Chapter 1: Managing records and growing knowledge: an interactive strategy – Records Management and Knowledge Mobilisation

1

Managing records and growing knowledge: an interactive strategy

Abstract:

Early initiatives in electronic records management showed promise for contributing to government transformation, but concentrated more on regulating information governance. Public sector modernisation has gained momentum, and a central feature of reform is the trend from delivery through hierarchies to networks. Records managers are seeking to refocus their professional role on information and knowledge. The key problems of government transformation are knowledge-based. Knowledge mobilisation and records management working together are well placed to meet these challenges.

Key words

electronic records management

government transformation

modernisation

public sector reform

professional role

knowledge mobilisation

In 1997, an energetic, reforming, New Labour Government was elected in the UK, ousting the weary incumbent which had been in power for many years. The newcomers promised a sweeping programme of modernisation and reform, a ‘new dawn’ which would permanently change the face of the public sector; a transformation into efficient, effective, integrated and increasingly electronic public services. At that time, many government information systems were still largely paper-based, existing electronic systems tended to be uncoordinated silos that simply automated manual practices, and government websites remained unsophisticated public communication channels. Inspired by the heady beliefs of the dot-com boom, rapidly moving to a fully electronic mode of working, creating large and interlinked databases of government records, the large-scale application of IT systems and building integrated public-facing electronic services through a coherent network of websites seemed the obvious course to follow. The new administration set out enthusiastically to apply the digital efficiencies and disciplines of the private sector to the conduct of government business.

At the same time, records managers and archivists responsible for government records were concerned about the long-term implications of electronic business systems for capturing, managing and preserving digital records. The essential mutability of the digital format, and dependency on fast-changing technology for access to the content, threatened the authenticity and longevity of the corporate record and, for the permanent archive, the continuing flow of historical records in the future. In response, records management practice aspired to bring electronic records under managed control much closer to the point of creation than with paper records. The new strategy for a sweeping digitisation of government business represented, on the one hand, a threat that could not be ignored, and on the other, an opportunity to hitch these issues onto a more glamorous carriage.

The new strategy was articulated in a government White Paper entitled Modernising Government, which set out a range of initiatives and targets for the delivery of ‘information-age government’. Some way into this document, it mentioned:

a strategy across government for managing and accessing archives, using modern IT to support service delivery and accountability. It is our aim that by 2004 all newly created public records will be electronically stored and retrieved.

With most broad-based policy documents, the original wording of its detailed elements is collated from many sources and edited together by a central policy team. It seems most likely that those who originated this statement were thinking of the creation of interim electronic archives for semi-active records – those no longer needed for day-to-day business, but deemed important for compliance and reference purposes – rather than of current business records in day-today business systems. This seemed a good way to ensure that ‘born-digital’ documents produced by electronic business systems would be preserved for later selection by the permanent archives. Clearly this strategy would be difficult to justify in cost–benefit terms on its own – and hard to engage senior management interest within departments – if the primary benefit is understood as the historical value for future generations. Linking this objective into public service reform initiatives – arguing that it will improve electronic service delivery and build public trust and confidence through greater accountability – reframed the strategy as an essential underpinning infrastructure for the modernisation initiative.

The arguments developed thus: a radical move to online public services requires an equal attention to the efficient capture, management and presentation of operational information behind the public face of the system – tax-collecting organisations, for example, need to know what guidance they have placed on their websites in the past, the e-mail communications that staff have had with individual customers, any precedent-setting policy and case decisions, and so on; and to be able to make this knowledge reliably accessible at the point of contact with the customer. Some of this information will be held in structured databases, but some also in unstructured and poorly controlled documents, e-mails or spreadsheets, without benefit of version control or audit trails. A ‘print-to-paper’ policy is not sustainable in online working; therefore all this material must be brought within a managed electronic environment and placed under the necessary disciplines that would assure their status as reliable and authentic formal records. In turn, this managed environment would need to reflect new ways of working, rather than simply automating paper-based routines, whilst also retaining a degree of compatibility with legacy material.

