Well this year’s IRMS conference went off with a bang – it certainly excelled with both venue and programme. Celtic Manor in Wales was fabulous. The surrounding countryside shone in the sunshine. Well there was a little rain but not enough to dampen the spirits. For me the highlights included hearing my old mate Peter Kurilecz from the USA opening the conference with a talk on information as a currency through the ages; discovering that I’m not the only one who thinks that records management has to change to survive; making some new friends; and enjoying Joel Westphal deliver a very interesting paper on the US Navy and Information Governance near the end. As always our faithful exhibitors sponsored the conference to the hilt. We never thank these guys enough – without them there would not be a conference of the calibre we had this year. So thank you vendors – we do appreciate your support.

This year the IRMS and I decided to give an award to the top three entries in the “Alison North New Professional’s Award”.  The quality of the entries was outstanding with new twists to topics such as “Long-term preservation”; “Records Retention”; “Data Protection”.

Unfortunately not everyone can win. In 3rd place came Joe Chapman from my home town of Aberdeen with his paper entitled “Information Management and me”. Joe was not with us to receive his cheque but he was listening in the twitter-sphere and joined us by tweet.

Sian Morgan was our runner up with her excellent paper on “Personal record, freedom of information – reflections of a student”. Sian managed to be at the conference so could receive her award in person.

The opening paragraph of our winner’s paper hooked me and from then on I knew we had a winner.  I quote – “Our creation and use of this [records champion /officer] role……. suggests a disconnect between what we as records managers want to achieve in our organisations and how we go about doing it………. We may at times be working against our best interests.”

YES – I had to agree. As someone who has never understood the reasoning behind giving someone an extra job to do along with their normal job, a job that they usually don’t want to do – I have always thought we were taking a huge risk that the work would not be completed and thus our objectives would fall by the wayside. Here was someone who had spotted this at the beginning of her career – what presence of mind.  And so it gave me great pleasure to award Vanessa Platt the AN New Professionals Award 2015. I look forward to watching her career with interest.

The winning papers should be in the IRMS bulletin soon. Keep a watchful eye out on www.irms.org.uk for the entry particulars for the 2016 award – I do hope many of you will enter.