Whole-of-Government Digital Records Platform

In May 2017 the government announced a decision to implement a Whole-of-Government Digital Records Platform (the Platform). The Platform will automate the records management function taking into consideration user needs and technological advancements.

The project is being led by the Department of Finance, in consultation with the National Archives of Australia. Planning for the Platform is underway, and will continue over the next three years. Roll out of the Platform is due to commence in 2020 following a pilot phase.

The aims of the Platform are directly aligned with the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy and agencies should continue to work towards these targets.

Scope

All non-corporate agencies subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) are in scope for adoption of the Platform. All in scope agencies will be expected to engage with transition to a whole-of-government solution as early as possible.

Approach

The Platform will ensure information is categorised, indexed, managed and disposed of in accordance with Australian Government records management obligations using technologies such as cognitive computing, keyword extraction, machine learning and auto-indexing.

The Platform will use RESTful micro-services architecture – records management functions will be implemented as a single set of shared micro-services to which business applications will connect to push records.

Benefits

This project will deliver a whole of government digital records management solution that will modernise the common function of records management across the Australian Public Service (APS).

The solution will:

  • increase the productivity of all APS workers by removing the need for ‘end user filing’ — smart technology will  automatically extract and categorise information held within common business systems such as Word, Outlook, SharePoint;
  • eliminate the need for staff to move and store information in a separate records management system — items can be kept in their current location, for example, a shared drive or SharePoint, while still meeting their records management obligations;
  • facilitate access to high quality information holdings, supporting collaboration and productivity; and
  • be compliant with the Digital Service Standard, Digital Continuity 2020 targets, regulations for information management, and government security standards such as the Protective Security Policy Framework guidelines.

Investment moratorium

As part of this work, the Government agreed to a Digital Records Investment Moratorium. The moratorium will be in place until 30 June 2019, with the possibility of extension, following a review of the pilot phase. The moratorium aims to prevent agencies entering into arrangements that are incompatible with the technical and business objectives of the Platform in order to protect the Government’s investment and ensure that economies of scale can be reached as early as possible.

Non-corporate Commonwealth agencies are subject to the moratorium when considering contracts for new capital investment or operational expenditure for digital records capability or non-essential upgrades to versions already in use by agencies. Agreement must be sought from the Secretary of Finance for new investment in digital records capability. Exemptions may be requested on the basis that a critical business failure is likely to occur without new investment or upgrade. Agencies wishing to advise Finance of the intention to invest or to request an exemption should make contact with the Digital Records Transformation team in the first instance.

Further information

For more information about this project, please contact the Department of Finance's Digital Records Transformation Team at digitalrecordstransformation@finance.gov.au or (02) 6215 2048.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017