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Information Management - Information Matters

Stage 7: Evaluation

During Stage 7: Evaluation, IM practitioners and managers actively evaluate the effectiveness of their IM strategies and processes. Using a number of different evaluation tools, the objective is to assess where programs have been strong, and where they have been weak, so that changes can be made in the next planning cycle to achieve better results.

Why is Stage 7 Important?
This is the stage where the opportunity is taken to really assess how well IM programs are doing in effective Records and Information Life Cycle Management, and to take corrective action to obtain better results in the future. This is a permanent and ongoing part of the cycle, and an important factor in continuous improvement.

Critical Notes about Stage 7: Evaluation
The most important aspect of Stage 7 is having specific performance targets that your IM programs are trying to achieve. In Stage 1: IM Planning, key metrics for performance were established, ideally against benchmark results. The concept of benchmarking - or taking a measure of how your programs are performing against set measurement criteria - is important in order to be able to see if you’ve made gains or losses in your IM program effectiveness. Each time a new measure is taken, it can be compared to the earliest and first benchmark, to the last performance measure, and to the target objective. As they become available, you may even be able to compare the effectiveness of your programs to external organizations and those who have achieved recognition for best practices.

Sharing best practices is a key aspect of working within the IM community. It might take decades for any single organization to increasingly improve programs until they achieve the best possible results - but in a community that shares what works, and what doesn’t, we can all benefit. We encourage you to share your successes and failures openly to benefit others. Contact us so that we can add your ideas and resources to our growing pool of shared knowledge.

Inputs to Stage 7: Evaluation
To encourage continuous improvement, there are five key inputs that IM practitioners should consider when evaluating their IM programs:

  • new or updated Government of Canada IM standards and policies;
  • your most recent departmental IM plan;
  • any findings of the Auditor General of Canada related to IM;
  • any findings of Special Inquiries into IM practices; and
  • generic or institution-specific IM audits, evaluations or client surveys undertaken by Library and Archives Canada.

Outputs from Stage 7: Evaluation
Effective evaluation of IM programs yields three key outputs that are helpful in identifying areas of strength and deficit, and that point towards actions that can be taken to strengthen IM initiatives:

  • a completed IM Capacity Check;
  • the results of internal reviews, evaluations, audits or client surveys; and
  • a report that recommends input into the next Stage 1: IM Planning cycle.

Library and Archives Canada’s Role in Stage 7: Evaluation
Library and Archives Canada plays a key role in guiding federal government IM practitioners about the importance of effective Records and Information Life Cycle Management. We increasingly make a range of tools, standards, guidelines and practices available to the IM community at large, and Government of Canada employees in particular. Where needed, we provide advice, consultation, training and orientation to support the effective evaluation of government IM initiatives and programs.

While we support good Information Management practices at all stages of the Records and Information Life Cycle, we also play a key role in specific areas including developing or assessing IM monitoring and evaluation plans, participating in IM Capacity Checks, and undertaking reviews, audits, evaluations, and client surveys. Where permitted by departments, results may be shared with the IM community at large to contribute to continuous improvement initiatives in the area of IM.

Resources that Support Stage 7: Evaluation
Click here to access available resources that support Stage 7.

If you have resources that you feel will contribute to the overall IM community’s success, we invite you to contact us so that we can add your resources to our growing pool of shared knowledge.