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The Archivists’ Understanding of New Public Management and Outsourcing of Government Information: The Case of Sweden
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Systems and Technology.
2019 (English)In: Mousaion: South African Journal of Information Studies, ISSN 2663-659X, Vol. 37, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the archivists’ understanding of New Public Management (NPM) and its impact on their role as gatekeepers of government information. The paper therefore presents the views of the archivists who traditionally manage the creation, capture and organisation of information at the Swedish Transport Board (STB). Government information is key to institutional transparency and hence the stringent legal framework that governs it. Sweden is considered a highly transparent country and through its Press Act, which dates as far back as the 1766, all its citizens enjoy the right to access government information. This way, citizens can follow and scrutinise the government processes, which increases openness and trust in government institutions. However, this image of Sweden as open and transparent was challenged by the “Transportgate IT scandal,” which put it in the limelight of both national and international media. The scandal was due to outsourcing. Global governments these days operate under increased financial constraints, demands for efficiency and environmentally sustainable solutions and are therefore engaged in the outsourcing of government functions. Outsourcing is a strategy within New Public Management and is regarded as a solution to the above-mentioned constraints. Outsourcing is being done within the growing popularity of NPM, which is the adoption of methods and best practice from the private sector. However, among the challenges that outsourcing poses is data/information security. Yet, one of the building stones of trust in government institutions is secure and trustworthy government information. As the “Transportgate IT scandal” unfolded, the focus was on IT security and there was a total lack of discussion on the information contained in the systems. This paper used a case study as a method to explore the above issues. It applied a literature review and interviews as data gathering techniques. The results confirmed that the archivists had a full understanding of NPM and its impact on the management of government information. They are supposed to play a key role in the management of government information, but they were not at all involved in the outsourcing process. There is a danger that this development might impact the trust citizens have in government institutions since access to government information might be compromised. Therefore, outsourcing of government information should involve all the stakeholders and there should be well-formulated clauses to protect it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 37, no 1
Keywords [en]
institutional transparency, archivists, government information, New Public Management, outsourcing
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-37753DOI: 10.25159/2663-659X/6075OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-37753DiVA, id: diva2:1371922
Available from: 2019-11-21 Created: 2019-11-21 Last updated: 2019-11-21Bibliographically approved

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