Ministry of State for Public Service

The Problem

Despite the efforts made by the Government to put in place legislations and circulars to correct and improve records management in the Public Service, the state of records management has continued to deteriorate, leading to poor service delivery.
This appalling state is characterised by insufficient storage facilities, misfiling, cumbersome retrieval procedures, cases of missing/lost files and records among others resulting in delays in decision making and increased opportunity for corruption. In view of the above, transfer from manual records to electronic mode of record keeping has been difficult to implement. Some of the factors hindering proper records management are:-
• Failure to implement guidelines on management of records such as Chapter 14 of the Laws of Kenya, Chapter 23 of the Government Financial Regulations and procedures and the DPM circular on personnel records to mention but a few;
• Lack of uniform guidelines on how to handle electronic records;
• Poor procedures in mail management especially pending mail leading to delays in decision making;
• Ineffective file classification and poor indexing schedules due to lack of clear guidelines;
• Frequent misplacement/loss of file and documents leading to opening of temporary files;
• Lack of confidence in the registry staff leading to action of officers creating parallel or “mini” – registries in their offices;
• Absence of specific and general retention / disposal schedules to facilitate preservation and destruction of records leading to accumulation of noncurrent records;
• Action officers retaining files in their offices for too long personal/selfish interests;
• Failure to vet personal and to continuously to conduct security vetting awareness seminars;
• Lack of working tools, equipment and appropriate training in records management;
• Inadequate office accommodation and storage facilities for active, semi-active and non-active records resulting in inappropriate such as on the floors, corridors, garages and staircases;
• Registries are sometimes used as dumping grounds for poor performers and indiscipline officers;
• Delays in opening new files due to inadequate stationery; and
• Lack of guidance, support and cooperation from top level management;

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The solution to improve service delivery in the Public Service was to develop an integrated Records Management System (Access Records). The main aim was to address the manual way in which records were being kept in the service. Computerisation of the records process was the only solution to streamline the management of records so as to reduce the problem of missing and misplacement of files.
The innovation developed from this initiative has the following functionalities:
• Registration of mail received in a Ministry by assigning a serial number, date and time it is received, source of letter and enclosures if any;
• Directing receiving mail to the Permanent Secretary and Heads of Division/Department to provide direction on the specific action to be taken by respective officers;
• Directing the mail back to the registry for indexing, filing and forwarding to action officers
• Indicating the action taken on every mail;
• A bring up facility to avoid officers holding files for too long
• Dispatch of mail indicating date, time received by registry, date and time dispatched, by whom and to what destination;
• Digitized storage of files and mail;
• Search for a mail/files
• Redirecting/re-routing of files/mail from one action officer to another
• Generating reports on the history and the movement of files and mail;
• Generating reports for the Supervisors, Permanent Secretaries on the performance of each action officer and workflow
• Graphical reports showing workload in divisions/departments;
• Helpline
The system now will help in tracking mail that passes through officers. We shall be able to tell which officer is in possession of the mail and who has caused the delay. The system has further reduced the usage of paper since most of the correspondence will be done via the system, thus contributing to the going green initiative of the country. The initiative has further improved the computer literacy of the staff in the Public service. The citizens can now access information instantly from ministries hence contributing towards elimination of corruption practices.
The people who have benefited greatly from the innovation are the ministries and the public sector who trade with the public service. This system once it is fully rolled out will change the image of the Public service and the Government as a whole as service delivery will have improved.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
This solution was proposed by M Rachel Okumu, Deputy Director Human Resource Management in the Human Resource Management policy division Ministry of State for Public Service. The development of the system was prompted by the study undertaken in the Public Service in the year 2004 where she was the team leader. The survey revealed the problems the Records Management function was undergoing in the service. This made her create a personal interest in finding what could help change the situation. Informed from the situation on the ground, it became apparent to her that computerization of the records was the only way out of the mess in the manner in which records were maintained in the service. The first step was how to come up with a system that would sort out the problem. The solution was to develop a system which does not deviate so much from the normal manner in which records are managed in the service.
This would make it easier for the users to change and adapt to use the system. There was also the need to have a system that would monitor the officers’ performance, bring transparency, accountability and good governance.
After conceptualizing the idea, the same was shared with the Permanent Secretary Mr. Titus Ndambuki. The Permanent Secretary was aware of the survey that had been done and was in total support of the project and to date has taken the lead in ensuring the system is installed in all ministries in the Civil Service.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The main objective of developing and integrated the Records Management System was to address the appalling state in which records were managed. This was mainly the insufficient storage facilities, misfiling, cumbersome retrieval procedure, cases of missing/ loss of files resulting in delays in decision making and increased opportunities for corruption.
The strategy to address these problems was to develop a system that would solve all these problems. The strategies used were as follows:
• Involve the top level management (who is the Permanent Secretary) in appreciating the problems that the system was going to address.
• 2nd step was to develop a system in house that would be easily acceptable to the users
• Use the Government officers and private technical experts support to help in the development of the system. This was to build capacity for the government officers to get the skill and be able to roll to the rest of the service.
• Developed a system that did not deviate from the processes the staff is used to when carrying out their daily duties and operations.
• Developed a system that is all inclusive, where all the staff who acts on a mail must be able to receive and distribute mail and at least hold them accountable for each mail marked to them for action.
• Involved stakeholders to incorporate anything that was useful for the system to efficiently run in any public organisation and for ownership.
• Ministries/ public institution to be trained so that they own the system and can manage it independently within their organisation to reduce dependence on ministry of state for public service.
• To cost share while rolling it out to other public institutions. They buy the necessary equipment; we provide the software and train free of charge. This was cheaper than going to the market to purchase a system that would need customizing.
• The system to be able to operate in the same way email functions with passwords so that one computer can be accessed by many users hence reduce the expense of buying many computers at once
• Use the software that is used by many ministries for compatibility.
• Empower the Records Management Officers to take over the management of the system and run it fully as part of their yearly targets
• Got top-level management acknowledgement of the problem that exists in the management of records, this has attracted their support.
• Scan documents to digitize them hence reduce storage expenses
The strategies were initiated by the Deputy Human Resource Management, in consultation with the Permanent Secretary

