Dedicated solutions are there help to structure company information management. These systems are efficient but companies need to remember that staff also have an important role to play, especially when it comes to information dissemination.

People Are the Key to Better Information Management

Making staff the key tool in information management rather than computers is the most effective way to avoid data breaches. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by researchers at Loughborough University in the UK. The aim was to examine how staff training and changes to organisational culture can significantly improve information management. To answer this question, the experts chose Leicestershire County Council (LCC) as the context for their study.

If you want to spot problems, ask your staff

The Loughborough researchers spent several weeks at the County Council offices, observing staff and conducting interviews in order to identify the key areas where LCC staff needed further training. For the majority of the staff this was the first time they had had the opportunity to discuss and think about how they used and managed their information. The project with Loughborough University “has helped staff challenge their perception of information, why it is important and its value for delivering services," explained Dr Mark Hepworth. Following the recent“national headlines about data breaches at other councils and Government bodies", a number of areas were found to need attention, including search and retrieval, information sharing, security, storage, retention and disposal.

Training suited to staff needs

Claire Everitt, the Council’s Senior Information Management Officer, stressed that companies in general need to “take a proactive step” to enable staff to“make a radical shift in thinking” regarding the risks that breaches of information security can entail. The researchers developed different tools such as an e-learning package, workshops and video case studies to guide staff. Given the objective and unbiased viewpoint that emerged, "the work carried out with Leicestershire County Council provides an invaluable foundation for staff development in government agencies throughout the UK,” concludes Mark Hepworth.