Newly-published research from Iron Mountain shows that records and information management in the public sector is contributing significantly to Government cost-saving and efficiency targets. However, the pace and scope of change across the sector presents a serious challenge.
While a reassuring 72% of those public sector information leaders surveyed in the study say their approach to information management is fit-for-purpose, 61% admit their organisation has lost or misplaced important documents while 40% say they have suffered a data breach.
Iron Mountain spoke to senior executives responsible for managing public sector information and implementing the Government’s digital transformation strategy. The study found that reform is welcome and already delivering considerable benefits (for example by enabling 1.3 million students to apply online for loans and generating £1.4 billion from the sale of Government-owned land and buildings, saving £600 million a year in running costs in the process).
However, the study also found that developments such as the merger and relocation of offices and job roles can result in over-burdened staff (81%), a disconnected approach to information across teams (71%), a lack of information management skills (60%) and a failure to stick to guidelines (57%).
Period of transformational change
Phil Greenwood, who’s responsible for delivering Iron Mountain’s services to the public sector, explained the need for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors.
“The UK’s public sector is going through a period of transformational change,” stated Greenwood. “Almost everyone we surveyed said that cost-cutting had resulted in the loss of valuable skills in records and information management. More than half reported reduced operational efficiencies and many had experienced a data breach or loss.”
Greenwood continued: “For the public sector to further its success in bringing services online, freeing up its estate and reducing costs, the transformation must be met with improvements in how records and information are managed. With four-in-five public sector bodies identifying an opportunity to make additional cost savings by optimising their records and information management, this looks like an area that deserves consideration and review.”
In conclusion, Greenwood told Risk UK: “It’s important that the individuals, teams and departments responsible for the Government’s vast estate of information have the support they need to proceed into a digital future with confidence.”
Guidance on actions to be taken
Iron Mountain has prepared a White Paper highlighting the main findings of the study and providing guidance on the actions public sector organisations can take to address the challenges and harness the opportunities.
Copies of the White Paper, entitled ‘The Public Sector – Managing Information Through the Challenge of Change’, may be downloaded from the company’s website.