Opinion – Role of records management on service delivery

Document management plays a vital role in the day-to-day business activities of organizations. A large volume of information is produced, collected, disseminated and used daily in the public and private sectors to serve the general public and to hold the government accountable for what has happened.

This highlights the importance of good records management in ensuring government accountability in a democratic society. However, it is of concern that many organizations in Namibia do not have adequate structures for records management, despite
effort of the University of Namibia to reduce the shortage of records management experts by producing records management graduates every year.

Most organizations have a culture of reducing document management responsibilities to simple paper filing work. This trend has resorted to organizations hiring people on a temporary basis to only do filing and boxing of documents, which are the core activities of records management.

There is no doubt that some organizations do not have records and archives at all as business units in their organizational structure. This situation will only change if organizations begin to view records management as a core business area to ensure good governance and accountability.

Prioritize records as vital assets

Like any other asset essential to the effective functioning of day-to-day business activities in the public and private sectors, documents are also essential sources of information and knowledge. They are imperative to help the government make timely, relevant and informed decisions and, therefore, contribute to sustainable socio-economic and political development.

It is on this basis that good records management is necessary to ensure service delivery, which is essential to national well-being and the stimulation of economic development.Proper records management is essential for the survival and efficient operation of day-to-day business activities, which is why organizations must maintain a record-keeping system to ensure effective and efficient service delivery in Namibia.

I therefore suggest that record keeping be considered a core activity of public and private administration in support of service delivery. People need information to carry out their work, and archives represent a particular and crucial source of information.

Records provide a reliable and legally verifiable source of evidence of
decisions and actions.

The essential role of records management is to ensure that organizations fulfill their mandate by providing evidence of transactions. An organization that practices good records management always delivers good service delivery.

It is on this basis that public and private sector organizations must understand and recognize the importance of records management to improve organizational performance and decision-making.

*Fanuel Haindongo is Administrator of Archives at the City of Windhoek

2021-05-11 Staff reporter