Blog article

Australia’s Federal Government recordkeeping crisis: a call to action

Alarming recordkeeping inadequacies have been revealed in Australian Federal government organisations. There are imminent implications…but there’s a quick and easy solution.

Right now, the Australian Public Service (APS) is grappling with a silent crisis. It’s been developing over the last 40 years and is now coming to a head. The Records and Information Management Practitioners Alliance (RIMPA Global) has sounded the alarm on deficient recordkeeping in Australia, particularly in the Federal Government. So, what are the implications for the APS? Let’s find out. 

What is Australia’s recordkeeping crisis? 

Recent Royal Commission reports, including the Robodebt inquiry, and the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security have noted major deficiencies and high exposure issues with the APS’ management of records.  

In response to this, RIMPA Global has written a candid letter to the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance expressing serious concern about the government expanding data storage without a coherent strategy for information management. The letter outlined the potential fall-out from over-retention of and unauthorised access to data, the need for a systematic approach to its management, and a change to the Archives Act 1983 to be more inclusive of digital records. 

You might wonder why it’s become an issue now.  

You might think that your records management practices are sufficient and there’s no need to change what’s been working so far. 

But in today’s digital world, effective records management – including social media – is essential. And the fall-out of not having it can be incredibly destructive, as you will see… 

Unravelling the devastating consequences of deficient recordkeeping 

Organisations are custodians of valuable information and information breaches become a serious risk if the data is not effectively managed.  

Case in point – the Medibank data breach.  

In 2022, the private information of Medibank’s 9.7 million customers was stolen and exposed. Names, addresses, Medicare numbers, HIV details, drug and alcohol addiction cases, mental health treatment and more personal information was leaked. It was a national scandal and a landmark class action is underway.  

The question we’re all asking: how could it happen? 

Answer: ineffective records management. 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has been investigating whether Medibank failed to comply with Australian privacy law and protect the personal information of its customers. Were Medibank’s records management practices robust enough? Did they take reasonable steps to implement systems to protect information from misuse, loss, and unauthorised access? 

Anne Cornish, CEO of RIMPA Global, is urging the APS to heed this warning.  

“It’s been critical for some time,” she says. “Government departments and agencies can get away with it…until things hit the fan, and then it starts to become a crisis.”  

While there are mandatory recordkeeping requirements for Federal Government, Ms Cornish explains that managing records effectively appears to be at the bottom of the priority list.  

Effective records management is not only required, it’s expected by the community… but it’s just not happening. 

Take action now  

However, there is a quick, easy and cost-effective way to get on top of your social media recordkeeping and tick that off your To-do list. Many Australian Federal Government organisations have already found how straightforward it is to make their organisation compliant and get valuable insights into their social media with Brolly (that’s us!). 

We offer a secure, sophisticated social media recordkeeping solution for organisations looking to up their compliance game. 

Here’s why you should consider using Brolly: 

Be proactive. Get in touch to find out how your organisation can quickly and easily become compliant with your recordkeeping obligations.