United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

National Consultant (Preparation of Guidelines for Public Authorities on Public Records Management in Terms of The Provisions of The Right to Information Act)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Job Description

  Sri Lanka enacted a Right to Information (RTI) law in June 2016. The RTI Act 2016 and the rules and regulations issued under the RTI Act became fully effective in February 2017.The law is anticipated to have a major democratizing impact on how government functions and how it interacts with the citizens. It creates a key entry point for strengthening transparency and accountability in government and public finance, addressing corruption, and ultimately contributing to participatory, effective and equitable governance. The RTI Act requires all public authorities to maintain its records duly catalogued and indexed in such form as is consistent with its operational requirements in order to facilitate the citizen’s right of access to information as provided for in the Act. The National Archives Law No.48 of 1973 (NAL) as amended by Act No.30 of 1981 is the legal framework for regulating the life cycle of public records. The purpose of the Act is to provide for records management and the transfer of public records to the Department of National Archives (“DNA”), for the custody and preservation of public archives and records. Under Section 9 of the Act, all records of evidential value have to be transferred to the Department of National Archives and under Section 16, the minister in charge of the National Archives has the power to make regulations on the disposal of documents in public authorities. Till 2016/2017, DNA has approved the disposal of records in public institutions but has ceased to do so following the enactment of the Right to Information Act. This regime has now been augmented by the RTI Act; specifically, Sections 7, 14(h), and 43 of the Act. There are other laws and regulations that complement the above, including the Destruction of Valueless Documents Ordinance No. 12 of 1894 (as amended). In terms of the RTI Act, every public authority is required to comply with the directions given by the Commission under Section 14(h) relating to proper records management. (Vide Section 7). The maintenance and management of information / records created by the public authority or which come into its possession and control for a period of 10 – 12 years for the purpose of providing access to information to the citizens cause the building of huge amounts of various types of information / records requiring the enhancement of storage facilities, preservation of documents, indexing and cataloguing of such information for easy access, at substantial investments in physical and human resources and modern technology. The enormity of finding physical “space” for storage for information for 10 – 12 years, when the RTI Act applies to “all” records is the critical issue to be addressed by introducing a comprehensive set of guidelines to public authorities for records management. These guidelines on the other hand should fulfill the aspirations of the Legislature in making the enforcement of the RTI process effective and efficient. SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES The UNDP requires the immediate services of a competent Consultant or a Team of Consultants for the purpose of drafting a set of practical guidelines to be issued (and Gazette as Regulations) to the public authorities for adherence during the life cycle of records in their identified three stages of (a) creation (b) maintenance and use and (c) disposal. The proposed guidelines should be drafted in consideration of the applicable principles and concepts, legal provisions and records management practices. The Consultant / Team of Consultants will report to UNDP’s Technical Specialist on Independent Commissions for contractual purposes and jointly to the Director General of the RTI Commission and the UNDP’s Management and Coordination Consultant on RTI on a day-to-day basis in carrying out the key responsibilities of the assignment.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Consultant/ s shall develop a set of guidelines on public records management based on:
  • A desk review of the prevailing laws and regulations relating to public records management and the concepts, objectives and provisions of RTI Act pertaining to records, disclosure of records and management of records;

  • Interviews and key informant interviews with officials of the Departments of National Archives, the RTI Commission, key ministries such as Public Administration, Home Affairs, Local Government, Education, Health as well as key departments such as Immigration & Emigration, Motor Traffic, Pensions, Health etc;

  • Consultations with the Legal Consultants of the RTI Commission.

Expected Outputs/Deliverables
  1. An inception report outlining the detailed methodology for the assignment including a brief analysis of the applicable legal framework and the records management practices after a preliminary desk review and consultations to be submitted for discussion with stakeholders after 03 weeks;

  2. The first draft of Guidelines in Sinhala and English for discussion after 08 weeks to be validated at a stakeholder consultation;

  3. The final set of Guidelines in all three languages after 11 weeks for approval by the RTI Commission and the Department of National Archives and for publication in the Government Gazette as a set of Regulations on Public Records Management of the RTI Commission.

TIMEFRAME The envisaged timeframe of the consultancy is 03 months, starting 15 July 2020, with the possibility of extension.
The prospective consultant/s should have the following competencies.
  • Sound knowledge on the theory and practice of public records management;

  • Good knowledge of the use of modern techniques such as digitization for records management purposes;

  • Knowledge on right to information laws, systems and processes;

  • Skills in report writing and legal drafting skills;

  • Good organizational skills and the ability to work under tight deadlines;

  • Ability to maintain confidentiality of records and information.

Required Skills and Experience
  • A Master’s degree in the field of information science, archival science, records management, public administration, law, or other relevant field. A Bachelor’s degree with 15 years of work experience in the field of information science, archival science, records management, public administration or law will be considered in lieu of Master’s degree.

  • Hands on experience in public records management and archival practices and the use of modern techniques such as digitization for records management purpose. Direct work experience with the Department of National Archives would be an added advantage;

  • Sound knowledge of the legal regime applicable to public records management;

  • Good MS word-processing and presentation preparation skills; as well as excellent electronic research skills.

  • Excellent written communication skills in English and Sinhala and/or Tamil are required.

  • To apply please access UNDP Jobs site http://jobs.undp.org

The application should contain:
  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position including a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work;

  • Updated CV to include qualifications/competencies and relevant past experience in similar projects and contact details of 3 professional referees who can certify your competencies, professionalism, quality of writing, presentation and overall suitability to this TOR;

  • An all-inclusive financial proposal for undertaking the above assignment provided in the format given below;

  • Consultants will be evaluated based on a combination of factors including cover letter, the credentials on offer and brief interview (optional) and the offer which gives the best value for money for the UNDP;

  • Please send the Financial Proposal separately to the following e-mail address: consultants.lk@undp.org stating the vacancy number/position in the subject line.

FINANCIAL PROPOSAL All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee: LKR…………………….. Amount in words: LKR…………………………………. Note: Payments will be based on invoices on achievement of agreed milestones i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP. The applicant must factor in all possible costs in his/her “All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee” including his/her consultancy and professional fee, travel (economy class flights is required to and from the Duty Station) honorarium, board and lodging, and any other foreseeable costs in this exercise. No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant. UNDP will only pay for any unplanned travel outside of this TOR and Duty Station on actual basis and on submission of original bills/invoices and on prior agreement with UNDP officials. Daily per-diems and costs for accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel shall not exceed established local UNDP DSA rates. For an Individual Contractor who is 65 years of age or older, and on an assignment requiring travel, be it for the purpose of arriving at the duty station or as an integral duty required travel under the TOR, a full medical examination and statement of fitness to work must be provided. Such medical examination costs must be factored in to the financial proposal above. Medical examination is not a requirement for individuals on RLA contracts. PAYMENT FOR SERVICES Payments will be based on milestones certified by the UNDP Technical Specialist on Independent Commissions. Payment Milestones will be as follows: Deliverable 1- Inception Report outlining the detailed methodology for the assignment including a brief analysis of the applicable legal framework and the record management practices -20% by July 2020; Deliverable 2 - The first draft of Guidelines in Sinhala and English -50% August 2020; Deliverable 3 - The final set of Guidelines in all three languages for approval by the RTI Commission and the Department of National Archives and for publication in the Government Gazette -30% by September 2020. UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workplace, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence. UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
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