Happy International Customer Service Week! How does the Government Recordkeeping team at State Records support its customers? October 9, 2013

Purpose, promise, performance

This week is International Customer Service Week (7-11 October). Here in the Government Recordkeeping team at State Records we are celebrating this week by reflecting on how we support our public sector customers, the tens of thousands of staff working with government information across the NSW Public Sector. And by always considering, of course, how we can improve our services!

Our colleagues in other areas of State Records are also reflecting on how State Records meets the many other needs of our organisation’s very diverse customer base. In this post we wanted to look at what State Records has done to support the needs of the NSW public sector in the financial year 2012-13.

As always, we would really love your feedback to this post. What are we doing well and what do we need to improve? Please do let us know!


Who are we?

In the Government Recordkeeping team, we provide guidance on recordkeeping and records management. We aim to influence how records are managed in NSW public sector organisations (including government departments, statutory bodies, state owned corporations, local councils, universities and the public health sector). We have direct contact with, and provide advice to, over 400 organisations or entities, a high proportion of which are in regional and rural NSW. We want to help all our customers to create and manage their business information well so that it supports all their business and client needs, and also supports public accountability requirements.

So what do we do to help?


We offer face to face training

Our commitment to improving the level of records management skills across the NSW public sector is long standing: at State Records we have provided short course training for 30 years.

In 2012-13, in collaboration with our training partners, we offered 37 courses attended by 381 public officials in our annual records management training program. Courses were held at locations around NSW:  in the Sydney CBD, at  Western Sydney and in 4 regional centres (Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga and Yass). Our training partners have also conducting tailored versions of these courses on 5 occasions for clients in Sydney.

We also offered  free workshops on managing recordkeeping risk in business systems and during 2012-2013 we held 6 workshops with 80 participants attending. Also during this period,  a further 522 NSW public officials attended  presentations we gave on recordkeeping and records management (this included our regular forums as well as other events).

In response to sector needs we piloted a new form of training event In 2012-13  – the EDRMS Implementers Discussion Group.  This Group brings together records managers in the NSW public sector who are deploying EDRMS in their organisations to share their experiences, questions and lessons learned. This pilot project has been tremendously successful for all involved and we will look for opportunities to expand this training model in the future.


We offer online training (which is proving popular)

During 2012-13, there were 11,298 unique visits to our e-learning site with 2,116 visitors exploring the e-learning modules. The top e-learning modules for 2012-13 were: ‘Your responsibilities for managing email’, ‘Recordkeeping concepts’, and ‘Recordkeeping and You’. During 2012-13 we provided copies of our e-learning modules to seven public sector organisations for modification and extensive use as part of their own in-house training programs.


We offer practical advice and engagement through our social media channels (and this is proving popular too)

The Future Proof blog is used by Government Recordkeeping to promote our latest advice about emerging digital business issues, risks and trends. Our Future Proof blog had over 76,242 unique visits in 2012-13. This was an increase of 30% on the visits in 2011-2012. The blog is really resonating with our customers in the NSW public sector because in 2012-13, there were 1,130,265 views of individual Future Proof blog pages covering a very wide range of digital information management issues.

The feedback we get from our customers suggests that the blog is meeting genuine needs in the NSW public sector because it:

  • provides fast and timely advice on emerging digital recordkeeping issues
  • makes information accessible to a wide audience
  • is structured to aid navigation and searching
  • engages both records and non-records audiences
  • provides content that agency information management professionals  can reuse and repurpose quickly to meet their business needs.


We get asked for lots of detailed advice by our customers in the NSW public sector and we try to share this advice as widely as we can

Each month Government Recordkeeping staff receive well over 100 direct enquiries from government agencies about a very wide range of recordkeeping and information management issues.While we respond directly to each enquirer, we have also begun a regular series of ‘question and answer’ or ‘Q&A’ posts on the Future Proof blog that summarise these questions and our responses. These have rapidly become some of the most popular posts on the blog.

These posts make State Records’ latest advice immediately available to all NSW public offices. They help others to easily find answers to emerging issues and provide a way for information managers to remain informed about trends in digital recordkeeping. Making these posts freely available on social media also open our advice up to feedback and discussion. This helps us to always improve the usefulness of our advice and to make it as relevant as we can to the needs of the NSW public sector.


We regularly meet with our customers and really make the most of this engagement

During 2012-13 Government Recordkeeping staff had 88 meetings specifically focussed on digital recordkeeping issues. These meetings often deal  with emerging issues and challenges which face the NSW public sector. At these meetings we work with customers across government to ensure that our information governance and information management frameworks underpin the management of essential business records.

We get as much out of meetings with our customers as they hopefully do. At these meetings we get a first-hand knowledge of business needs in the NSW public sector and a real awareness of emerging risks and trends.

We regularly use the insights we gain at our meetings to focus our priorities on key issues for the public sector. For example in 2012-13 we prioritised the development of advice and guidance on social media, information risk, cloud computing, data management, SharePoint, email management and a range of other topics based on feedback from our customers.

Through our customer engagement we have also been able to build lots of real-life public sector case studies and examples into all the advice we give, to make it as practical and helpful to the needs of the NSW public sector as we can.


We use metrics to understand our customers and to help us to create better tools and services

For over 15 years, we have use metrics and data analysis to get an understanding of the overall state of public sector recordkeeping. This enables us to provide feedback to the sector, prioritise our efforts and identify performance strengths and weaknesses.

This year, all 279 NSW public offices that we sent our survey on digital recordkeeping to responded with a completed survey. This is a 100% response rate which is fantastic. This survey, and other, small and less formal surveys we run through the year give us incredibly rich and useful data about government business needs and risks. They help us again to prioritise our resources and focus on the areas of greatest government business need.

It is important to us that we can ask our customers questions about how they are going with managing all the government business information out there and asking where they particularly need advice and support. So thank you to all those that provide feedback and answer our questions.


We like helping our customers to best manage their information resources

In 2012-13, fourteen new retention policies were approved by the State Records Board. These policies help NSW public offices to prioritise their corporate information management resources on their high risk, long term value records and also to appropriately destroy their time-expired business information.

We also continue to issue formal guidelines on complex information management issues such as digitisation, SharePoint and social media, in order to simplify decision making and analysis for our public service customers and to help them deploy simple and effective strategies that best meet their business needs.


And we love thinking about our customers’ business needs in the longer term

Like the rest of the State Records team, in Government Recordkeeping, we don’t want to just meet our customers’ needs now, we want to meet them into the future as well.

So a lot of our work is focussed on the future, focussed on making sure that Government is going to have the information it needs to support its business operations 5, 10, 20 years into the future. We partner with our colleagues in State Records’ Digital Archives team to ensure that key government business information is protected and managed and kept for as long as the NSW government and community needs it.


So that is us!

As mentioned  above we do love feedback, advice and all the metrics you can offer. All your advice really helps us to improve the services that we offer to the NSW public sector. Thanks!


photo by: dgray_xplane
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