An overall increasing number of IM staff employed by public sector organisations
What we asked and why it is important
We asked how many dedicated, full-time equivalent (FTE) IM staff organisations employed. (Q.15) The question asked respondents to exclude geospatial information systems, business intelligence, data management and medical records staff.
The measure is a useful initial indicator for more detailed testing of the capability and capacity required to ensure the Information and records management standard is met.
Over time, technology may reduce the need for dedicated IM staff, but we are a long way from that point. Given the unique IM profiles of each organisation, there is not a consistent relationship between overall staff levels and the IM staff head count.
IM impacts all areas of business, and information managers should be involved in numerous business activities. This includes system and process design, information and records sharing, risk management, and managing information, data and records for accountability and value.
What we found
During our analysis of the survey results, we cross-referenced the number of IM FTEs with organisation size.
For small organisations with lighter IM needs we would not necessarily expect there to be a full-time, dedicated IM resource. The organisation might instead manage its IM needs using third-party providers or multi-role administrative support staff. For larger organisations, complexity will generally drive the need for dedicated and specialised IM resources.
Figure 4 shows the number of dedicated IM staff within organisations of different sizes, excluding the small organisations where dedicated staff would not be expected.
From this chart we see that the number of organisations with no dedicated IM FTEs tends to decrease as the size of organisation increases, with more staff being present in bigger organisations. Despite this overall trend, it is surprising that of the organisations with 300-499 and 500-2,999 staff (FTEs) there is such a high percentage with no dedicated IM FTE resources (8% and 18% respectively).
Twenty-seven organisations with staff numbers of 3,000 or more responded. Of the 27 organisations:
- 4 have 1 dedicated IM FTE staff, or fewer;
- a further 4 have between 1 and 3 dedicated IM staff; and
- 13 employ more than 10 dedicated IM staff.
It is especially concerning that some of the larger organisations seem to be significantly under-resourced in the area of IM. This is particularly concerning where a large volume of high value and/or high risk information is held.
The vision for government in New Zealand is increasingly digital, with an increased focus on sharing information. It is important for organisations to realise that dedicated IM specialists are essential to support these two drivers for digital government.
IM specialists understand the importance of information management in all its aspects and can contribute usefully to organisations’ transition to an increasingly digital way of working.
We recommend the following:
- Executive Sponsors in organisations with 3,000 or more staff, but 3 or fewer IM staff, consider whether this creates a risk to effective IM, apply their organisation’s risk management approach, and take action to manage the risk
- Executive Sponsors in organisations of all sizes that reported no dedicated IM staff consider whether this creates a risk to effective IM, apply their organisation’s risk management approach, and take action to manage the risk.