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The public consultation process for Operational Selection Policies. Howard Davies Records Management and Cataloguing Department 4 July 2006. Selection of public records. Done under the authority of The Public Records Act 1958

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the public consultation process for operational selection policies

The public consultation process for Operational Selection Policies

Howard Davies

Records Management and Cataloguing Department

4 July 2006

selection of public records
Selection of public records
  • Done under the authority of The Public Records Act 1958
  • Selection done by departments under the supervision of The National Archives.
  • Here’s what the legislation has to say about what records are worthy of permanent preservation:
selection of public records1
Selection of public records
  • All records dated 1660 or earlier (s3(3) of the 1958 Act)
  • ….errr….that’s it.
history of non consultation
History of non-consultation
  • No consultation about the 1660 rule
  • No consultation about subsequent Public Record Office guidance issued to departments
  • Essentially a closed government process to which the public – neither researchers nor taxpayers – had access
  • No consistency for departments, researchers or archivists
history of consultation
History of consultation
  • Reasons for gradual move towards consultation
  • Public accountability
  • Open government, Freedom of Information
  • Increasingly vocal pressure groups
  • Academic researcher interest
history of consultation1
History of consultation
  • Acquisition policy
  • Disposition policy
  • Appraisal policy
  • Custodial policy
  • Etc.etc.
process of consultation
Process of consultation
  • Cabinet Office guidance(http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/regulation/consultation/)
  • Identify interested users
        • Either regular researchers with an interest in your acquisition policy generally…
        • …or researchers interested in that topic
  • Other approaches possible
result of consultation
Result of consultation
  • Unlikely alter main thrust of policy – but may tinker at edges
  • Likely to be low-key, unless you propose the destruction of key researcher resources (as the researchers see it)
  • May feel like a pointless exercise, but there are benefits nevertheless
benefits of consultation
Benefits of consultation
  • Open government
  • Accountability for decisions
  • Involve users of the archive
  • Win support of academic users
  • Gives authority to decisions, which…
benefits of consultation1
Benefits of consultation
  • Gives archive managers more authority over record “owners”
  • Allows better flow of material into the archive
  • Encourages debate and promotes the archive
  • Greater staff and public confidence in its decisions