Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 6 2009 Contents 31
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FReeDoM oF InFoRMAtIon AnD ReCoRDs MAnAgeMent BRAnCH
procedure manuals for practitioners, I think we
have taken the first positive steps in getting our
processes back on track.
“We’ve also just released our Records
Management policy site which will be a useful
resource for anyone who needs to find out what to
do with a record. This sits within the new FOIRM
website, and I encourage people to try it and to
send us feedback on the site.”
However, with only 25 per cent of the
Department using the approved Defence Record
Management System (DRMS) at the moment,
Mr Corcoran admits there is still some way to go
before things improve.
“The different places in which records are
kept in Defence is extensive and, more importantly,
worrying. They include: G drives, H drives, P drives,
DRMS, Outlook, filing cabinets, under buildings,
in disused facilities, in briefcases, and even at
home,” Mr Corcoran said.
“We do have more people coming on-line
with DRMS, in fact Air Force and DMO have just
signed up and we’re hoping to get a much higher
acceptance rate among current users when they
see what the new version has to offer. It sits so
seamlessly inside all Microsoft applications that
people won’t actually know they’re using it.
“My goal is to have DRMS mandated for use
across the organisation and paid for centrally, but
obviously a business case will have to go through
the formal processes. It will provide a fantastic
basis for proper recordkeeping at a stroke,” Mr
Classified Archival Records is another area
that is set for overhaul, with parliament considering
changes to the Archives Act 1983 that will reduce
the 30 year rule for the automatic public release of
Australian Government records to 20 years.
The current process involves information
being prepared and sent to the National Archives
after 25 years, however as part of the proposed
changes this will occur after 15 years.
“This is going to have implications for people
who are current ADF and civilian members as
information could potentially be released about
decisions that they have made early on in their
careers while they are still working here.”
In the area of FOI, Mr Corcoran has big plans
for how Defence will improve its performance,
with communication and relationship building
being an important focus for the Branch.
“I am going to take a much more active
role in managing requests as visibility promotes
accountability,” Mr Corcoran said.
“The other avenue is to foster a partnering
relationship with the Groups and Services – I want
to give them active guidance – and, in the more
complex cases, that means holding their hand
along the way.
“Partnering, visibility, reporting and active
tracking are the main strategies that I’m going to
use in raising Defence’s overall performance in FOI.”
When it comes to the future for the way
in which Defence handles information more
generally, Mr Corcoran has a big vision.
“I am excited about promoting a pro-disclosure
culture within Defence and one of the major benefits
of having a more open culture is that we can provide
the public with the whole picture of what we’re
doing – including the context within which we act –
and I think this is very important,” he said.
Top tips for record keeping:
You must create a record if you answer ‘yes’
to any of the following:
■ Did I write or send this in the course
of my work?
■ Am I required to act on this?
■ Is this external correspondence
I have received?
■ Is this something I have used to do my
work or to reach a decision?
✔ access the Record Management Policy
intranet site for tips, information and
✔ create records at the time of the decision
or immediately after the event
✔ use consistent language when naming
files and documents, or
✔ place documents on a registered file or create
a file if one does not exist, and use DRMS.
Personnel without DRMS access should:
✔ Follow workgroup arrangements, and
✔ Submit a request for further assistance to
the Directorate of Records Management/
Records Management Policy Unit: DRMP.
✘ destroy, delete or alter records without
proper authority - see http://intranet.
✘ remove records from Defence without
✘ lose records in your care
Defence gets an
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