Management of Local Authority Records at Zvishavane Town Council

Management of Local Authority Records at Zvishavane Town Council

Alex Sibanda, Edward Mupfururi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7740-0.ch019
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This study evaluated records management practices at a local authority in Zimbabwe, with reference to Zvishavane Town Council in the South Midlands province of Zimbabwe. The purpose of the study was to establish the records management practice to expose the bedevil and recommend the best practice. To achieve the purpose of the study, qualitative research methodology was used through a case study design. Data was collected using interviews, document analysis, and direct observations. The findings of the study revealed that Zvishavane Town Council was practicing records management without a standard written down policy of records management. This led to an ad hoc system of practice in terms of good governance, accountability, and transparency in managing council records. The study recommends that records management at this council be done using a well-documented records management policy.
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Zvishavane Town Council (ZTC) started as a local government board in the mining town of Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. In 1999, the town was enacted through Urban Act (Section 29.15) to become a town council headed by elected council members. The administrative management structure is headed by Town Secretary, Town Engineer, Finance director and Housing director. In Zimbabwe local authorities are there to provide good service delivery to the community at large, hence this can be achieved through good governance, transparency, and accountability. Therefore, to achieve good governance local authorities must adopt continuum care of records management. In the continuum approach, there are no strict boundaries between archives and records management responsibilities, as current records can also become archives right from creation, instead of waiting for final disposal to determine this. Scholars of the continuum paradigm, such as (Bearman, 1994 & Cook, 1997) have advanced debates in favour of this model as a better approach to modern record keeping. They argue that archivists should not wait until the end of the life cycle but be actively involved in the management of records from creation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Accountability: Is the ability to trace and account for actions.

Local Authority: A governing institution that is closer to the community.

Record Management Policy: These are set rules/regulations that govern how one must operate in records management.

Local Authority Records: Refers to any recorded information received or created by the authority during business operations of that institution.

Records Management: Refers to the systematic practice of creating, maintaining, using, storing, and dispositioning of records.

Local Authority Archives: Are those records that have enduring research and reference value to the community.

Records Continuum Care: Focus on nature of records, the recordkeeping process, the behaviours, and relationships of records in digital era (today) environments.

Good Service Delivery: The ability to offer the community services that are transparent and accountable.

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