The National Information Management System (NIMS) is the organization in charge of developing, recommending, and executing public information plans and strategies. Specifically, this department transforms social media interactions into a strategic opportunity for the nation. It has developed platforms such as Dialogues at NAM which is a medium for people to participate in discussions on building their future. They also have programs that focus on government transparency with Twitter Feeds that show news updates on the Cabinet Secretariat’s twitter page or an Citizen’s Report where citizens can report official complaints about corruption in exchange for anonymity.
The National Information Management System was established in 1975 as the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS). It became the National Information Management System in January 2015. This change in name came with a change of structure. From 1975-1998, it had a section that focused on the development of information systems. In 1998, this section split into two sections: The National Information Center, which designed information systems for government agencies; and The Directorate for Computerization and Training, which focused on training government agencies in computerization.
In 2001, another section was formed to focus on communication between citizens and the government: The Office of Public Communication as part of the Ministry of Finance, but it became a separate ministry in 2006. That year, it also received the mandate to design and manage information systems for government agencies.
In January 2015, the National Information Management System received a mandate to focus on what it calls “public information and communication.” It renamed itself as the National Information Management System. At the time of this designation, the department had a budget of $1 million annually and about 100 employees.
Government transparency is a key component in NIMS strategic plans for its public information platform. The NIMS Twitter Feeds are an example of one component that involves government transparency and citizen engagement. The Feeds are also a way to reach out to opinion leaders on current events who may be critical of or interested in certain issues or policies.
The National Information Management System has created three Twitter Feeds. These are the feeds of the Cabinet Secretariat, the President, and the Prime Minister. They post updates on their respective social media accounts for citizens interested in their activities to see. These accounts also allow citizens to share comments and questions with government officials about current events.
In addition to their own Twitter feeds, NIMS also retweets statements from other government agencies such as news releases or other information from other sources that they feel is important to share with citizens of Sri Lanka. The Cabinet Secretariat’s feed is an example of this practice where they retweet news from the public sector like updates about free school lunches or health care facilities provided by government hospitals.
The NIMS’ Director General, S.M. Chandrasiri Balasubramaniam, stated that the hope is to use their medium to open up dialogue between citizens and government officials about specific issues. He also mentioned that the President’s Twitter feed is an opportunity for him to interact with citizens on social media rather than on radio or television which he said reduces the effectiveness of a communication channel.
Assistant Director General (ADG) – This position was first created in 2004 and currently shares oversight responsibility with the Deputy Director General (DDG) for Information Management Policy, Planning, and Technology (MIPTPT). The ADG is in charge of daily operations and interacts with the DDG on a daily basis. This position involves coordinating the agency’s staff to implement current information management policies and provide support to their decisions.
Director General (DG) – The DG reports to the Cabinet Secretary. The DG has overall responsibility for all information management activities of the Sri Lanka Computerization Bureau (SLCB). The coordinator of this is an experienced professional who ensures these efforts are in line with NIMS strategic plans.