A second major theme of modernisation, at the inter- agency level, was tagged as ‘joined-up government’. The citizen/customer should be able to interact with pubic services in terms of their own needs, without having to understand how functions are allocated across the physical structure of government agencies; the focus should be on the outcome rather than the process. Therefore electronic records management should be consistent and compatible between, as well as within, different organisations, to enable the appropriate sharing and update of information regardless of its physical location. At the same time, the managed environment must take account of privacy and data protection rules, and reconcile these with the innovatory needs for information-sharing between organisations.

The logic of these arguments reinforced the belief that electronic records must be brought within the managed environment at or near their point of creation, else their authenticity might be in question. Driven by the consequences of locating it within the modernisation initiative, the brief policy statement on interim electronic archives quoted above quickly evolved into a target to install electronic document and records management (EDRM) systems in business areas across all central government departments and agencies by the end of 2004, meeting a common standard of requirements – quite a different challenge! This in turn generated a range of supporting activities, functional and procedural standards, departmental business change programmes and incentivisation of software product development.

This story illustrates the surprising ways that public policies, in general, come about. It is often assumed that they are generated through a fully rational process of evidence-gathering, evaluation of options and considered rational choice; but many other factors influence the process. In this case, a pre-existing solution – interim electronic archives – fitted well with a broad archival concern about the impact of IT on the quality of records and future transfer to the permanent archives. The redefinition of the problem as one of rapid modernisation offered an entrepreneurial opportunity to attach this solution to a problem passing in the stream of wider policy issues. Now framed in this new perspective, it began to evolve a different aspect. The logic and momentum of this innovation reworked the proposed solution into something rather different: about current business systems rather than historical archives.

This shift put the records management function potentially at the forefront of business change, introducing new tensions. The conventional formal structures of records management tend to stress a regulatory function, constraining the actions that can be taken on corporate information in order to ensure authentic records and compliance with information governance regimes. Potential constraints include, for example, requiring users to: store electronic records in corporate filing structures they do not understand and find difficult to retrieve from; apply retention policies, security and other (to them burdensome) metadata about the record, adding additional processes for largely administrative reasons; or refrain from sharing information between business units where there may be risk of compliance issues. A concentration on regulation can then easily become a battle against innovation, in which records managers are perceived as ‘information police’, always in the position of saying, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ In such a situation, it becomes more difficult for them to demonstrate how these apparent obstructions do in fact contribute to real business benefits.

This tension between regulation and innovation is inherent in records management. On the one hand, the unique contribution of records management disciplines is to produce a structured and sustainable body of material which accurately records what happened, supporting accountability and transparency: a focus on order and stability. On the other, it must engage with issues of modernisation and reform, contributing to business benefits and effective outcomes delivery, helping to improve agility, efficiency and quality: a focus on change. A central question of this book is: how can we resolve these competing demands in a consistent and coherent way?

The ‘2004 initiative’, as it became known, found it difficult to articulate precise business benefits from EDRM that would be capable of justifying the substantial costs of implementation across the whole of government. Benefits tended to stress the avoidance of costs from lack of compliance, savings in space management and efficiencies in records management processes themselves; and generalised assertions on improved decision-making and evidence-based policy. Fortuitously, an alternative platform emerged in the shape of Freedom of Information legislation, new to the UK and to be implemented by 2005; and to a lesser extent, in revisions in data protection and other legislation. The attraction to officials and politicians of some assurance against surprising revelations, through improved records control, offered supplementary justification. To the question: ‘what is EDRM for?’ the answers shifted between an initial ‘to save today’s records for future generations’, towards ‘to avoid the potential embarrassment of failing to comply with information policy’, whilst ‘to radically help transform the way government works’ slipped down the agenda. When seeking to meet a difficult target, the familiar is more attractive than the unknown, and for many organisations it seemed the spotlight shifted from service transformation towards information governance; from enabling innovation and change towards corralling and restraining new approaches; from proportionate risk management towards precautionary risk avoidance; and from a user perspective towards a records manager perspective.

