audit and operational requirements. Staff realize that it is inadequate so they tend to keep everything forever. The District can benefit greatly from the implementation of software that manages records on all media in accordance with District policies. The personnel resources allocated to managing information are not sufficient to develop and maintain a RIM program that will meet the District's needs. The major recommendations are: Establish corporate responsibility for the RIM program with the Clerk s office as part of an umbrella policy for the RIM program. Continue the development of the corporate classification structure using the modified TOMRMS structure. Use the corporate classification scheme for all physical and electronic records, including shared drives and Outlook folders. Update the District retention By-law to reflect current legislative and operational requirements and apply it to current physical and electronic record holdings. Create and deliver a series of training sessions for all staff on the principles of RIM, the District policy, classification scheme and retention By-law and how to implement them within their work areas. The Information Professionals Page 1 Proceed as soon as possible with the development of system requirements for a comprehensive Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS). Create a new position within District Clerk's department with responsibility for the District's RIM program. The Strategic Plan presented at the end of this report has been informed by the realities of other priorities and the limitations of staff and financial resources necessary to develop, implement and maintain the RIM program. It's phases are: 2014 o o o o o 2015 o o o Prepare and approve a corporate RIM policy; Complete the classification scheme and retention By-law development and obtain necessary approvals; Provide training for all personnel on the use of the classification scheme and retention By-law; Using the approved retention By-law to purge outdated and duplicate records; and Apply the classification scheme to the remaining records; Develop a set of system requirements and features for Records Management software and procure the application which best meets the requirements and budget limitations; Develop a job description for a District Records Manager and recruit a suitable candidate; and Investigate the suitability of enhancing the RM software to include the functionality of an Electronic Document and Records Management System. A detailed project plan and timeline is attached as Appendix A. It is very obvious that there is a need to improve the way in which information is managed and used within the District. There is also a very strong desire among the vast majority of staff to effect the changes necessary. There is an acceptance that this type of change will not be without some angst but that the advantages will far outweigh the temporary disturbance. We are certain that, as long as there is visible and demonstrable support from senior management for this program it will succeed in achieving proper information governance and will greatly enhance the accessibility and usability of the District's information resources. The Information Professionals Page 2 PROJECT OVERVIEW AND METHODOLOGY This report has been compiled from the information gathered during 15 interviews conducted at The District Municipality of Muskoka from September 9th to 16th, The interviews focused on the current policies, procedures and related activities within the District offices for the management and use of information. Participating personnel were asked to describe their current processes and share what they liked and disliked about the way information is currently managed and accessed within their functional area and within other District departments with which they are familiar. They were also asked what their top priority would be to improve the Records and Information Management (RIM) program. Throughout the interviews all participants were eager to inform the consultants of their RIM program perceptions and appeared to be very open about the current situation. There was also a unanimous desire to effect significant improvements to both the governance of information and the way in which it is accessed. This Recommendations Report has been organized in the phases of the RIM lifecycle beginning with foundational elements and ending in the retention or disposition of District records. The findings are a statement of fact about the current state of the District's RIM program that have been validated with the Project Team and amended where necessary. It is the second of three reports for the development of a RIM strategy. The Recommendations Report presents options for dealing with the deficiencies noted in the findings, including some timelines and estimated costs where possible. This report will form the basis for a discussion regarding program priorities and the availability of resources to address the issues over the next three years. Once the priorities and resources have been determined, a realistic and attainable strategic plan will be developed and provided for discussion. Note to Reader Audits of information management programs and the resulting report of findings tend to emphasize deficiencies and, therefore, can be seen as painting a bleak picture . While the report is accurate the reader is cautioned to be mindful of the context in which the current state was attained. The Records and Information Management (RIM) program has been operating with a staff allocation that is well below any comparable Ontario municipality. Of the 25 Ontario Counties that we have as clients, The District Municipality of Muskoka is the only one that does not have at least one person assigned on a full-time basis to their RIM program. There is a difference between something being effective and being efficient. District staff are for the most part able to access required records, albeit with some difficulty and wasted time searching. What this report points out are the inefficiencies in the current processes and some deficiencies that are important in a comprehensive program. The issues noted in this report are not a result of lack of dedication or effort but more attributable to a lack of committed resources. The Information Professionals Page 3 RIM PROGRAM VALUES The recommendations outlined below are based on the following values: Records Management is a program, not a project. Once established, the Program will continue to evolve over time; Records and information are corporate assets that must be managed at the enterprise level; Consistency and controls are essential for the successful use of automated tools and applications; Records should support the transparency and accountability expected by stakeholders and the public; Information and records must be reliable and trustworthy; Litigation is not seen as a primary risk or information management driver; Access to information must be maintained and improved, especially as staff changes occur and the use of electronic information increases; and Costs are to be managed and reduced through improved productivity and efficiencies in order to maximize allocation of limited resources to core business operations. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 1. VISION /ACCOUNTABILITY / STAFFING Best Practice Effective records management programs are endorsed and supported by high-level executive support. Records and information are recognized as important assets that belong to the organization and that require governance and control at an enterprise wide level. RIM staff are engaged in strategic initiatives to identify and implement clearly defined goals, objectives, policies and procedures. Responsibilities are assigned for program oversight, execution and ongoing maintenance with roles assigned to all stakeholders including senior management, RIM practitioners, and end users. Vision Council has allocated funds over the next two years to be used to develop and implement a comprehensive RIM program. In meetings with the consultants, SMT members have reiterated their desire to significantly improve the way in which information is managed and used within the District and have acknowledged that this will require change and a certain amount of angst for all staff members. It is our assessment that SMT's concept of what the RIM program should be is fairly limited. This is most likely because the current program is very rudimentary and decentralized and does not provide a view of what an effective