Good recordkeeping is an insurance policy October 12, 2011

In financially unstable times we often need to justify why our organisations need to put money into records management. It does not produce immediate and visible results: there are no new clients, no income stream directly attributable to good recordkeeping.  And it costs money to implement.

However, a sound records management program is like an insurance policy. Without it, you are putting yourself at great risk.

Pipeline photograph from Wikipedia

Perhaps nothing obvious will happen for a while. Yes, there will be time wasted from not finding information or having to reproduce instead of reuse work, but we can live with this, right? However, if lightning does strike the consequences can be profound.

A recent article that appeared in the Daily Californian, Lack of Information Threatens PG&E Infrastructure, shows that recordkeeping failures can have devastating consequences. In this case, a ‘litany of failures’ led to the explosion of a pipeline in San Bruno on 10 September 2010 that killed 8 people and destroyed 38 homes. A primary failure was the lack of full and accurate recordkeeping, which means that information about aging and increasingly defective pipelines has not been retained.

For the information of NSW public sector agencies, the next NSW Records Managers Forum in November will discuss recordkeeping and risk. Keep an eye on our website for further information and the ability to register.


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