Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Department of Health must improve its management of records

ICO press release
9 March 2009
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a formal practice recommendation to the Department of Health regarding its record management practice. This follows a request by the ICO, and with the agreement of the Department, for the National Archives (TNA) to conduct an assessment of records management practice at the authority.
The assessment found that there are good central policies and guidance in place. However, much of the responsibility for day-to-day management of records has been devolved to local staff, leading to the development of local practices, some of which lack consistency across the Department. The recommendation concludes that senior managers must do more to ensure that good behaviours and practices are reinforced, especially in the face of organisational changes.
This is the second practice recommendation the ICO has issued to the Department of Health for failing to meet its requirements under the Freedom of Information Act. In April 2008 the Department was served a practice recommendation in relation to its handling of FOI requests.

The Information Commissioner recognises that the Department is already working to improve its records management practices and welcomes this approach. The ICO will continue to monitor the Department’s request handling and records management functions and with the support of TNA, will be assessing its progress against the recommendations.

View the practice recommendation.
view a copy of the National Archives assessment report.

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