This and subsequent initiatives in health and local government have succeeded in building a strong narrative around information policy and governance: defining a comprehensive set of rules on the application of data protection and data-sharing, freedom of information and information security, confidentiality and transparency; and turning these into institutional rules that are embedded in the expected culture and behaviour of public sector bodies. They have been less successful – as with many other government IT programmes – in radically transforming the way that government delivers services and outcomes. There are few studies quantifying the benefits realised by the various programmes that have implemented EDRM over the last decade or so, and no systematic review of the returns from the substantial investments made in these initiatives. Undoubtedly many records managers have achieved a great deal in promoting a corporate model of records and a compliant information governance regime in their organisations, and in improving the efficiency of records management processes themselves. What is not clear, though, is the extent to which these achievements have directly added value to the primary objectives of those organisations – shaping and delivering public policy outcomes.

This difficulty is certainly not unique to the records and information management world. Policies and strategies not only emerge from unexpected sources, they also take unexpected courses as events unfold, not always following an obviously rational course, and with those responsible for implementation ‘muddling through’ as circumstances permit. The biggest constraints on achieving change are often the factors inherited from the past, entrenched pathways which have their own momentum and cannot easily be changed. Our ability to bridge the gap between ambitions and expectations is moderated by our ability to reframe and redirect those ideas and ways of thinking that are already embedded in our understanding of what should and needs to be done.

An aim of this book is to make a contribution towards bridging that gap, by asking how the activity of managing records can be focused more directly on the delivery of policy outcomes through an energetic engagement with transformation across the public sector, without losing its own unique qualities. This implies moving beyond the regulation of information, to embrace flexibility and innovative change as well – and these two pull in different directions.

Records management in a turbulent world

In 2010, an energetic, reforming, Coalition Government came to power in the UK, ousting the weary incumbent which had been in power for many years, following a period of recession and a national debt crisis. A fresh administration with a different political mix naturally brought with it different priorities and objectives, but it also embodied trends in thinking which have been gathering pace across the political spectrum for many years. These are discussed in more detail in the next chapter, but the key points are:

 radical reductions in public spending, reversing the trend over recent years, and resulting in reductions to budgets, staff and services;

 a shrinking state, in size and scope, with a transfer of functions elsewhere;

 from direct delivery to commissioning of services, with others delivering on behalf of central and local government;

 renewed public service reform, with an emphasis on increasing competition, choice and marketisation in public services;

 a greater diversity of organisations – private and not-forprofit companies, professional consortia, charities and voluntary bodies, community representatives – introduced into the delivery chain, with more autonomy and less direct accountability to ministers;

 decentralisation of powers away from central government to local authorities and communities themselves;

 efforts to engage the citizen in taking direct responsibility for policy issues which involve behaviour change, as partners in the co-production of (and sometimes co-payment for) services.

Taken together, these trends demonstrate a continuing change, across the political party spectrum, in the perceived role of government: from a top–down ‘command and control’ planning model which directly delivers or commissions services itself, to one in which the state manages the framework within which a wide range of others deliver, perhaps outside of its direct control. It aims to set the agenda and control the infrastructure, but cede much of the responsibility and accountability to those nearer the point of production and delivery: an agile, enabling state rather than a bureaucratic, directing state. It shifts the emphasis from hierarchy towards network.

This is a challenge to the future place of records management. As a modern professional discipline, records management developed its own distinct techniques, standards and codes of practice, in parallel with the growth of the bureaucratic state and corporation. As more aspects of society and economy were drawn into regulatory regimes, so record-keeping and its governance expanded its scope. Universal health care, welfare benefits, the regulation of markets and standards are all examples which led to the creation of new categories of records and requirements for their management. The model of records management took on the same essential characteristics: a top-down, reductionist approach, working at the level of a single organisation, as represented by its records, laying out its component functions for management and accountability purposes.

