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As public offices and local authorities respond to the challenges of COVID-19 in this rapidly evolving environment, the safety of staff and the efforts to limit COVID-19’s spread remains of paramount importance. However, it is also important to remember that effectively responding to COVID-19 and implementing alternative ways of working is supported by information management.

Continuing to manage information is vital in supporting organisations to manage and coordinate their COVID-19 responses successfully. For this reason, and for Government to be transparent and accountable, the core Public Records Act 2005 obligations remain as important as ever.  These are to create and maintain full and accurate records in accordance with prudent business practice. Prudent business practice in a time of pandemic response will help support the success of the response.   

As your organisation develops new approaches to your service delivery and new systems or work practices supporting staff working from home it is important to consider the following:

  • How is information managed for hand over if staff are cycled through shifts or assignments? Who is responsible for ensuring a complete and accurate record is maintained and stored safely?

  • How is accountability for decisions and actions recorded and made easily accessible in this rapidly changing environment?

  • Where information management specialists are in short supply how is your organisation ensuring that adequate information management support can continue?

  • Circumstances may require new IT solutions or work practices supporting staff working from home, and these may operate outside your current information management environment. How is the information you create then maintained, secured, controlled and ultimately captured back into your corporate systems, both during the emergency period and as we restore normal business?

  • As more teams use online tools to facilitate remote collaboration (such as Trello or other cloud tools), how will your organisation address the information management challenges with these technologies?

  • When using technologies supporting your organisation to meet remotely (such as zoom or skype), how do you maintain prudent business practices that are easily disrupted in such circumstances, especially recording minutes, actions and decisions? 

For many public offices and local authorities some of these issues will present significant challenges. A clear and accurate record of your organisation's activities and decisions must continue to be properly maintained as we all adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

We are available, through our online channels, for advice and to work with you if any information management issues arise, including disposal issues or implementing existing authorities. The primary channel for reaching our specialist staff remains


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