CEREDIGION ARCHIVES COLLECTIONS DEVELOPMENT POLICY
1.1 The Definition and Role of Archives was given by Archives for the 21st Century, (The National Archives, 2009) as follows: “Archives are the record of the everyday activities of governments, organisations, businesses and individuals. They are central to the record of our national and local stories and are vital in creating cultural heritage and supporting public policy objectives. Their preservation ensures that future generations will be able to learn from the experiences of the past to make decisions about the present and future”.
1.2 Archives provide rich and vital sources of evidence about past and present life. This evidence is unique in its ability to foster and inspire a sense of place, time and belonging. Archives help to bring the past to life, help us to understand why our present world is as it is and support the role of today's citizen. They provide authoritative evidence of past events for everyone to use, for educational, and academic, social, legal, business, medical and other uses. Archives may be used to solve problems and defend rights, and to cultivate pride in individual and community identities.
1.3 Archives are created as documentation to accompany human processes of many kinds. As time passes these records are often the sole survivors of organizations, institutions and individuals, and provide unique evidence, however flawed, of past events and previous generations.
Archives and documents in all media (including paper, parchment, maps, plans, photographs, films and electronic) provide unique evidence of the historical development of places and people’s daily lives.
1.4 Ceredigion Archives (and its predecessor body Dyfed Archives, Cardiganshire Area Record Office) has protected the archival record since its creation in 1974, safeguarding irreplaceable information assets for current and future use by means of correct management of the archives to professional standards. We collect, protect, preserve, manage, share and promote the archival legacy of the county of Ceredigion and Cardiganshire for the use of current and future generations.
We also contribute to the modern county of Ceredigion achieving its priorities especially with regard to sustainable development, a strong economy, better education and skills and independent healthy living; and we act, with our Information and Records Management Service, as the corporate memory of the authority and its predecessor bodies.
1.5 Statutory framework for the archive service is provided under:
• Local Government Act 1972 and Local Government (Records) Act 1962
• Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 section 60
• Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978
• Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967
1.6 Access to collections complies with:
• Freedom of Information Act 2000
• Data Protection Act 1998
• Environmental Information Regulations 2005
2. Mission Statement
To preserve, manage and make available evidential material (both historic and contemporary) relating to the county of Ceredigion through our Archive Service, and to support the local authority through our Information and Records Management Service. To make the information in our care available to all who need it, within a framework of legal compliance and a good understanding of our user’s needs. To provide training in Information Security and Data Protection to the authority and to have responsibilities for, and an advisory role in the responses to Subject Access Requests for the authority.
3. The Purpose of this Policy
3.1 This document sets out the Collections Development Policy for Ceredigion Archives (hereafter “CA”) and explains how we aim to ensure inclusive coverage of all aspects of the county’s history. It supports our Mission Statement as set out above and should be seen in conjunction with CA’s Forward Plan, Collection Information Policy, Depositors’ Agreements and other relevant policy documents.
4. Statutory Position
4.1 Ceredigion County Council is a local government authority which administers an area almost identical to the former county of Cardiganshire (and the area in the former county of Dyfed known as Ceredigion District) and which came into being on 1 April 1996. It is the sole local government authority in the present county of Ceredigion charged with exercising archive powers.
4.2 According to the scheme for the provision of CA under the requirements of Section 60 of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, Ceredigion County Council agrees to administer CA and be responsible for the custody of its existing collections.
4.3 The Local Government Act 1972, Section 224 places statutory obligations on Ceredigion County Council to “make proper arrangements with respect to any documents that belong to or are in the custody of the council or any of its officers”. This includes:
• Records created by the County Council and its predecessors in the course of its business - current and semi-current.
• Records held on behalf of central government and subject to the Public Records Act 1958.
• Records given to or purchased by the authority or deposited with the authority on long term loan by authority of the Local Government (Records) Act 1962.
4.4 Under the Local Government Acts 1962 and 1972 the County Council, through its archive service, is the appointed archive authority for all local government districts within Ceredigion and is responsible for ensuring the proper care of the records of all parish councils (and their successor community councils) excepting where such records were historically deposited in the National Library of Wales before the creation of CA.
4.5 CA is appointed as a repository for locally deposited public records under section 4(1) of the Public Records Act 1958. Under the Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967 CA has been appointed to look after designated public records such as those of Quarter Sessions, Magistrates Courts, Coroners, County Courts etc. as scheduled in the Public Records (Places of Deposit) Instrument 1991. It is recognised by the Representative Body of the Church in Wales as a repository for parochial records within the area defined by its agreement with CA.