An enabling public sector stresses innovation as much as regulation; it seeks out new ways of doing things that are more responsive and dynamic, able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. In this view, too much central control leads to inefficiency and poor outcomes; better to leave those closest to the problem the freedom to determine the best solution. Records management seeks to impose order and structure on a chaotic environment, and bring activity within a formal rule structure. Innovation sometimes requires a looser environment which promotes experimentation, one in which new ideas can be tried out, debated, refined, adopted or abandoned. This tension is at the root of the common disconnect between the relative perceptions of records managers and the users of a corporate EDRM system: the one is concerned with ensuring conformance with corporate rules and procedures, bringing different users together in a common structure in which information can be shared to best advantage; the other with producing results from the task at hand in the most efficient and effective way. The records manager complains: ‘Why don’t they understand the importance of all this?’ while the user complains: ‘Why can’t I just focus on what works now?’

At heart, regulation and innovation are in tension with each other because they deal in different (but complementary) kinds of knowledge: the formalised knowledge that is encoded in documents and procedures, and the informal insights, ‘know-how’ and intuitions that emerge from engagement with grassroots problems. The first is fixed and inert, the second fluid and dynamic. Innovation may draw on lessons from the experience of others, observing what has worked elsewhere and seeking to adapt those lessons for local use; or come from exploring original ideas through an experimentation, testing and refinement process, leading to new insights and methods, which can in turn inform more innovation by others. Both routes require the space and freedom to innovate and to engage in a dialogue between learning through telling and learning by doing. The challenge for records management is to engage with, and support, the innovation process without unduly restraining it, but at the same time to guide compliance with formal structures and governance where this is appropriate – and to do so within the context of rapid and unpredictable change in the public sector.

The key challenges for records management in this climate are:

 economicdoing more with less: shrinking budgets imply fierce choice on allocating resources to where they deliver the most (and most wanted) value;

 strategicfocusing on outcomes: for an enabling and commissioning government, the greatest benefits lie in knowing how best to produce outcomes and deliver the conditions for success;

 organisationalworking with diverse partners: the delivery environment is steadily evolving from hierarchy and top-down delivery towards coordination of diverse efforts through networks of organisations and groups; the infrastructure of records, knowledge and information needs to change too, recognising and meeting the needs of all partners in the business of delivering outcomes;

 culturaljoining up knowledge processes: partners come with quite different sets of values, priorities, knowledge structures and ways of thinking about the issues; focusing on outcome delivery by diverse partners means supporting the dynamism and innovation that flows from cultural diversity, as well as structuring the shared production, management and exploitation of knowledge and records;

 technologicalmanaging the ends not the means: joining up knowledge processes across, not just within, organisations requires a ‘soft’ as well as ‘hard’ analysis: understanding how different working cultures put knowledge into action takes precedence over the details of technological systems.

The turbulent world of records management

This is a demanding set of challenges. Successful responses to transformation of the public sector will themselves transform the role and practices of managing knowledge, records and information, reframe how they are seen within the organisation and change the profile of practitioners. Records management practitioners have generally found it difficult to achieve a high profile for their discipline within the organisation. In the past, it has been most closely associated with the archival function and has been perceived as an ‘end-of-process’ add-on – a burden that has to be done (but as little of it as possible), rather than a value-adding activity. Records managers have responded to this difficulty by associating themselves with the information management strand in organisations, seeking alliances with IT professionals, and in some cases by adding the term ‘knowledge’ to their portfolio, eliding the concept of ‘corporate memory’ with that of ‘intellectual capital’.

