CEREDIGION ARCHIVES VOLUNTEER 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 to provide overall guidance and direction to staff and volunteers
3.2 to establish a framework for recruiting and supporting volunteers
3.3 to recognise and clarify the respective roles, rights and responsibilities of volunteers and of the Archive
3.4 to ensure consistency in our dealings with volunteers
3.5 to confirm the Archive's commitment to involving volunteers in its work
4.1 At Ceredigion Archives a volunteer is anyone who does voluntary unpaid work at the direction and on behalf of the Archive.
4.2 The Archive accepts and encourages the involvement of volunteers within all appropriate activities. Volunteers make an important contribution to the Archive by complementing and assisting the work of paid staff. We want to strengthen our commitment to new and existing volunteers and to ensure that their experience of working in a public service is fulfilling, useful and beneficial to both parties.
5. Principles of good practice
5.1 The policy and procedure on volunteers will be monitored and reviewed regularly.
5.2 Priority tasks for volunteers will be identified regularly.
5.3 Volunteering opportunities will complement rather than replace the work of paid staff.
5.4 Volunteers will not be engaged in times of industrial action to do the work of paid staff.
5.5 Volunteers will be offered the option of keeping their own Work Record. If required, a copy of it will be countersigned by the County Archivist or Senior Archivist.
6. Recruitment and Selection
6.1 Ceredigion Archives will recruit volunteers from the local community and will attempt to reach a wider constituency than the visitors to the Archive.
6.2 Equal Opportunities principles will be adhered to when recruiting volunteers.
6.3 There will be a probationary period for all placements.
6.4 No person who has a conflict of interest, whether personal, philosophical, or financial with the Archive or the County Council shall be accepted as a volunteer.
6.5 No volunteer shall be accepted without satisfactory references.
6.6 All volunteers must sign a Data Protection Act consent form and an Assignment of Intellectual Property Rights form before they start their placement.
7. Training and Development
7.1 Before an offer of a placement is made, volunteers will be given an overview of the Archive's work and an indication of the role they will be expected to fulfil. They will also be made aware of any risks associated with the work (such as exposure to dust and mould, lifting, climbing stairs etc.)
7.2 The worksite and equipment provided to volunteers will be comparable to that of paid staff.
7.3 Volunteers will receive specific on-the-job instruction and/or training necessary to perform the tasks assigned to them.
7.4 Volunteers will be made aware of legal issues most commonly encountered in a record office environment: copyright, Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act.
7.5 We will endeavour to give the volunteers a wide range of tasks reflecting the scope of the Archive's work, so that their experience can be as broad and as fulfilling as possible.
7.6 Volunteers will be appropriately supervised and supported.
8. Rights of volunteers
Volunteers have the right to:
• know their rights and responsibilities
• be free from discrimination
• receive the appropriate induction and training
• have safe working conditions and be covered by appropriate insurance
• be supported in their work and shown appreciation
• be consulted on decisions affecting them directly
• experience personal development through their participation as volunteers
• refuse any tasks or work
• ask for a reference
• withdraw from voluntary work
• have a copy of their Volunteer Work Record countersigned upon leaving, or at any time they request it.
9. Responsibilities of volunteers
• comply with existing policies and procedures of Ceredigion County Council and Ceredigion Archives
• carry out their tasks in a way which corresponds to the aims and values of Ceredigion Archives
• respect confidentiality (see clause below)
• be aware of and comply with document handling procedures
• be sensitive to potential legal issues, as highlighted during induction
• be reliable
• dress suitably and behave appropriately
The Volunteer shall, both during the period of his/her work experience and after its termination (without time limit) keep confidential and not (except as authorized for the purposes of the work experience, or already in the public domain) use or disclose or attempt to use or disclose confidential information (which includes all knowledge and information relating to the Council's business, organization, finances and technology).
11.1 Overall responsibility for the implementation, monitoring and review of the policy lies with the County Archivist, and, on a day to day basis, with the paid staff and the volunteers.
11.2 This policy applies to all volunteers in any work undertaken by them for the Archive. Policies and procedures not covered in this document shall be determined by the County Archivist.
This policy was reviewed in June 2017 and will be further reviewed in June 2022 or as circumstances dictate.
Ceredigion Archives - 40 years of preserving the past for the future - and counting