The Archives Act from 2015 reckoned on a deeper management of archives. The Ministry of the Interior started to act after 14 years
Press release to audit No. 18/12 – 4 February 2019
Between 2016 and 2018, the Supreme Audit Office (SAO) focused on the management of selected public archives1 belonging to the Ministry of the Interior (MoI). In particular, the auditors examined the process of computerization of archives and creation of the National Digital Archives. In 2005, the Archives Act was adopted, therefore, the SAO also examined whether the MoI abode by this act and how it was working on the development of archiving activities in the Czech Republic.
The SAO found that the MoI had created the archiving concept required by this act as late as in 2018, i.e., 14 years after it should have been completed. At least for the same period, the Ministry did not set concrete and measurable objectives on which the archives should work. For example, it was neither clarified as for computerization of archival material what was meant to be computerized, how archives should go on with their work, nor were there specific terms for archives to comply with. Consequently, the MoI did not have a reliable overview of how computerization was progressing at the time of the audit.
The lack of concept and deeper governance by the MoI also affected the way how individual archives had been approaching the computerization of archival matters. The consequence of this piecemeal approach was, for example, that the register data was stored on eight different web portals.
The audit also revealed that external bodies were largely involved in computerization of state archives. For five archives alone, a single external body participated in the computerization of four of them and thus generated over 80 percent of all digital copies created between 2012 and 2018 — mainly civil registrars and land books — in exchange for keeping one copy each time.
Computerization is also linked to the creation of the National Digital Archives which aims to ensure a fast and easy access to digital records. In 2004, the National Archives started working on this, building on the fact that, according to the original plans, the digital archive was to be ready in 2008. However, the National Archives did not complete the project by the extended deadline until mid-2014. In 2016, it launched its new design, based on the open source system. However, at the time of audit, the National Digital Archives met only one of the six legal requirements — for example, culturally scientific institutions and other originators were able to upload neither metadata nor other required functions at a distance.
The SAO also found that one quarter of the 86 audited archives failed to meet the storage conditions.
State archives managed CZK 3.2 billion in 2018 and the annual cost of their operations amounted to around CZK 854 million between 2015 and 2017.
Supreme Audit Office
1] National Archives of Prague, Moravian Archives in Brno, State Archives in Opava, State Archives in Litoměřice, State District Archives in Zámrsk.