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Source: 2003 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada, Chapter 6-Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Federal Government
OAG Recommendation. LAC6 should implement mechanisms to obtain comprehensive information on the nature and condition of archival heritage, whether it is under their own control or that of Departments/Agencies.
LAC's response. LACs agrees with this recommendation and, in recognizing the importance of it, has recently undertaken a Collections Risk Assessment for the purpose of identifying renewed strategies for the protection and preservation of its collections. This initiative, along with the development of a more robust collections management function, will enable the organization to achieve the following: a more complete and accurate description of the state of the collection, in all the organization's facilities; a more strategic approach to preservation planning; the capacity to assess and mitigate risks to the collection under a risk management framework; effective, readily applicable survey methodologies; and a clearer identification of the information technology framework that is needed to support accurate, up-to-date reporting on the state of the collection and the progress made with preservation plans and strategies. LAC has completed a review of all existing records disposition authorities and communicated the results with departments. A complete life-cycle approach is being developed that will link departmental information management practices with the archival practices of the National Archives. This approach will foster the early identification of archival records and provide departments with the necessary information management tools and guidance in order to provide appropriate care of these records until transfer to LAC.
OAG Recommendation. LAC should implement, as soon as possible, its new method of selecting and acquiring records of historic value and report annually to Parliament on its progress. It should equip itself with appropriate management tools that allow it to measure how well it is protecting federal government records of archival value.
LAC's Response. LAC agrees with this recommendation and is in the process of developing and implementing its new approach to the selection and acquisition of records of historic and archival value. A review of all existing records disposition authorities has been completed. In addition, new internal procedures are being developed, as are new terms and conditions for the transfer of records to the National Archives and related guidelines and application tools. This work also responds to needs expressed by government departments at a recent Information Management Focus Day.
LAC will seek to develop indicators and enhance its existing reporting framework, namely the Departmental Performance Report and the Report on Plans and Priorities, to provide the ability to respond to this recommendation.
OAG Recommendation. The Treasury Board Secretariat, in collaboration with LAC, should develop a comprehensive plan to implement the new Management of Government Information Policy in order to provide the necessary support to federal Departments/Agencies that need to apply it. The Secretariat should develop a results-based management and accountability framework that Departments/Agencies can use in implementing the policy and in preparing reports to Parliament.
LAC Response. LAC agrees that improvements should be made in information management in government departments, including the organizing and scheduling of records to be transferred to the National Archives for permanent retention. In conjunction with government departments, it is currently developing new guidelines for the transfer of records.
It should be noted, however, that the physical transfer of records of government departments to LAC alone does not ensure the preservation of those records. The increasing number of electronic records created by government departments (for example, e-mail) will need new methods of management and ongoing maintenance to ensure the authenticity and reliability of these records over time, both in departments and after transfer to LAC. In addition, this growing challenge of managing electronic records is only part of the larger information management challenge faced by government for records in all media. Backlogs of undermanaged traditional paper records also exist in almost every department.
The National Archives agrees with this recommendation and is currently in the process of developing such an implementation plan with the Treasury Board Secretariat's Chief Information Officer Branch and LAC. The Treasury Board Secretariat and the National Archives have launched a joint project to assist government departments to scope the requirements necessary to implement the new Management of Government Information Policy. The National Archives has developed a self-assessment tool that departments can use to gauge their own internal state of information management readiness. Results from departmental self-assessments, as they become available, will be used in the implementation project.
6 Then National Archives