The Role Of Human Record Management On Public Service Efficiency
This study was designed to explore the significant relationship between, effective record keeping and public service efficiency, a study of Lagos State Ministry of Environment.
The sample for the study comprised of 86 civil servants. The main tool used for the study was a questionnaire designed to collect relevant data about the subject matter. The data collected were subjected to frequency distribution, percentages, mean and Non-parametric chi-square test.
After testing the various hypotheses, it was concluded that effective record keeping is a panacea to public service efficiency. It is recommended that Lagos State Ministry of Environment should incorporate the principle of record all information and making sure that such information are available to the public when needed.
1.1 Background to the Study
Record keeping is a fundamental activity of public administration (Ashley, 2000). Without records there can ‘be no rule of law and no accountability. Public servants must have information to carry out their work, and records represent a particular and crucial source of information. Records provide a reliable, legally verifiable source of evidence of decisions and actions. They document compliance or non-compliance with laws, rules, and procedures (World Bank, 2004).
Governments can no longer justify taking action with little or no reference to past performance or future goals. Nor can they justify parallel or duplicate services when they can combine services and reduce costs. Client service, quality performance of tasks, and measurable outcomes are increasingly important responsibilities, and these aspirations all depend on accessible and usable records.
Yet, in many countries around the world, record keeping systems are unable to cope with the growing mass of unmanaged records. This is particularly true in countries with limited financial or administrative resources or where records and archives managers lack training or professional development opportunities. Administrators find it ever more difficult to retrieve the information they need to formulate, implement, and monitor policy and to manage key personnel and financial resources. This situation impedes the capacity to carry out economic and administrative reform programs aimed at achieving efficiency, accountability, and enhanced services to citizens. Moreover, the decline, and in some cases total collapse, of record keeping systems makes it virtually impossible to determine responsibility for actions and to hold individuals accountable (Cimtech, 2009).
The loss of control of records has consequences for all citizens, especially for the poorest who are least able to defend themselves. Relevant and accurate public records are essential to preserving the rule of law and demonstrating fair, equal, and consistent treatment of citizens. Without access to records, the public does not have the evidence needed to hold officials accountable or to insist on the prosecution of corruption and fraud.
Moreover, the public suffers when inadequate information systems affect the delivery of programs. All aspects of public service, including health, education, pensions, land, and judicial rights, depend upon well-kept and well-managed records.
Records are vital to virtually every aspect of the governance process (Johnston, et. al 2005). The effectiveness and efficiency of the public service across the range of government functions depends upon the availability of and access to information held in records. Badly managed records adversely affect the broad scope of public service reforms, and development projects are often difficult to implement and sustain effectively in the absence of well managed records. The relationship between key governance objectives and the records required to support them is illustrated below.
Governments are being asked to be transparent, open, and engaged with their citizens. And citizens are becoming more concerned about their roles in the governance of the country. They want to be able to trust in their government, and they expect it to function in a manner that engenders this sense of trust. Records, and the evidence they contain, are the instruments by which governments can promote a climate of trust and demonstrate an overall commitment to good government (Schulz, 2009).
Similarly, accountability is critical to a responsible government. The foundation for accountability is well-managed records. When managed in a way that ensures integrity and authenticity through time, records allow employees to account to their managers. They permit managers to account to the heads of government institutions and they help the heads to account to elected officials and others who represent the interests of society.
1.2 Statement of Problem
In many countries, public sector record keeping systems are weak or have actually collapsed to the point where they barely function. This situation is particularly evident in countries that were once part of European-dominated colonial regimes. In these countries, structured record keeping systems were common, supporting the information needs of a small, centralized civil service, often with a well-trained and experienced records staff. In many of these countries the European model of registries, a central point for the registration and control of documents, was introduced, and it was not unusual to civil servants to begin their careers working in registries and then move upwards. They tended in this way to develop a good understanding of the importance of information management.
In the years following independence, this situation deteriorated progressively as part of a general decline in public administration. Informal practices supplanted formal rules, and efficient public administration was of secondary importance to providing employment. While the civil service expanded steadily, bringing with it a corresponding increase in the flow of paper, more formal ways of working gradually collapsed, often replaced by ad hoc work methods (Zairi, 2007).
In many cases, the institution grew used to making decisions without referring to records. There was little incentive to maintain effective record keeping systems or to allocate adequate resources for records storage and staff. In some cases, the failure to create and maintain records systems was motivated by the desire to conceal financial and other irregularities.
Eventually, the registries stopped acting as the point of entry for able recruits and became a dumping ground for staff without career prospects. The staff had limited training or experience with record keeping work, and record keeping was allowed to deteriorate. File classification and indexing systems originally designed to meet the record keeping requirements of the colonial period could not meet the needs of, complex modern governments.
Paradoxically, in many countries, despite the low usage of records, there was an extreme, reluctance to destroy records, even after they ceased to have any value to the institution. In the absence of rules and guidelines for what should be kept and for how long, staff were reluctant to authorize destruction. Over time, registries became severely congested with older records. Ultimately, many records systems collapsed under their own weight (Digitary, 2004).
Even as record keeping has declined in many countries, there have been important advances in the field of records management in other countries, particularly in Europe, North America, and Australia. For the most part these advances have made little impact on the countries that require them most. Professional literature has been almost impossible to acquire owing to poor communications and the lack of foreign’ exchange. Even when learning materials could be acquired, the principles were extremely difficult to apply in the deteriorating conditions. As a result, modern records management practices have not been introduced.