program can encompass. A program that is comprehensive, effective and efficient and includes records on both paper and electronic media (including s) is not familiar to them. In addition, new technology initiatives that include a RIM component have not typically included input from the Clerk to ensure that the requirements and functionality necessary to effectively manage the records created and received are identified and met. It was expressed that the governance aspect of the program is the responsibility of the Clerk and her staff and that the desire of most senior staff is to enhance retrievability of information when needed, regardless of where it resides. This is not to imply that SMT is not interested in governance. They The Information Professionals Page 4 recognize and fully support the need to be compliant with legislation, guidelines and best practices. However, they see substantial benefits to be gained from increasing the reliability, authenticity, integrity and retrievability of the District's information resources. The development of the strategic plan will provide a more holistic view of the scope of the RIM program and a unified vision among District staff at all levels. Accountability Records and information management activities are very decentralized within the District of Muskoka. Although the Clerk has legislated responsibility for the District's records, implementation of the RIM program has taken a decentralized approach with every department doing their own thing . This has resulted in very different types of programs and approaches to information management within and between departments. The vast majority of efforts to manage information effectively have concentrated on physical records. This responsibility has been largely delegated to the administrative support staff. There are a number of centralized departmental filing systems using movable aisle shelving. Generally access to these records requires the assistance of the Administrative Assistant(s) or support staff for the department. Over the past months there has been an initiative to take a more enterprise wide corporate approach to managing information. The initial thrust has been the development of a standard classification scheme which will be used by all departments but it has created an awareness and desire to have a comprehensive program which would standardize policies and procedures across the District offices and enable a greater degree of accountability. Staffing Because of the decentralized approach noted above, the tasks associated with managing the RIM program are not truly given to any one individual. While the Clerk has corporate responsibility for records, her duties as District Clerk and those of the Deputy Clerk, do not leave them with sufficient time to operate, let alone develop, an effective and comprehensive RIM program. An Administrative Support Staff user group has been formed and is working on developing an enterprise wide classification structure for the District. Program Scope The current program scope is, for the most part, concerned with the management of physical records. The management of electronic records has been started within some departments through attempts to create a standardized structure for shared drives but the success rate is very low. Some departments are converting physical documents to image format upon receipt but this is not a common practice. The management of s is not standardized in any way. The variations on what is retained or deleted and how the s are stored are as many as the number of staff members. One of the promising initiatives is the shared IT services between the District and three of the lower tiers. Although it is limited to some applications and related IT support and infrastructure it has the potential to extend the management and sharing of information between the District and all six lower tiers. The Information Professionals Page 5 Recommendations 1. Give a one hour presentation to SMT on how Records Management and Document Management can integrate to provide both governance and accessibility and the various levels of functionality available. This presentation should be conducted by the consultants in order to bring their practical experience in implementing the various types of systems. The purpose of the presentation will be to expose senior staff to the range of options which should be considered, the relative merits and costs of each and the advantages to the District of adopting each type of solution. The presentation should be given as part of the Recommendations presentation to SMT. 2. Explore the possibility of extended synergies between the District and the lower tier municipalities. The initiatives to share IT and procurement services with some of the lower tiers has demonstrated some of the synergies that can be achieved when resources are pooled to satisfy common requirements. Extending the current scope of services to include a common Electronic Document and Record Management System (EDRMS) would greatly extend the benefits attained and would make it more feasible to pursue a comprehensive software package. Establishing a common system between the District and at least some of the lower tiers would reduce the total costs for the technology infrastructure through the use of a shared server with distinct records repositories. It would also greatly facilitate the electronic exchange and sharing of common records. There should be a working group established between the District and the lower tiers that would include those responsible for Records Management within each municipality. This would greatly facilitate the exchange of ideas and identify specific initiatives where synergies can be realized through more collaboration and/or sharing of resources. It may also be possible to share the services of the RIM Manager to at least provide oversight for their programs. 3. Establish corporate responsibility for the RIM program with the Clerk s office as part of an umbrella policy for the RIM program. It is imperative that responsibility for the RIM program is established in one position, ideally with the District Clerk as designated by legislation. The draft Retention By-law which is modelled on the City of Barrie's By-law gives the District Clerk authority to change the retention periods with the approval of the District's auditor. This is certainly a step in the right direction but there must also be a District policy which establishes the program scope, responsibility and accountability at all staff levels and which identifies key sub-policies and procedures for certain components of the program including periodic audits and updates. This umbrella policy can be developed internally by adapting those developed by other municipalities. It should be approved by SMT. The policy should state: The policy objective/purpose; Policy objectives and principles (accountability, integrity, accessibility, retention, etc.); Definition of terms; The need to include all District records, regardless of their storage medium; Related policies (sub policies and other District policies); The Information Professionals Page 6 Applicability; Program requirements such as preservation of archival records, use of imaged and electronic records and disposition; and Roles and responsibilities at all staff levels. Should you choose to have the consultant develop the policy the cost would be $1, Create a new position within District Clerk's department. The Administrative Support Staff User Group is the first step in creating a structure for implementing and maintaining a progressive and effective RIM program. It is an excellent and critical vehicle for establishing components such as the classification scheme and the operational retention requirements. However, the Administrative Support staff have extensive departmental functions which limit the amount of time available to devote to enhancing the program. They are also focused on the needs of their immediate departments and do not have an enterprise view of records and information management needs. If the District's RIM program is to provide a dependable level of governance and enhance the availability and usability of information it will require someone with an enterprise wide viewpoint who is dedicated to the program on a full-time basis. This person will work with the Administrative Support staff who will serve as departmental liaisons and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). One of t
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