Is it possible to solve the email problem?

I will be giving a presentation in London on Friday March 15 2019 for the IRMS Public Sector Group.

Below is a summary of the presentation:

James Lappin has recently had an article published by the Records Management Journal The defensible deletion of government email in which he reports on the evaluation he has carried out with Loughborough University of the policy of The National Archives (TNA) towards UK government email.

In this presentation he will attempt to answer three questions:

  • what proportion of an official’s email correspondence is likely to be needed as a record?
  • what proportion of an official’s email correspondence are public sector bodies likely to be able to capture into their record systems?
  • what proportion of an official’s email correspondence are public sector bodies likely to want to capture into their record systems?

On the basis of the answers to the questions above,  James will propose an answer to two further questions:

  • why has no solution to the email problem yet been found, after nearly a quarter century of its dominance of business correspondence?
  • is it likely that a solution to the email problem will be found that will be acceptable to both public sector bodies and to wider society?

The basic premise of the talk is as follows:

  • if the proportion of email correspondence that is needed as a record exceeds the proportion of correspondence that public sector bodies are capable of capturing into their records systems, then we as a records management/information governance profession have a problem that we can and will solve, because technical solutions that we identify will be welcome to our organisations;

 

  • if the proportion of email correspondence that is needed as a record exceeds the proportion of correspondence that a public sector body perceives as being in their interests to treat as records, then we have a problem that we cannot solve, because any technical solution we could come up with would be unwelcome to our organisations, and against their interests to adopt.

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