Accountability in personnel records management is to a large extent, dependent on the availability of personnel records, there has been very little recognition of the need to address the management of personnel records as evidence for accountability either in relation to Freedom of Information (FOI) or Open Data. It is in this regard, therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the legal frameworks for personnel records management in support of accountability. The study used a descriptive design which combined both qualitative and quantitative approaches where both qualitative and quantitative information was involved in the study. Founded on the records life cycle and the records continuum, the study aimed to fulfil its main objective: establishing legal frameworks for personnel records management at Garissa County Government (GCG). Purposive sampling was used to select 11 Human Resource Management Officers (HRMO), 11 Personnel Record Management Officers (PRMO) and 11 Personnel Records Management Clerks (PRMC) and 55 staff members who made the total sample of 88 respondents. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics with the help of a Statistical Package for Social Scientists (version 17) was used to perform the analysis of quantitative data and presented through frequency tables, percentages, means and standard deviations. Results indicated that the County Government does not have legal frameworks in personnel records management. Several challenges were identified including lack of personal records management policy, lack of integrity, lose of documents/file and poor communication system. Generally, the study shows that legal frameworks in personnel records management is very important in accountability, therefore, GCG management needs to take measure to improve legal frameworks in personnel records management infrastructure and develop personnel records management policy.
The study was conducted using a descriptive design. This design ensures that data collected are analysed and findings are reported to establish a better understanding of a physical or social phenomenon. The descriptive design combined both qualitative and quantitative approaches where both qualitative and quantitative information was involved in the study. The study was conducted at the County Government of Garissa’s Head Quarters; it targeted staff involved in personnel records management. Garissa town was selected because it is a centre of various activities in County Government of Garissa. The target population comprising HRMO, PRMO, PRMC and staff from different ministries who depended on the personnel records management activities. Purposive sampling was used to select 11 HRMO, 11 PRMO, 11 PRMC and 55 staff members who made the total sample of 88 respondents from the population. Questionnaire method was used to collect data from HRMO, PRMO, PRMC and staff members quickly and give more freedom (in terms of time and flexibility) to the respondents. Interviews were used to obtain more in-depth information from the PRMO, HRMO and PRMC being the individuals’ in-charge of personnel records were to provide information on legal frameworks for personnel records management at GCG.
Lack of a policy signifies a lack of accountability and awareness of the personnel records management standards, meaning that the staffs are not aware of their responsibilities towards the management of the County’s records. This is therefore likely to contribute significantly to poor performance (Mampe and Kalusopa, 2012). This then puts the County in a precarious position regarding personnel records due to lack of guidelines on classing and handling of personnel records. Lack of a policy also shows a lack of commitment in the area, purporting neglect, where responsibilities are not clearly assigned and remain unclear. Weak institutional capacity and the absence of, for example, comprehensive personnel records management policies have been cited as one of the main causes of archival (as well as records management) underdevelopment in Africa (Ngulube and Tafor 2006). From the reactions of the existence of a draft policy, the staff indicated that it covered among other things: a policy statement, scope, definition of terms, applicable legislation and procedures, mail management encompassing both incoming and outgoing mail, filing classification, retention and disposal, as well as a statement of responsibilities. The study revealed that: personnel records management in Kenya operates under the framework and guidance of the Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services – KNADS which is supported by the Public Archives and Documentation Services Act, Cap 19. Besides the Cap 19, of 1965 of the Laws of Kenya, there are also various legislations that support the management of records in Kenya including the Ministry of State for Public Service (MSPS) (DPM) Circular on personnel records reference number DPM. 12/6A Vol. I (71) of 12th March 2008, the Records Management Procedure Manual for the Public Service, May 2010, prepared by the MSPS in consultation with the KNADS to provide guidelines and procedures to be followed in the day to day management of records in the public service. It is meant to be used alongside existing laws and legislation governing records management in the service. The effective utilization of the manual as stated by the Ministry is to contribute towards the government’s quest to achieve good governance and accountability in the Public Service. Adherence to the Manual is also meant to streamline personnel records management practice leading to effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery and the Government Financial Regulations and Procedures, chapter 23, section 4:2–5 give guidelines on the retention period for financial records. The management of personnel records is guided by various legislations and circulars such as Public Archives and Documentation Service Act, (Cap.19, Laws of Kenya) revised 1991, The Employment Act Chapter 226, revised in 1977 and 2007, The Regulation of Wages and Conditions of Employment Act Chapter 229, Income Tax Act Chapter 470 revised 1989, The National Social Security Fund Act Chapter 258 revised 1989, The Service Commission Act Chapter 185 of 1967 and DPM.12/6A VOL. I (71) dated 12th March 2008 on the destruction of personnel records. Compliance to all the above legal frameworks will ensure that personnel records management in support of accountability at GCG is achieved.
The lack of effective personnel records management programme in a county agency was in itself non-conformity to the requirements and guidelines issued by the public services, thus leading to a lot of caution on how much could be revealed regarding the same. The focus of the study was on the assessment of paper-based and electronic personnel records management within the County Government. The assessment excluded other electronic records, such as online databases, with only personnel records being considered.
Nonexistence of personnel records management legal frameworks implies that the responsibilities for cooperate record management to GCG plans and guidelines of managing personnel records were inefficient. As a result of the absence of written personnel records management policy, there was also a lack of guidelines for appraisal, disposition and schedules of records. On legal frameworks for personnel records management at GCG, the findings revealed that there were many policies in GCG but personnel records management policy was missing which is very crucial. Record management policy will also enhance human resource management policy. The missing of the personnel records management policy reduces the accountability to people who deal with records management in general, increases lack of integrity and indicate that there is a presence of irrational decision.
The missing of the personnel records management policy reduce the accountability to people who deal with records management, in general, increases lack of integrity and indicate that there is a presence of irrational decision.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the management of personnel records in support of accountability in devolved governments: A case of GCG.
Makwae, E.N. (2021), "Legal frameworks for personnel records management in support of accountability in devolved governments: a case of Garissa County Government", Records Management Journal, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 109-133. https://doi.org/10.1108/RMJ-05-2019-0024
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