After the strategic focus for effective information management is set, a leadership vision for managing information exists and an environmental scan has been conducted, the next step moves to policy development – the parameters that will clarify standards and protocols that bridge the technology components with management processes. Policies clarify how data will be collected, who will have access to certain data, what analytical techniques should be used for which purposes and when and how information and knowledge will be shared with internal staff and external stakeholders. These related procedures and guidelines address methods to manage and protect information contained in the information management system.
Principles to help guide the policy development include:
- Children, families and communities are seen holistically, which shapes how data collection is structured.
- Effective integration of information across sources (i.e., interoperability) is a critical overarching challenge and goal. Storage of information is secure in order to maintain the integrity of the information and prevent information being lost or destroyed.
- Shared responsibility for entering data about children, youth and families served and cases among all that have direct contact with children, youth and families.
- Clarification about who owns the information, who has access to the information and that information will be accessible in a timely fashion.
- Analysis of information adheres to best practice principles.
- Transparency governs the organization’s dissemination strategies – and the dissemination strategies support a wide range of stakeholder capacities.
- Governance structure is established to set priorities, make decisions on the use of resources and review the processes for the physical aspects of information management, including procurement.
A leader and senior management team should anticipate changes in the demand for information so that the information system can be adapted in a proactive manner. In addition to the above guiding principles, agencies should seek to develop/update the following:
- Methods of anticipating technological changes that may enhance the information system.
- Processes to communicate policy and program changes to all individuals responsible for the information management system.
- Processes to communicate technological changes that may over time enhance the information system but will also change the way data are collected.
- Training programs that educate users on new components, tools and features of the system.
- esources that are easily accessible to help users and developers understand how any changes might impact their