4.6 CA abides by current archives legislation including the Local Government (Records) Act 1962, the Local Government Act 1972, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. It aims to meet the requirements of the Archive Service Accreditation Standard and to achieve and maintain Accredited status.
5. Scope of Collecting
5.1 CA seeks to collect and preserve material relating to the present county of Ceredigion that is deemed unique or rare, and of long term historical value as determined by qualified archive staff.
5.2 CA will collect Public Records under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958; manorial and tithe records under the relevant measures; records of predecessor local-government authorities of the present Ceredigion County Council under the terms of the Local Government Act 1972; and parish records relating to the area specified in the current agreement between the Representative Body of the Church of Wales and Welsh local authorities.
5.3. Archives relevant to people and places outside the defined area fall outside our collecting policy and if such deposits are offered they would usually be directed to the appropriate place of deposit e.g. a neighbouring County Record Office (see also paragraph 7 below).
5.4 Geographically we seek to collect material from every area of the present county of Ceredigion and from every size of community, both urban and rural.
5.5 Thematically we seek to document all activities and aspects of life within Ceredigion, whether official (including but not limited to local government, other statutory bodies and schools), business, social (including but not limited to clubs, societies and sporting activities) and religious (all denominations) and private / personal (including families and estate papers, and personal papers). The following points describe this in more detail:
5.5.1 In terms of our parent body and its predecessors in Local Government, we seek to collect a comprehensive archive documenting the decision-making process and most significant activities of Ceredigion County Council and its predecessors, Dyfed County Council and Cardiganshire County Council, as well as those Boards, Authorities and Councils that operated beneath these County Councils, and the administrative records of the Quarter Sessions.
5.5.2 In terms of religious archives, in addition to the parish records of the Church in Wales collected under the terms of the Parochial Records Agreement held with that body, we seek to collect the records of most other religious denominations including all Nonconformist churches and chapels (including but not limited to Wesleyan Methodist, Baptist, Quaker and Congregational, but excluding Calvinist Methodist records), and records of other faiths.
5.5.3 We seek to collect archives from individuals and organisations active in both the public and private sectors, in civic and business life. These include businesses, clubs and societies, political parties, trade unions, pressure groups, local campaigns, families and individuals. We aim to collect records representing all interests and opinions.
5.5.4 We seek to include records that represent all social sections and groupings in Ceredigion.
6. Format and Media
6.1 CA accepts the deposit of archives, irrespective of age, in all formats including but not limited to paper, parchment, audio and video cassette, film, microfilm/fiche, photographs, glass plate negatives and lantern slides and digital formats including but not limited to the carrier media of DVD/CD Rom, floppy disk, email, and memory sticks. It reserves the right to transfer items created in an unstable medium to a more stable medium, seeking where possible to preserve the original medium as metadata. It also reserves the right to transfer material created in an unstable medium to another repository where it may be better preserved and curated.
6.2 Appropriate measures will be taken by CA to ensure, as far as possible, the permanent preservation of material that was created in digital form including robust capture, storage, backup and maintenance of such material, in order to ensure its continued availability while ensuring personal details are safeguarded.
6.3 Published works which complement the manuscript collections will be collected, as will copies and catalogues of relevant material stored elsewhere. CA will liaise with the local studies service of the Ceredigion Library Service to avoid unnecessary duplication of published material.
7. Limitations of Collecting Policy
7.1 CA will only collect and preserve material that is deemed unique and of long term historical value as determined by qualified archive staff and agreed by the County Archivist and/or Senior Archivist.
7.2 CA will not collect material falling outside its geographical collecting area as defined in “Scope of Collecting” above, except where the material adds to specific existing collections already in CA’s custody or in exceptional circumstances including upon the express wishes of the owner and in consultation with any other relevant repository.
7.3 Although CA does not seek to acquire records which relate to geographical areas outside the modern county of Ceredigion, such records may sometimes form an integral part of a collection which is primarily focused on the geographical area now known as Ceredigion and/or may relate to persons who originate in or are closely associated with Ceredigion. In these cases the collection will usually be kept intact and information will be supplied to other localities as appropriate.
