Original Research

The role of records management as a tool to identify risks in the public sector in South Africa

Mpho Ngoepe
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 16, No 1 | a615 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v16i1.615 | © 2014 Mpho Ngoepe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2014 | Published: 19 June 2014

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Mpho Ngoepe, Department of Information Science, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Background: Records management is a vital element in the identification of risks. However, there is a consensus amongst scholars that the relationship between records management and risk identification has not been clearly articulated. As a result, risks associated with records are often dealt with via internal audits, legal processes and information technology.

Objectives: The study utilised the King III report on corporate governance in South Africa as a framework to investigate the role of records management in identifying risks in the public sector, with a view to entrench the synergy between records management and risk management.

Method: Quantitative data were collected through questionnaires distributed to records managers, risk managers and auditors in governmental bodies in South Africa. Provisions of the King III report, guided the research objectives.

Results: Even though the study established that there is a reciprocal relationship between risk identification and records management, most governmental bodies in South Africa lack records management and risk-mitigating frameworks or strategy. Furthermore, records management did not feature in most governmental bodies’ risk registers. It has been established that most governmental bodies have established risk committees that do not include records management practitioners. In most governmental bodies, risk management resides within internal audit functions.

Conclusion: The study concludes by arguing that a strong records management regime can be one of an organisation’s primary tools in identifying risks and implementing proper risk management. Therefore, records management should be integrated with risk management processes for organisations to benefit from the synergy.


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