An assessment of the performance of public record centres in facilitating proper records management practices in public offices in Kenya
Kamau, Harriet W. G.
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Public record centres in Kenya are charged with ensuring proper record management practices by advising public offices on records creation, maintenance, use, appraisal and disposal, in order to achieve efficient, transparent and accountable governance in the public sector. The study was motivated by public outcry in the mass media about delays in information provision and ‗loss‘ of records in some public offices in Kenya, A delay in record retrieval can negatively impact on decision making on the part of the organization, frustrations on the part of clients and violation of the provisions of the ―Right to Information Act‖ in the Bill of Rights, Chapter Four of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, which includes the right of access to information. The study objectives were to: find out the extent to which the policies and procedures in public record centres help in the achievement of public record centres‘ goals; assess the effectiveness of the Public Archives(Amendment) Act,(1990) on the mandate of the public record centres, examine the levels of facilitations in relation to equipment, funds and personnel and their effect on service delivery, find out how far awareness creation with their clients could be a factor in the achievement of public record centre goals and, finally determine the constraints that could be hindering public record centres from fulfilling their mandate and suggest solutions. The Theory of Constraints by Eliyahu (1984) and Information Society Theory were used in the study. The research design was descriptive survey design, found suitable for the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data as was on the ground. The target population of the study was the staff and management of the public record centres in Kenya and the Director, Kenya National Archives and Documentation Service (KNA&DS).The study used the whole targeted population because it was small and therefore manageable. The tools of research were questionnaires for the record centre staff, interviews for the record Centre management staff and the KNA&DS Director and an observation schedule. The tools were piloted at Nairobi record centre, selected through simple random sampling using raffle papers. The data collected was analyzed using Microsoft Excel (2013) and Google Drive Spreadsheet software. Quantitative data were interpreted, discussed and presented using tables, graphs and percentages while qualitative data was presented using textual narratives and voices. The key findings were that, public record centres did not have an official National Records management policy, operated under an outdated and incomprehensive legislation and was poorly facilitated in respect to staff, funds, equipment and other facilities. Awareness creation was, also, inadequate due to low levels of funding and staff. The main conclusion was that none of the public centres could adequately perform well enough to fulfill their mandate due to poor facilitation especially in staffing. Main recommendations were that the draft records management policy be officially ratified for proper implementation, the amended Archives legislation Act (1990)be updated to incorporate omissions and emerging issues and also, funding be improved in order to adequately meet the requirements for the expected performance of the public record centres. Included also, is a ‗Performance Improvement Model for Public Record Centres‘ and recommendations for further research