Media statement – Thom Review

Monday, 28 September 2020

The National Archives of Australia welcomes the report on ‘Government Accountability in the Digital Age’, prepared by Dr Vivienne Thom AM at the request of the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities - CAARA.

Dr Thom has undertaken an independent review of the extent to which member institutions of CAARA, are supporting proper standards of government records management in the face of rapid technological change across all areas of government service delivery. Dr Thom’s independent findings were informed by a survey of CAARA institutions and stakeholders from each state and national jurisdiction of Australia and New Zealand. 

It is acknowledged that the governments of New Zealand and the jurisdictions of Australia have their own regulatory and operational environments, however the observations and findings of Dr Thom will provide valuable input for each CAARA institution as it refines its internal operations, public services and advice to government.

As the keeper of Australia’s Commonwealth records, the National Archives of Australia has taken particular note of the findings. Its Director-General, David Fricker, said ‘Dr Thom’s assessment of the current state of government records management is very timely, as we now look beyond our Digital Continuity 2020 policy for the decade ahead.’ According to Fricker, the review carries vitally important messages for government as it continues to navigate the digital transition. ‘Dr Thom has pointed to the importance of advocacy and leadership to ensure that governments and government agencies understand the value of information management and the risks of non-compliance. The National Archives needs to demonstrate that while there are real costs in creating, managing, storing and preserving records over time, there is a good return on this investment. The feedback received through the Thom Review will add value to the National Archives’ Building Trust in the Public Record policy, now in the final stages of consultation and planned to take effect from January 2021.’ 

Recognising that there are many agencies across Government that deal with the use and re-use of government data, Dr Thom has also called for more clarity and certainty in roles to reduce conflict and overlap and avoid gaps in responsibilities for information management.

Read the report on the CAARA website.

Contact information

National Archives Media Team