ESARBICA Journal: Journal of the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives

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Merits and challenges of the integrated records services in the public service – a case of Botswana

Bernard B Chebani


The introduction of trained and experienced records personnel in the Botswana public service marked the beginning of effective management of records. Prior to this change, arbitrarily nominated administration staff using inconsistent methods and practices managed government records, and that affected the delivery of government business. Botswana integrated the public service records and archives functions in 1992 that brought to being Botswana National Archives and Records Services (BNARS). This was a fusion of what was originally Botswana National Archives with Government Records services in Ministries and Departments. This article starts by discussing the restructuring process that took place in BNARS. The exercise was meant to achieve two objectives, mainly:
• To increase effectiveness of Government Ministries and Departments in order to provide better services to the public and bring about more effective and faster socio-economic development
• To optimise utilisation of the available manpower, financial material and other resources allocated to the public (Permanent Secretary to the President. 1992:1). Subsequent to this, the article then assesses both the merits and the challenges that arose from the records restructuring. The assessment is made at the archival and the administrative levels with a view to determining the impact on both. The ultimate question is whether the entire exercise was a good thing or not. Botswana as a nation has developed a twenty (20) year long vision that elapses in 2016, with one of its major pillars phrased as building ‘an educated, informed nation', a guarantee that full access to information will be achieved. On this score a determination has to be made to decide whether BNARS restructuring will add any value to this or not.

Keywords: Botswana National Archives and Records Services, Integrated Records Services, public service, records management

ESARBICA Journal Vol. 24 2005: 116-130

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