Dear Colleagues


I apologise for the delay in getting this report to you.


With regards


Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan

Director of Publicity and Communication

The National Council on Archives


Tel/fax 01939 234289



The art of persuasion  – the National Council on Archives’ July meeting


The NCA met to discuss the wide variety of activity the Council is now involved in, with influencing and evidence at the heart of discussions.  The meeting was preceded by a presentation by Cathy Smith from The National Archives on The National Collections Strategy (NCS)


A busy start for the All Party Group on Archives


René Kinzett, NCA Head of Public Affairs, reported on the successful first meeting of the APG held at the River Room in the House of Lords on 8th July.  An expert panel was chaired by NCA patron Lisa Jardine.  Sue Wilkinson of MLA, Richard Ovenden of the Bodleian Library, and Natalie Ceeney of TNA spoke on key issues and welcomed questions from the floor.  René noted that Roy Clare mentioned the APG event at the NCA conference, making direct reference to comments made.


Furthermore a visit to TNA is being arranged for the group and a visit to Lambeth Palace has been requested.  René is compiling a list of potential visits for the APG and welcomed suggestions for visits to business archives, HE sector archives, local authority and community archives groups would also be welcome. 


It was agreed that it was important to show the APG how critical the position is on the ground but with a stress on what people do with finite resources and what could have been achieved with more.  Some key issues  it was hoped the APG could consideri ncluded the  Archives in the 21st Century policy document, the National Collections Strategy and the review of the 30 year rule.


René reminded the Council that at the NCA Conference Ed Vaizey pointed out that he (and other MP’s) would welcome an approach from local authorities with images and content for their constituency websites and visits to events.


Archives Awareness Campaign is taking shape – so take part!


The theme Take Your Place in History is the strap line for this year’s campaign and is being supported by the working group met is meeting regularly.  There will be a launch event on 5th November with the APG looking at Parliament’s place in shaping history.  Nationally the AAC is aiming to promote one event in each region with an advocacy input.  This will highlight projects and exhibitions, showcasing them to MPs and local authority members.  These events will be offered AAC support for organising the event, drawing up invite lists, and TNA press office support.  Events will go on across the whole sector.  Some suggestions to date include 60th anniversary of the NHS with an event organised by King’s College, London.  As well as these highlighted events the campaign will continue to promote local events.


The AAC press office position is being advertised  and it will be a  permanent position.  This role will be giving NCA support beyond the scope of AAC.  The NCA is grateful for TNAs support in this area.


It was agreed that linkages with the regions needs to be improved and that realistically services need to know this autumn what the campaign will be focused on in 2009 so that resources can be put into service business plans.


NCA Evidence Conference delivers valuable advice


Roy Clare, Ed Vaizey, Philip Mind from the LGA, and Geoff Pick  had given papers at the conference; four workshops ran in the afternoon followed by a presentation by Javier Stanziola of MLA.  Approximately 85 people attended.  It seemed to have been a very successful  and informative day. 100% delegates agreed the event was well organised and NCA will be analysing the full feedback forms to make sure the 2009 conference is even better. 


[Papers from the conference are available on the NCA website.]


Head of Public Affairs continues to develop sector’s profile


René reported that the Community Archives Wales event at the Welsh Senedd in Cardiff, which NCA helped to organise, event was very successful, There was a strong attendance by Assembly Members who received very clear message about the role of community archives. 


René has also developed a good dialogue with Ed Vaizey, Conservative Shadow Culture Minister who has made clear he wants to be kept informed of progress on the sector review.


Finally,  the Head of Public Affairs and the NCA Director of Communication are working on redeveloping the NCA website.  René Kinzett has met with CBJ Digital to look at improving the structure of the NCA website.  It will be more user friendly with good signposting and a members’ area.  The site will have increased functionality.


Archive Lottery Adviser warns against funding pessimism


Louise Ray, the Archive Lottery Adviser, noted that we are in an era of more competition and less funding.  However, she emphasised that we should not be overly negative:  Projects are still eligible for funding.  In response to questions Louise also explained that   cataloguing can be funded but only as an element of a wider project therefore there is potential to ask for cataloguing to be a small percentage.


Public Services Quality Group visitor survey set to get bigger


After several years of successful on-site surveys PSQG is planning a distance enquiry survey for January – March 2009 after the success of a pilot project. Meanwhile the visitor survey 2007 results are available on the IPF website.  Discussions have taken place on the next visitor survey which is to take place May/ June 2009. 


PSQG is also bringing a variety of other initiatives to fruition.  The Access standard is now complete and includes an action plan template Also, the security and access work group is producing a security standard.  A national registration card for archives readers is being considered.


The PSQG forum 2008 is being held 5th November named “Dream Teams”.  The cost will be £65 and will be advertised shortly.


CADG becomes the Community Archive and Heritage Group


The group has had a change of name to cover the wider range of organisations which the Group now aimed to include. It’s successful 2008 Conference highlighted the amount of community work taking place throughout the wider sector and the desire to find further investment and funds for sustaining projects.  Council was reminded of  the MLA sponsored landscape research into community archives which is available from the MLA office.  This work will be developed further by MLA and CAHG over the coming months.


Other news  from NCA members


The sector review by consultants Firetail is well underway and NCA will be fully involved through member and stakolder interviews.


The annual review on ROPSI (Reuse of Public Sector Information) has been published demonstrating how  FOI and DPA are increasingly on the governments agenda.  The National Archives is widely seen as the lead on public sector information regulation in Europe. 


ACALG is closely monitoring the Tower Hamlets Archives is being monitored as the archive is being placed in commercial storage.  The Tower Hamlets authority is one of ten in the DCMS Find Your Talent programme.


Meanwhile in Scotland a review of public records is currently taking place.


The Business Archives Council explained that the Business Archives Strategy is well underway and a draft will be available by the end of the summer with a final version in November.


Digitisation is back on the agenda for JISC which  is surveying which collections might be digitised


At MLA the National team has moved and is on target to announce plans in September.   Council thanked Justin Cavernelis Frost, who is due to leave MLA,  for all his efforts for NCA.


NCA Officers had a meeting with DCMS.  Since then DCMS have sought input from NCA to revise questions on the Taking Part Survey