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Future public inquiries such as the recent Alex Salmond affair at Holyrood could be jeopardised by poor information management practices, a government internal review has found.

The way that the Scottish Government stores information across departments is ‘inefficient’, difficult to access and use, leading to a widespread use of ‘alternative’ ways of documenting information among staff.

The review highlighted four previous government initiatives to try and sort out long-standing concerns around the way information is stored and managed – two at UK level and two business cases launched by the Scottish Government in 2017 and 2019. The latest findings “remain applicable”, the report says, describing the collective picture as a ‘tipping point’ for the organisation to ‘re-evaluate and reset its approach to information management’.

According to the review most of the information the government holds on its SCOTS network cannot be readily accessed or searched. Of the five systems – including two drives, a public folder and email – it is only the electronic records and documents management (eRDM) system that is designed to be a corporate information system. All the others, the report notes, are ‘repositories with largely unstructured and unaudited information which is not subject to sufficient business governance especially from a corporate perspective’.

Read More: Future Scot, 1 July, 2021

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