7.4 CA does not generally accept duplicate material unless holding spare copies of non-unique material is deemed advantageous in particular instances. Copy material is only accepted where the equivalent, original material is not already held in the collection.
7.5 CA encourages the deposit of film archives and audio recordings but aims to transfer them to The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, where specialised storage and preservation facilities exist. Where such transfer takes place we will seek as part of the terms of deposit with NSSAW to enable copies to be made in an appropriate format for depositors and for local access at CA.
7.6 CA does not generally collect printed or published material unless it forms an integral part of an archive, contains significant manuscript annotation, or is of value as an aid to research. Other published material would normally be directed to Ceredigion’s Head of Library Services.
7.7 CA does not generally collect artefacts, three-dimensional objects or works of art, unless they form an integral part of an associated archive. Such material would instead normally be directed to Ceredigion’s Museums Service.
8. Developing the Collections
8.1 CA has built up an extensive record of life within Ceredigion between the 16th century and the present day during its 40+ years of operation and seeks continually to strengthen the coverage of its collections. It will continue to assert its right to be the sole place of deposit for records protected by the legislation in Section 4. CA will engage in constructive discussions and, if appropriate, will seek mediation from an appropriate organisation should any disagreements over the appropriate place of deposit arise.
8.2 CA recognises that its collections are not comprehensive or exhaustive. Accordingly CA will undertake examinations and surveys of its holdings to ascertain where gaps currently exist, both within existing collections and where certain classes of records and/or records that represent particular aspects of this county’s life and history may be partly lacking or entirely absent. These examinations and surveys should be appropriately resourced in terms of staff time and other costs (as far as resources allow) and will inform an active pursuit of gaps in Ceredigion’s archive collections.
8.3 As far as resources allow, with regard to limitations on storage and informed by examinations and surveys, CA will actively encourage the further deposit of material from existing depositors to ensure that existing collections continue to develop and provide as comprehensive as possible an account of the activities from which they have been created.
8.4 As far as resources allow, with regard to limitations on storage, and informed by examinations and surveys, CA will actively encourage deposit of material from groups which are currently under-represented in our collections.
8.5 CA will continue to work in close co-operation with our Information and Records Management Service to ensure the systematic transfer of appropriate records to its custody, ensuring a comprehensive record of the activities of local government in Ceredigion continues to be collected and developed.
8.6 CA acquires collections by means of:
• Donation (including bequest) – our preferred option
• Deposit on long term loan
• Transfer: from Ceredigion County Council (see 8.5), as public records from The National Archives or from other archival institutions.
• Purchase (only in exceptional cases)
8.7 We clarify ownership and provenance of collections before we acquire them and we prioritise collections at risk from damage or destruction. We may seek financial contributions from owners of deposits towards the costs of preserving their archives. See our Conditions of Deposit document.
8.8 Cataloguing is a core activity for CA to ensure the widest possible access to information about our collections. Priorities for cataloguing new accessions and existing uncatalogued holdings are determined in line with identified priorities and available resources. CA will explore opportunities to access new funding, including external funding streams, to support cataloguing work as appropriate and help alleviate constraints in the area of cataloguing backlogs.
9.1 Archives are accepted on the presumption that the depositor is willing for them to be made available for public consultation within a reasonable period of time (within the context of relevant legislation). CA will publicise every new acquisition, and advise on any restrictions to access. Catalogues will be made available online and supplied to depositors and The National Archives’ Discovery service.
10.1 CA reserves the right to dispose of material that does not meet the criteria for long-term preservation set out in the Collections Development Policy.
10.2 CA agrees appropriate disposal options with the depositor/donor at the time of deposit, which will in most cases be one of the following:
• Return to depositor / donor. We ask owners to collect and advise that any material not collected within an agreed time may be disposed of as waste.
• Transfer to a more appropriate repository. Wherever possible we expect the owner to make these arrangements.
• Destroy by appropriate methods depending on the material. Confidential material will be destroyed with other Ceredigion County Council confidential waste to industry standards.
10.3 CA does not sell archive material but may sell printed or published material where it is owned by Ceredigion County Council and either duplicates our holdings or does not relate to Ceredigion. Any income from such sales will be applied for the benefit of the collections.
11. Review of Policy
This policy will be reviewed at least every five years. The policy was written in October 2017 and will be reviewed in October 2022 or sooner if circumstances dictate.
Ceredigion Archives - 40 years of preserving the past for the future - and counting