There is one way to beat the paper trail - eliminate the paper!
It appears that all that promised transparency and accountability has caused the Provincial Government no end of embarrassment. Annoying FOI requests for e-mail, briefing notes, and communication plans are messing with the government's agenda and creating too much negativism. The solution, reduce the paper, do not send e-mails, and no more briefing notes on controversial files. I can only imagine the surprise that greeted the editors of the Telegram when a routine request for briefing notes from Joan Burke's new department turned up a new policy - verbal briefings.
A while back I questioned the increasing use of MS/PIN text messages and ubiquitous Blackberry PIN (Personal Identification Number) messages by senior government types. They were under the impression that SMS and PIN messages never pass through your email systems and therefore will not be archived by your email archiving solution. Users assumed that PIN messages are secure and untraceable. Neither is necessarily the case, but if your employer is not archiving the messages you can be assured they will not come back to haunt you. Staff were told to communicate via the unique eight-digit number and not use the government's e-mail system. This was the electronic version of the verbal briefing.
The Telegram's editorial today nails the new approach for what it really is, a carefully thought out way to circumvent freedom of information rules.
The new rule, play cat and mouse and find ways not to be transparent. After all the government is only accountable to the voters, right, and we know they are happy.