Information users are well aware that there are severe problems in information retrieval, but they do not know what solutions are required. They do not appreciate the complexities of establishing and maintaining records systems; often they do not recognize the connection between the breakdown of record systems and the larger problem of public administration. As a result, record system reforms rarely feature in government priorities.
The major problem this study intends to investigate is if there a relationship between personnel record management and efficiency in the civil service most especially in Lagos State Ministry of Environment, how record management has impacted on the performance of the agency, also taking cognizance of challenges affecting the record keeping in civil service.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to critically examine the relationship between human record management and the efficiency in the public service most especially in Lagos State Ministry of Environment.
Other specific objectives include:
- To examine the impact of record management on the performance of Ministry of Environment.
- To examine the impact effective record keeping on service delivery to the populace.
- To proffer solution to the current problem in record management
1.4 Statement of Research Questions
The following research questions will guide this study:
- Is there a correlation between human record management and the efficiency in the public service most especially in Lagos State Ministry of Environment?
- Has record management improve the performance of Ministry of Environment?
- Has effective record keeping ensured service delivery to the populace?
1.5 Statement of Research Hypotheses
Considering the nature of problems stated above, the following research hypothesis would be tested for rejection or acceptance.
- Ho: There, is no significant relationship between human record management and the efficiency in the public service.
Hi: There is a significant relationship between human record management and the efficiency in the public service:
- Ho: Record management has not improved the performance of Ministry of Environment.
Hi: Record management has improved the performance of Ministry of Environment.
- Ho: There is no significant relationship between effective record keeping and service delivery to the populace.
Hi: There is a significant relationship between effective record keeping and service delivery to the populace.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The result of this study will be a great benefit to large number of people. The Lagos State Ministry of Environment will benefit because it finding and recommendation will improve the record storage management of the agency. Other agencies of Lagos state will also benefit because it will promote their work.
Just as it is useful to agencies of Government, record keeping is also useful to the general populace as it inform them of the activities of government.
Finally, the results of this study should help scholars, students, managers, communicators, administrators, financial experts, educational planners, decision makers, government agencies and upcoming researchers in the conduct of future research. It will also provide useful information which will enable them make useful and positive decisions that will help move forward our economy.
This study will also contribute to the existing literature on the subject matter its impact of record management on civil service.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to Lagos State Ministry of Environment. The rationale behind the choice of the case study is because Lagos State Ministry of Environment is has a crucial role to play in the development of Lagos State that is why it was cave out of Ministry of Works. Despite these limitations, however the study will provide the basic foundation required for further research.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The research was restricted to the staff of Lagos state Ministry of Environment, Alausa, Ikeja, because of the problems of time, cash constraints, also lack of adequate facilitate and thorough examination and analysis of the subject matter.
It is of utmost importance to state here that every research project faces one problem or the other that contributed to its imperfection. In the case of this study the major reason for its long delay was inability to get current and relevant materials as regard the proposed subject. The researcher has limited time due to class assignments, there are also financial Constraints to go to long distance distributing, retrieving, and also soliciting for current and adequate information that are relevant to the efficiency of the research work. Moreover, there is also there may be a problem of prompt response from respondent.
1.9 Organization of Study
This research work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is introducing the subject matter of the study stating the research problem, objectives, significance, hypothesis, scope and limitation of the study.
Chapter two involves a thorough examination of the subject matter via literature review. J
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This chapter deals with a brief summary of the study, conclusions based on the findings as well as recommendations.
This project investigated the human record management and the efficiency in the public service most especially in Lagos State Ministry of Environment. Related literatures were review to form the theoretical bases for the study. A sample of 120 was used for the study.
Four research questions were drawn to guide the investigation while the data collected were drawn, tabulated, analyzed and interpreted with the aid of frequency and simple mean score.
The study revealed that records provide evidence in the court of law as well as aiding executives in making good decisions.
The study also revealed that record management enable easy location of document and prevent losing of essential documents.
Furthermore, the study revealed that, with record management, it is easy to know the organizational problems even without too much research or setting of committees. It also makes information available within a very short time which saves cost.
Finally, the study revealed that office managers should be equipped with modern technology facilities and as well increase storage facilities to enhance the efficiency of record management.
Based on the data analyzed from the findings of the study the following conclusions where arrived at.
There is a link between organizational productivity and proper record management as proper record provides evidence in the court of law and also leads to proper appropriation of funds the researchers also concluded that proper record management aids executives in making decisions.
The findings also conclude that proper record management affects office manager’s efficiency by enabling the office manager’s ability to keep confidential documents and also prevents misappropriation of funds.
The findings conclude that as a result of proper record management, organizations time cost and labour is saved because proper record management leads to the achievement of setting goals as well as make information available within a very short time.
Finally the researchers however concluded that record management brings about efficiency in the system and advised organizations lay more emphasis on proper record management and always update their record management department
The following recommendations have been put forward to enhance record management in the organization.
- Since the world has entered the computer age it is necessary that record management in the organization should be computerized therefore computers should be acquired for use in every office so that records can easily be retrieved when the need arises.
- Organizations should train their staffs on the nitty gritty of record management.
- Organizations should give more emphasis on proper record to achieve its plan and increase productivity.
- Organizations should try and equip and update their record departments to enhance smooth operations.
All staffs involved in record management the executives and their office professionals should be properly trained on a modern (contemporary) record management and keeping. Workshops seminars and short courses can be used to do the training.
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