Thursday, 5 March 2009

Records Management Building Bridges Conference

I've spent the first three days of this week in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Tuesday and Wednesday have been the Building Bridges conference for Records Managers held at the new conference centre at Gateshead College, from whose windows this view of the Millenium Bridge over the Tyne was taken.

The conference was organised by JISC infoNet and was the brainchild of my colleague Steve Bailey. Records Managers from universities, colleges, local authorities and elsewhere gathered to discuss the future direction of records management and the impact that the growing use of social networking sites such as blogs, wikis and networks such as Facebook have on an organisation's ability to control its data and information.

I gave a session on communications during the implementation of change and facilitated a group discussion session as well as running round with the roving microphone for question and feedback sessions.

It has been a most interesting two days with the benefits of a records management approach pushed to the fore over compliance issues. There was some discussion as to where, in an organisation, does the Records Management function logically sit and there was some disagreement amongst the delegates when HR was suggested (because of the staff development role they usually have) or in Finance (because of the strict controlled way that accountants like to work).

What did come out strongly was that wherever they sit, the Records Manager needs the support of a senior manager committed to driving the records management agenda forward across the organisation. Someone at middle manager level sitting within one team or area does not have the necessary influence over the other functions and structural areas that exist in large organisations such as universities and colleges.

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