NAA undertakes its own Digital Transition

As an example of the NAA “walking the walk, not just talking the talk”, it has undergone its own Digital Transition for the process of authorising records authorities – implementing an electronic workflow via its TRIM EDRMS.

Anne Lyons, NAA Assistant Director-General, told the recent HP Information Governance forum in Sydney, “Records Authorities, which the NAA issues, gives Australian government Agencies permission to legally dispose of Commonwealth records once they are no longer needed. They also provide instructions for the disposal of records including identifying which records are of enduring value and transfer to the Archives.

“Under the Act no record can be destroyed unless its authorised by the National Archives, and that’s what a Records Authority does, so Records Authorities are significant to agencies and are a very central legislative function of the archives.”

Until last year these Authorities were authorised by the NAA Director General with a wet signature, and this process has now been digitised with records created and managed digitally all the way through.

“The key drivers for us in selecting this process were that we are the lead agency for the Digital Transition and thus required to meet the policy ourselves as any other agency,” said Lyons.

“It also was able to give us a benefit of building experience and identifying pathways internally as well as supporting and developing advice to other agencies, so practically implementing what we were advising others to do, walk the walk as well as talking the talk.”

After undertaking risk assessment and developing a business case a number of technical options for digitising Authorisation were investigated

Initially the process was digitised through the exchange of Authorisation emails and capture of records in the EDRMS used in TRIM.

“We took advantage of the existing technologies and processes in TRIM and so we used the TRIM workflow tracking to notify staff of actions they need to perform and to record completed actions within the system itself including the electronic authorisation. So the press of a button by the authorised person using that system included the final Records Authority endorsement and authorisation by the Director-General,” said Lyons.

“It was a tracking workflow that we used, started and completed electronically, emailed to agencies and published online end to end digital. It has been accepted by agencies and is working extremely well, with no paper in the process.”