In fact, the world of records management seems to be undergoing something of an existential crisis at present. The Records Management Association of Australia, a country from which much of the modern approach to records emerged, has recently renamed itself as Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia. In the UK, the practitioner body formerly known as the Records Management Society has gone a step further, relegating ‘records’ to secondary position in its new title of Information and Records Management Society; meanwhile the UK Society of Archivists has become the Archives and Records Association. The UK Civil Service has recognised a new professional grouping of knowledge and information managers working in central government. This profession’s formal website suggests that it encompasses librarians, information and records managers, knowledge managers, information rights professionals and archivists, ‘KIM professionals [who] are focused on an aspect of managing a part of government’s information effectively’, but is less clear about how these various roles fit together: ‘It can be hard to define a unique characteristic of the profession, as the defining feature is the degree of expertise, rather than a particular qualification, or having an understanding of the issues.’1

This plethora of titles suggests a restless search for identity, as records professionals struggle to retain their footing in a turbulent world and to gain recognition for the value they believe they can add to the organisation. If we imagine a spectrum which places archives on the leftmost end, moving through records, information governance, information management, to knowledge on the rightmost, there seems to be a steady movement rightwards as practitioners seek to reposition themselves and reframe their roles – a movement driven more by aspiration than by disciplinary development. Yet there are also dangers, as well as advantages, in such repositioning.

The turn to information management highlights records as a special class of information, one which happens to demand stricter management disciplines in order to maintain their status as authentic and reliable. The argument here says: in carrying out their tasks, people make transactions, using and creating information that needs to be recorded and managed appropriately; records management and information governance is just one aspect ofthat function. But information in general is by its nature a looser concept than records, because it is present almost everywhere, managed in some way by almost everyone and open to questioning and interpretation. It is the context in which information-as- records is placed –as evidence, for accountability, as an agreed narrative of events – that requires them to be treated as records. A change in the context – e.g. as timely information solely to solve an immediate business problem – changes the requirements for the way the information needs to be managed. This context (e.g. the solved business problem) may in fact be where the benefits for the organisation as a whole are actually realised. Frequently, users need just enough information to satisfy their immediate needs, which may be political as much as factual, and are unconcerned beyond that point. If the benefits can be obtained through a form of information management which is less strict, and less costly, than that required by records management – through workflow, perhaps, or a data mining system – then the case for the latter still needs to be made and the additional benefits which it brings identified.

It is, of course, an important corporate strategy to integrate and, as far as possible, rationalise all manifestations of internal information management; and each manifestation needs to justify its existence, or risk being rationalised away. Standing records management shoulder to shoulder with other forms of information management may, rather than taking on their hue, simply result in highlighting the differences. Enabling compliance with external regulation is a worthy, but not necessarily compelling, justification for existence in a period of severe financial constraint; absent the conviction of a necessary and unique contribution to organisational goals, the temptation must be to reduce costs by reducing the strictness of records management disciplines. There is a danger that the concept of records becomes diluted in the surrounding sea of information and that records managers lose their unique identity amongst competing information professions.

The turn to knowledge highlights the idea of records as an organised body of formal knowledge: the argument here says: in finding ways to deliver their objectives people use existing, and create new, knowledge that is a corporate asset to be captured, retained over time and transferred to others; much of this knowledge can be codified and managed as records. This edges the focus away from the rationalisation of processes towards the production of outcomes, and from regulation to innovation. There is some correlation between the features that set records apart from other forms of information – as authentic, reliable and agreed narratives that constitute a corporate memory – and those characteristics that typify formal knowledge. Nevertheless, in connecting records to knowledge similar issues arise as with the connection to information. Managing formal, inert knowledge is only one part of the picture. People also, perhaps primarily, use knowledge that they possess in themselves, expressed as experience, intuition or ‘knowhow’, in delivering their objectives – and this is often where creative innovation springs from. Knowledge that would be useful for solving a problem has only potential value until it is brought to bear, whether it is locked in unassimilated research or in the heads of stakeholders that are not engaged and participating. Community regeneration programmes, for example, benefit from the knowledge of problems and issues possessed by members of that local community, as well as the expertise of professionals; and both need to be mobilised in order to solve the problem. To demonstrate how it can realise benefits and contribute directly to production of outcomes by connecting to knowledge, records management needs to engage with these sorts of issues, as well as managing the outputs of the process.

