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Sierra Leone

Record Archive Management (SL0019)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sierra Leone National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Information and Communications

Support Institution(s): Public Sector Reform Unit; Muniru Kawa, Independent Consultant +232 76 539718, Society for Knowledge Management, Society for Democratic Initiatives, Federations

Policy Areas

E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Open Data, Public Participation, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sierra Leone Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo or problem/ issue to be addressed
The Public Archives Act is an essential step in ensuring effective implementation of the Right to Access Information Act. Without proper records management systems of key government documents, they cannot be publicly disclosed. Effective records management is also important for accountable and transparent operation of public institutions.

Main objective
To complete the passage of the National Records and Archives Bill in 2016, and to harmonize policies and procedures for managing digital records with the Right to Access Information law and the open data portal.
Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit)
This commitment is geared towards ensuring that Sierra Leone has a law on Archives and Records management which will support the implementation of the Right to Access Information.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

8. Records and Archives management

Commitment Text:

This commitment is geared towards ensuring that Sierra Leone has a law on Archives and Records management, which will support the implementation of the Right to Access Information.

Milestones: Drafting of the Record Management Act; Publishing of the Bill online in government website; Tabling of the Record Management Bill in Parliament; Parliament debate and pass the Record Management bill into law; Begin the process of harmonizing laws, policies and procedures across the functional areas, ensuring that the coordinating body has an ongoing role in supporting harmonization; Carry out an assessment of digital records in the government agencies, including Statistics Sierra Leone, National Electoral Commission and the National Registration Secretariat, to determine what exists and to develop structures for coordinating, capturing, preserving and sharing these records; Carry out consultations on the harmonization and assessment with civil society organizations and local communities within existing structures for local governance.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Information and Communication, Public Sector Reform Unit

Supporting institution(s): Society for Knowledge Management, Society for Democratic Initiatives, Federation.

Start date: July 2016 End date: June 2018

Context and Objectives

In 2014, the Public Sector Reform Unit in the Office of the President published an assessment report outlining specific issues related to records management in Sierra Leone.[Note124: Capacity and Needs Assessment of Records Management in the Sierra Leone Public Service, http://psru.gov.sl/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/reports/Capacity%20and%20Needs%20Assessment%20of%20Records%20Management%20in%20SL_Final%20Report.pdf] In response to the recommendations, the first OGP national action plan included a commitment to draft and pass a record management bill.[Note125: National Action Plan, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/SIERRA%20LEONE_FINAL%20NATIONAL%20ACTION%20PLAN_6_15_2014_Final.pdf ] Managing records is an essential step to ensure effective implementation of the Right to Access to Information Act passed in 2013.[Note126: Right to Access Information Act, http://www.sierra-leone.org/Laws/2013-02.pdf ] A management system allows the necessary storage of information to have the ability to publicly disclose it.

At the end of the implementation of the first action plan, government had a draft public records and archives management bill and was awaiting submission to cabinet.[Note127: Sierra Leone, End of Term Report, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Sierra-Leone_EOTR_2014-2016.pdf]

The current commitment in the second action plan carries forward several activities including publishing the bill online and passing the bill into law. This commitment does not include previous efforts related to establishing an e-governance infrastructure, but rather focuses on coordinating policies, assessing digital records of government agencies and consulting with civil society in these efforts. The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information. When fully implemented the commitment will have a moderate impact on properly storing government information and making it easier to retrieve for public disclosure.

Completion

The commitment has been implemented to a limited extent. The draft of the bill had been completed at the end of the first action plan. The bill has been published in the government gazette according to the required two publications outlined by the Constitution of Sierra Leone.[Note128: Section 108 (2a) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991, sierra-leone.org/Laws/constitution1991.pdf] Parliament then tabled the bill for the review period. Parliament is expected to debate and pass the bill in 2018.[Note129: IRM researcher’s interview of Mr. Muniru Kawa, archivist and records management consultant, 29 November 2017; and of OGP Coordinator, 11 December 2017.]

The harmonising process, digital records assessment and civil society consultation are dependent on the passage of the bill. The public records archiving processes and procedures across government agencies cannot be harmonised until the record management act is passed.[Note130: IRM researcher’s interview of Mr. Muniru Kawa, archivist and records management consultant, 29 November 2017.] According to the private consultant who helped draft the commitment, the passage of the act is necessary to give legal powers for the digital records assessment.[Note131: IRM researcher’s interview of Executive Director of Society for Knowledge Management, 20 October 2017; and of Mr. Muniru Kawa, archivist and records management consultant, 29 November 2017.] Public institutions are more likely to cooperate on the assessment once the law is in place.

The head of a civil society organisation and a private consultant that had long involvement with advocacy for a new archives law in Sierra Leone expressed satisfaction with the progression of the bill.[Note132: IRM researcher’s interview of Executive Director of Society for Knowledge Management, 20 October 2017.] [Note133: IRM researcher’s interview of Mr. Muniru Kawa, archivist and records management consultant, 29 November 2017.

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Next Steps

Given that the activities of this commitment support enhanced access to information for the public, the researcher recommends timely passage of the archives law in the Parliament. The remaining activities in this commitment should be carried over to the next action plan.


Sierra Leone's Commitments

  1. Gender

    SL0012, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Foriegn Aid Transparency

    SL0013, 2016, Aid

  3. Waste Management

    SL0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  4. Fiscal Transparency and Open Budget

    SL0015, 2016, E-Government

  5. Audit Report

    SL0016, 2016, Audits and Controls

  6. Climate Change

    SL0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Elections

    SL0018, 2016, E-Government

  8. Record Archive Management

    SL0019, 2016, E-Government

  9. Access to Justice

    SL0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Open Public Procurement Contracting

    SL0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Publish and Revise 70% of Mining and Agricultural Lease Agreements and Contracts

    SL0009, 2014, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Right to Access Information Law

    SL0010, 2014, Capacity Building

  13. Open Data Portal for Transparency in Fiscal and Extractive Transactions

    SL0011, 2014, E-Government

  14. Public Integrity Pact with 5 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies

    SL0001, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  15. Archives and Records Management Act

    SL0002, 2014, E-Government

  16. Scale Up Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate

    SL0003, 2014, Public Participation

  17. Compliance with Audit Measures

    SL0004, 2014, Audits and Controls

  18. Starred commitment Single Treasure Account

    SL0005, 2014, Extractive Industries

  19. Extractive Industry Revenue Act

    SL0006, 2014, Extractive Industries

  20. Scaling Up Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives

    SL0007, 2014, Extractive Industries

  21. Local Content Policy (LCP) Linkages with MDAs

    SL0008, 2014, Capacity Building