From Brighton to Bulls – Catching up with the IRMS conference

(O Brighton i Bulls – Dal i fyny gyda'r gynhadledd IRMS)


The valleys were lush and green, the Welsh flag whipped in the wind as the sun set over the land of our fathers. All was as you may expect … until you spot the bucking bronco sat on the neatly manicured lawn, but more of that later.

This was the scene that greeted delegates on Sunday night at this year’s IRMS Conference at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport. After a successful stint at Brighton’s Hilton hotel the conference went back on the road again this year, and what a fabulous venue it was, kudos to the organisers at the IRMS!

The Sunday night social event/dinner went off without a hitch, albeit with a few healthy gusts of wind which played havoc with the Frisbee players on the rooftop garden. The following morning started with rain (well it was Wales after all) but this was short-lived and there was more than enough to keep a full crowd of delegates interested and engaged inside the conference centre.

After opening remarks from Meic Pierce Owen (IRMS Chair) the floor was thrown open to Peter Kurilecz (International IRM Authority and author of RAIN online newsfeed) who gave a well-researched and thought-provoking Keynote on the value of information. This gave a nice introduction to the theme of this year’s conference, ‘Information: the new currency’. This was followed by an interesting and heart-warming case study outlining a project (conducted jointly by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and Iron Mountain) to make the wills of 258,000 WWI soldiers available online.

After this the breakout sessions began, offering something for all-comers; cloud storage solutions, system migration and implementation, information asset registers and information security. My personal session of choice was run by Ruth Robertson of Cardiff University and was entitled ‘Managing Information Security Risk: Practical Advice on how to Design a Corporate Information Security Programme’. Ruth spoke well and gave an engaging account of how Information Security has been introduced across the university, including pitfalls and solutions.

The second keynote of the day came from Heather Jack, whose talk was as provocative as its title promised, ‘Information Governance – Nirvana or 1984?’ A good discussion ensued covering; the suitability of professional qualifications for new entrants, information literacy and awareness teaching in schools, and maintaining enthusiasm for good records management within your organisation.

The last set of breakout sessions featured some good case studies across various sectors, specifically the NHS, TfL and KPMG. Rachael Thompson, Corporate Records Manager at KPMG gave a good account of the problems and solutions encountered when moving from a traditional direcory structure to WorkSite, rounding off a great first day at the Conference.

And now back to the bucking bronco. Never have I seen so many records managers tumble from the saddle of a raging bull (well there’s a phrase I never thought I would have need to use). The secret prize, sponsored by Box-it, went to Adam Bailey from Baker and McKenzie, who managed a stonking one minute and fourteen seconds, shunting my own effort (1:12) into joint second place. Congratulations Adam, well deserved!

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