Some argue that a convergence between information professions is taking place: that records, information and knowledge managers, IT managers and business analysts, librarians and archivists, are all working to the same objectives and will evolve into one powerful profession underpinning a knowledge-based society. This may be one scenario, although history does not support it so far; and it is equally possible to argue that all these professions are in contention for the same ground. Whether this is so, there are still fundamental differences in practice between roles: in an integrated approach, how, for example, is the functional fileplan of the records manager reconciled with the taxonomy of the knowledge manager (an ‘understanding of the issues’ would certainly be helpful here)? Integration is a valuable goal if it adds more value to the objectives of the public sphere, but needs to be founded on clear recognition of differences as well as similarities, and an understanding that exposure to these differences might result in fundamental change in one’s own way of seeing the world. Enjoining a false consensus creates, rather than resolves, problems.

In a transformed public sphere, such an integration also needs to move beyond the single organisational perspective to work across the kind of networks that public policy now operates in, involving public, private and voluntary organisations, geographical communities as well as communities of practice, and competing interest groups. We need to know how the knowledge and experience of these various groups can be mobilised – put into action – to deliver outcomes, as well as capturing and pluralising this knowledge through the records they produce. We need to understand how managing records and mobilising knowledge interact with each other, reconcile concepts and practices, and demonstrate how this can deliver added value in the changing public policy and delivery environment.

What is knowledge mobilisation?

The literature of knowledge and its management is fraught with ambiguous and contentious terminology and this book does not attempt to reconcile the whole field with records management. Instead, it concentrates on one distinct concept, that of knowledge mobilisation. Although it can overlap with other concepts, such as knowledge exchange or knowledge transfer, its particular advantage is the stress on the second word – mobilisation. To mobilise is to make something ‘capable of movement’2 or to ‘bring it into circulation’ as well as to ‘make or become ready for action’; to catalyse the latent potential of a quality or resource, to recognise its power and give it identity, and to focus it upon action. The term makes the connection between knowledge and action – between knowing and doing.

This idea captures two complementary aspects. One is to lay out and marshal a set of known resources, bringing them to bear on an objective purpose and setting them in motion, as in mobilising troops for a military campaign. Another is to give shape to, and animate, some potential capability which is present but not yet realised, by making connections with others and focusing on an objective, as in mobilising public opinion for a policy campaign. Economists speak of mobilising resources in the economy for growth, clinicians of the action of vitamin A in mobilising iron from the liver, and sociologists of the ‘mobilisation of bias’ to describe how some issues become prominent on the political agenda and others fade away.

Similarly, we can speak of the mobilisation of knowledge in these two ways: firstly, as a process of knowing what we know and making what we know ready for action by connecting new knowledge to professional practice. Knowledge transfer programmes, such as those in industry, for example, seek ways to move the results of scientific research into operational production. Healthcare professionals seek to bring the results of proven medical research on new therapies into clinical practice, not just by changing explicit policy instructions, but also by changing the way practitioners think about diagnoses and treatments. Academics argue for public policies based on evidence of ‘what works’ gained from research studies and statistical analysis. Records managers can take an active approach to exploiting the evidential value of records.

Secondly, we can speak of the mobilisation of knowledge as a process of discovering new knowledge by drawing on the knowledge resources of all relevant participants. This could be described as knowing what we don’t know, identifying and working to fill gaps in knowledge coverage: which could be by commissioning research as a result of systematic reviews, or by brokering connections between groups and individuals, or simply encouraging an innovative environment which promotes reflection, exchange of ideas and experience, and collaborative problemsolving.