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
• The Government acknowledged the breakdown in the records management and proposed the process of improving through the following channels: The Strategy for performance improvement in the public service of July 2001 paragraph (141). A circular by the Permanent Secretary , Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Public Service Ref. OP. 40/1/1A OF 6th June 2003.
• This was followed by a study on streamlining the operations of Registries in Government Ministries /Departments in 2004.
• The study made several recommendations on how to improve records and one of them was to introduce electronic management of records
• In 2005 a team was put in place by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of State for Public Service headed by DD/HRM to develop a system that would track mail and files
• The first team composed of officers drawn from various ministries.
• The team worked on a programme which when presented to the stakeholders, they all dismissed the programme because it did not match what they expected. The team was disbanded
• A second team was again constituted in 2006. This team worked under the supervision and the direction of the Deputy Director Human Resource Management. The team consisted of Records Management officers drawn from the Ministry of State for Public Service and two ICT officers in the Ministry. The team was not able to move so we requested the Permanent Secretary for support from technical experts from the private sector. The technical experts were to help with coding the programme depending on our needs. This is because we still needed an in house developed system. We developed the system and piloted it in the ministry of state for Public Service. The system was installed and helped improve the search time and tracking of mail and files in the ministry.
• The system was later taken to the stakeholders in the ministries/ departments. The stakeholders in the ministries appreciated the system but advised we needed a web based system. Secondly they wanted to scan and digitise their files.
• In 2007 this necessitated the need to upgrade the current system which is manual to a web based and with all the other functionalities as requested by the stakeholders
• This was followed by carrying out sensitization sessions to the 43 ministries in the civil service
• After sensitization we embarked on rolling out the system to the rest of the ministries
• This was followed by training staff in the ministries on how to use the system
• To date we have installed in 27 ministries and moving to other ministries as they purchase the equipment and the necessary software required to install the system
• As we install we train the officers in the ministries and any other institution to able manage the system on their own
• Our aim is to ensure the program runs in the entire Public service

