Archiving Documents (NO0054)
Guidance for the fulfilment of the duty to journalling and archiving documents
1 February 2018 to 1 June 2019
Responsible body Ministry of Culture
What problem for the general public
is the commitment aimed to solve?
The central government shall give everyone the
opportunity to both control the administrative
procedures in public agencies and to participate
in democratic processes. Access to public agency
documents requires that the agencies record and
archive case documents and give the population
access to the records. With the increasing production of digital case documents and the increasing
communication of these via e-mail, there is a risk
that digital case documents are not journaled or
What is the commitment? Produce guides and educational materials for
government agencies on the duty to journalling
and archiving documents.
How will the commitment contribute
to solving the problem?
The risk that documents for which journalling
and archiving are required are not recorded and
archived will be reduced.
How is this commitment relevant to
the OGP’s fundamental values?
The commitment opens up the possibility of
releasing more information, improving the quality
of the information available and/or improving the
availability of the information, so that it is more
accessible to the general public.
Milestones Start date End date
Survey the current guides, and survey
the needs and problem areas.
1 February 2018 30 June 2018
Prepare requirements for new guidance
30 June 2018 30 September 2018
Produce new guides and educational
materials. Test these out.
1 October 2018 31 March 2019
Finalise the guidance materials. 1 April 2019 1 June 2019
Person responsible from the
Entity Ministry of Culture
E-mail/Telephone Magnar.Nordtug@kud.dep.no / +47 22 24 80 69
Other public participants The National Archives of Norway
Collaborative civil society
working groups, etc.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
1. Guidance for the fulfilment of the duty to journaling and archiving documents
"The central government shall give everyone the opportunity to both control the administrative procedures in public agencies and to participate in democratic processes. Access to public agency documents requires that the agencies record and archive case documents and give the population access to the records. With the increasing production of digital case documents and the increasing communication of these via e-mail, there is a risk that digital case documents are not journaled or archived.
Produce guides and educational materials for government agencies on the duty to adastere and archiving documents."
- Survey the current guides, and survey the needs and problem areas (1 February 2018 - 30 June 2018).
- Prepare requirements for new guidance materials (30 June 2018 - 30 September 2018)
- Produce new guides and educational materials. Test these out (1 October 2018 - 31 March 2019)
- Finalise the guidance materials (1 April 2019 - 1 June 2019).
Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Norway's action plan at https://www.regjeringen.no/en/dokumenter/norges-handlingsplan-4---open-government-partnership-ogp/id2638814/
IRM Design Report Assessment
Access to information
This commitment aims to improve the archiving practices of Norwegian public authorities. All public authorities in Norway are required to archive incoming and outgoing documents, per the country's Freedom of Information Act. However, in 2017, the Office of the Auditor General reported that governmental bodies in Norway do not always sufficiently live up to these mandatory archiving and recording-keeping practices.  Poor record keeping by government bodies can negatively impact the work of journalists, who rely on expedient archiving and up-to-date public documents. According to a representative from the Ministry of Culture, the situation is exacerbated by communication via email, where the emails themselves (not just attachments) need to be archived. 
Although Norway already has a good technical solution for archiving documents through the public electronic records (eInnsyn),  record keeping has been practiced differently among the 121 governmental bodies currently using the system.  For example, according to the Auditor General's 2017 report, eight out of 17 Norwegian ministries do not publish records of internal documents. 
Under this commitment, the Ministry of Culture will survey current guidelines, needs, and practices in the area of record keeping among government bodies. It will then use the findings to develop new guidelines and educational materials, which will be tested out before they are finalised. While the commitment will not directly lead to the publication of information, the new guidelines aim to improve the availability of government documents through better archiving practices. Therefore, the commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information. The new guidelines and educational materials are verifiable, though the commitment lacks details on the planned survey of current practices among government bodies.
If developed and circulated, the new guidelines could help standardise record-keeping practices among Norwegian public authorities. This in turn could improve the ability of public authorities to respond to FoI requests in a timely manner and provide authorities with better information on how to fulfill their duties to archiving and record keeping. However, according to the action plan, the Ministry of Culture expected to conduct the survey of current practices was expected to be completed by 30 June 2018, and finalise the new guidance materials by 1 June 2019, prior to the official start of the action plan (1 July 2019). Furthermore, according to the Norwegian Union of Journalists, the development of guidelines alone is unlikely not sufficient to improve the situation.  As this commitment seeks to take preliminary steps towards better archiving practices, the potential impact is considered minor.
Moving forward, after the guidance materials are tested and finalised, the IRM recommends conducting follow-up activities to ensure they are followed by public authorities and adjusted as needed. Furthermore, the IRM recommends that the new materials include guidance for public authorities on record keeping and responding to FoI requests in a timely manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government could consider working with the Norwegian Union of Journalists to jointly develop these guidelines on record-keeping practices during the pandemic.