The first aspect emphasises the transfer of knowledge between a producer and a consumer; making it explicit, encoding it in a way that can be transmitted and creating the right conditions for its effective assimilation by the receiver. This aspect is more closely associated with a linear approach to learning, through formal evidence, explanation or worked example, story or case study – learning by telling. Innovation is analysed and structured in order to transfer lessons from one situation and apply them to another. The UK National Institute of Health Research, for example, has initiated a programme to investigate ‘bridging the gap between research and practice’ in healthcare management, investigating how mobilisation of knowledge from research in that field can influence managers’ behaviour and decision-making, combining with other knowledge to produce organisational value.

The second aspect emphasises the co-production of knowledge by the interaction between contributors and participants, in which new knowledge is constructed by a process of reflection, dialogue, experimentation and review. Here, the stress is more on making the connections between participants possessing different kinds of knowledge, bringing new voices and experiences into the dialogue to encourage exploration. This aspect stresses learning by doing, and the innovation produced by interaction with a situation or issue (knowledge which may later be formalised and encoded for transfer to others); the process is recursive rather than linear. It is concerned not only with ‘knowing about’ something, but also with knowing how to put it into practice, knowing why it is appropriate to do so, knowing who is involved and how well their interests are represented.

These two aspects are complementary and not exclusive. Both are trying to solve two related difficulties: the ‘knowing’ problem – working out where the knowledge gaps are that hinder delivery, and producing the right kind of knowledge to fill them; and the ‘doing’ problem – bridging the knowledge-practice gap so that it can be put into action in better ways to deliver results. The better the fit between the answers to these two problems, the more successful they will be. This is because bridging the gap is not just a simple matter of assessing evidence and applying the findings; the context is as relevant as the content. Knowledge mobilisation is not only a matter of evidence, but also of ideas, interests and institutions; and of how all these interact.

Connecting records management and knowledge mobilisation

Although records management and knowledge mobilisation have different orientations and practices, they also have much in common. Both are concerned with knowledge structures and the way in which organisations and institutions are represented through them. Both deal with evidence and its interpretation, with context as well as content, and with questions of interests and accountability. Both aim to make connections between knowledge structures and the functions and outcomes that are the objects of public policy, increasingly to enable modernisation and transformational change. Together they complement each other and offer a powerful combination.

The second aim of this book is to explore some of the connections and to sketch out a suggested approach to integration within the public sphere, in the context of modernisation and reform. In doing so, it outlines a strategic role that combines practices of knowledge, records and information governance, one in which such practitioners can play a key role in public sector transformation – an interactive knowledge and records strategy (iKRS). This is intended to include some aspects of information management, but avoids ambiguities in use of such a widely applied term. The book assumes a basic understanding of the principles of records management and focuses on strategy rather than technology. It is primarily aimed at practitioners in the public sector, especially those who see opportunities in contributing to the development of the sector, and their senior managers who have an oversight responsibility. It may also be of interest to policy and delivery managers who are interested in the contribution that knowledge and records can make to their work.

Part 1 sets out some principles of integration between the two fields: Chapter 2 covers trends and issues in the changing role of government in more detail, while Chapter 3 and 4 consider the conceptual relationship between records and knowledge, and build a global model for examining the relationship. The following two chapters examine the impact of records and knowledge from complementary perspectives: the institutional framework of regulation and the dynamic context of innovation. Part 2 presents practices relevant to developing an integrated approach: Chapter 7 makes the case for a knowledge-based intervention in policy-making and programme delivery and Chapter 8 develops a framework for understanding the different kinds of value that it can add. Chapters 9 and 10 offer a suite of practical techniques for: analysing and designing interventions; working with knowledge cultures; and building a knowledge architecture. The final chapter considers the wider implications for professional development in a reframing of records management.


1.http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/psg/psg-identifier/framework-KIM.aspx (accessed February 2011).

2.Taken from definition in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.