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Records review facing delays

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

An overhaul of the way in which the city of Oshawa handles all aspects of its information and record keeping started nearly four years ago and set to be completed in 2015 is facing further delays.

The review of the records retention schedule and corporate records program has been ongoing since 2013, and must analyze approximately 500 different categories of records and their different schedules for preserving or destroying them. An updated review of the document and the the associated Records Retention policy were slated for the third quarter of 2015, but that didn’t happen.

“We’re putting a lot of time and effort and focus into that review,” says Jason McWilliam the city’s manager of records and information systems. “Certainly staff continue to work on that.”

With the changes to technology and managing city information, McWilliam envisions the new policy having “significant impacts.” However, a firm timeline was not provided for the project’s completion.

According to the business plan for the corporate services committee last year,  the revised Records and Retention Schedule was slated to be functional in the second quarter of 2016.

“This is a really huge project,” said Bev Hendry, the commissioner of corporate services. “We’re working through the Corporate Leadership Team to make sure they’re onboard.”

Hendry added that the changes will institute a “key culture change” at the city, and the department is currently looking at what other municipalities are doing to find the way best to move forward.

“We’d sort of like to have that understood before we present to committee,” she says, speculating that perhaps it will come forward in third quarter of 2017.

“We don’t want to bring something forward that is premature,” McWilliam says.

It was a similar response to what was provided in 2016 when The Oshawa Express inquired about the state of the review.

At that time, McWilliam noted that the project was making progress, but he wanted the process to be fully complete to avoid presenting to council a “piecemeal” process.

“I think it’s better to bring forward a revamped program and explain all at once how the different pieces and all the changes that may result from this, how they all fit together and provide a holistic review,” he said at the time.