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
• Mounting support from the stakeholders
• Where has it worked before? Will it work in the Ministries?
• Lack of skills in computer mainly at top level and low levels
• Lack of equipment s to ran the system on
• Poor attitude to change
• Poor budgetary allocations to the records management function

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The financial resource used to develop the system to finality is approximately 12 million Kenya shillings. This is in terms of the fees for the technical experts who worked with our ministry to develop the system. In addition the officers in the ministry have been paid allowances of about 6 hundred thousand. In the ministry the other financial expenditure is in terms of the equipment and the software required by the system is about 2million. Ministries have spent about 1, 5 million to buy computers, servers and other software required for data storage.
The financial resources were financed by the government through the Medium term Expenditure framework budgetary process in the Government.
The human resources who have worked on the project are from the government. apart from the technical experts.
We are considering the source for more funds to enable the project to effectively cover the provinces and districts.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
• The system is developed in house and therefore is cost effective
• The government officers are being trained to manage the system by themselves
• It is cost shared with Ministries Departments through MTEF budgetary provisions
• Has top level support from the government
• Staff need new ways in of working and electronic records management is the option,
The public who have been suffering due to loss of their documents shall enforce the use of this system. The new Constitution calls for availability of information therefore the system is a useful tool to avail this information when needed promptly.
Socially the system will enhance the image of the Public Service. There will be reduced complaining of loss and misplacement of files and mail hence faster decision making and consequently improved service delivery.
Economically it shall boost the business that the private sector undertakes with the Government as it encourages transparency and accountability as well as good governance.
Culturally it will enhance a new culture in the country of delivering services promptly and reduce the culture of corruption through the loss of files and deliberate delays in decision making.
Environmentally it will contribute to the following:
• The going green initiative. This will be achieved through the exchange of drafts between officers hence cutting down on printing photocopying and wastage of paper in the Ministries
• Reduced toxics produced by photocopying and printing e.g. Nitrogen oxide, Carbon monoxide ,Ultra violet light, Noise levels
• Reduced deforestation due to less demand for paper
The programme shall be sustained as the Government is developing a policy in information technology. Secondly the need to improve services cannot be over emphasised. The Government in investing heavily in the use of computers in improving service delivery
Replication of the initiative
The initiative is being replicated in all the ministries/ departments up to the counties and districts. So far this has been done in 27 ministries and we are still moving to the other ministries as soon as they are ready with all the requirements. We shall soon move to semi autonomous organisations.
The initiative can be shared with other countries who have an interest in using the initiative for improving service delivery, reducing time and corruption by enhancing transparency and accountability and good governance by the use of the system.
Other countries are welcome through entering in agreements to learn from Kenya.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The key elements that made the initiative a success is the top level support from the Permanent Secretary Ministry of State for Public Service Mr Titus Ndambuki. Who has embraced the initiative and has supported it at all times when he is required to do so.
Secondly the persistent way the Deputy Director Human Resource Management, Mrs Rachel Okumu has carried on with the project without giving up when the times were difficult.
• The need for the change to help improve service delivery and also to enhance transparency, accountability and good governance.
• Designing a programme that was user friendly to the stakeholders .They are able to adapt without much problem.
• The cost sharing aspect of rolling out the project with the ministries gives them ownership.
• Performance contract which requires an officer to deliver services timely and make decision promptly.
• The development of the system in house hence getting ownership from the onset.
• Training the independent ministries to manage the programme
• General awareness of the use of a computer by the staff
• The quest to improve records management in the entire public service.
• Top level support from the Permanent Secretaries, Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the cabinet and respective permanent secretaries in the in respective ministries
• The empowerment of the Records Managers and creation of units to manage the records in the service.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of State for Public Service
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Rachel Okumu
Title:   Deputy Director HR  
Telephone/ Fax:   +254202210192
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   30050
Postal Code:   00100
State/Province:   NAIROBI
Country:   Kenya

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