1.1 Background to the Study
Records are what organizations cannot do without. Reitz (2004) consideredrecords as a document in any form created or received by any agency or person, accumulated in the normal conduct of business or affairs, and retained as evidence of such activity. It is also an account of something, put down in writing, usually as a means of documenting facts for legal or historical purposes. According to Decree Number 30 (1992), records mean:
All papers, registers, printed matters, books , maps, plans, photographs, microfilm, cinematographic films, sound recordings or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received by public or state offices, or by business houses of companies private bodies or individuals in pursuance of their legal obligations or in connection with transaction of their proper business, but does not include library or museum material made or acquired solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of record kept only for convenience of reference or stock of publication.
Records are the basis for decision making, accountability and transparency.They are vital resources that document the institutions performances. They are important primary sources of information during investigations and prosecution and as an area of focus in corruption prevention. With a few exceptions, examinations carried out by various organizations and researchers point to poor records system as having largely contributed to corruption in public institutions (Oyedokun 2010). Records can either be a tangible object or digital information, for example data bases, office documents, e-mails, etc. Wyorkson&Obasuyi (2010) defined records as “evidence of an event.”
It is a document of an activity that will or has taken place. Records are documentary evidence about a person, place or thing. Every piece of record contains information. A record,therefore, is a piece of recorded information. Similarly, ISO (2001) as cited in Oyedokun (2010) also defined record as information created, received and maintained as evidence by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business or government activities.They are also unique and irreplaceable sources of information without which the distinctive human creative and adaptive characteristics cannot flow to the fullest extent possible.
Records management is an aspect of general administrative process which is concerned with achieving effectiveness and efficiency in the production, safeguarding, use and disposal of records during their entire life cycle. It is the field of management devoted to achieving accuracy and economyinthe systematic creation, retention, dissemination, observation, use and disposition of official records of a company, government agency, organization or institution (Adikwu, 2007).Also recordsmanagement entails all records keeping requirements and policies that allow an organization to establish and maintain control over information flow and administrative operations (State of Florida2009).Records management covers various formats: physical and electronic form, usually undertaken by a professionally trained records manager on the basis of a thorough records survey.This is so because records managements are usually better undertaken by professionally trained personnel as supported by Reitz (2004).
The primary concern of records management is the effective and economic management of public records and information in order to ensure that information is available when and where it is needed in an organized and efficient manner in an appropriate environment.It is only through the operation of a well-run record management programme that an organization retains control of its corporate memory which allows the organization, whether public or private, to conduct business Records management means the planning, controlling, directing,organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved with respect to records creation, maintenance, use, and disposition in order to achieve adequate and proper documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government and effective and economical management of agency operations. Records Management seek to manage and control records throughout their life cycle, from their creation and distribution, through their filing and use, and ultimately to their final disposition or permanent retention. The above definition also encompasses records in electronic format, which includes web pages, e-mails and manual records or print formats.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In an ideal situation, a record is a valuable resource and an important asset for good and effective governance. Record is information created, received and maintained as evidence by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business or government activities.
Records must beprotected because they provide evidence of action, events or decision. Relevant, precise and accurate records are needed in the state legislative arms of government to support their ongoing legislative processes. Without records management, no assessment can be made as to whether the honorable members actually carry out their duties or actions; nor can it be ensured that these duties or actions and transactions meet the criteria of efficiency and legitimacy
In spite of the importance of records management in any organization and legislative house in particular. a preliminary study by the researcher revealedthat a number of state legislative houses do not have record officersneither do they keep records in electronic formats in most of the state legislative houses, Also the researcher observed that inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in the management of records in the state legislative arm through which filing arrangement is difficult leading to the problem of inability to retrieve needed records within the Legislative arm of government in Northwestern Nigeria is causing unnecessary delay in retrieval of records. It is against this background that this study has been undertaken in order to find out how records are being managed in the State houses of assemblies. In line with this, Wamukoya and Mutula (2006) as cited in Moloi and Mutula (2007) noted that “chronic weaknesses in government record keeping can adversely affect private sector investments and contribute to the lowering of the general standard of service offered to businesses”.
RECORDS MANAGEMENT IN THE LEGISLATIVE ARM OF GOVERNMENT IN NORTH-WESTERN STATES OF NIGERIA