North Yorkshire county record office - access policy
The page below shows the access policy for North Yorkshire County Record Office.
This policy is divided into the following sections:
- Context of the access policy
- Aims of the access policy
- Objectives of the access policy
- The access strategy
- Review of the access policy
1. Context of the access policy
The function of North Yorkshire County Record Office is the acquisition, preservation and provision of public access to archive material for the whole of the county of North Yorkshire. We care for millions of documents of all shapes, sizes and ages which are housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton.
For the purposes of this policy, access is the means by which records are offered for use either directly or indirectly. It includes both physical and intellectual access, on-site and remote.
Records are defined as manuscripts; typescripts; maps; plans; drawings; photographs; electronic records; sound and video tapes; printed works; and any other formats that form an archive, or an integral part of an archive, of an organisation or individual.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the learning policy, the audience development policy and the preservation policy.
2. Aims of the access policy
The aim of this policy is to show how North Yorkshire County Record Office will provide and promote public access. The County Record Office is committed to facilitating access for everyone and subscribes to the principles of the Standard for Access to Archives (National Council on Archives: Public Services Quality Group 2003).
3. Objectives of the access policy
North Yorkshire County Record Office will:
- Make access a priority when defining future policies;
- Serve all communities as effectively and efficiently as possible by devising a range of services appropriate to the communities stated and implied needs;
- Not discriminate against any user or potential user;
- Establish clear channels of communication to and from its users and stakeholders;
- Identify and engage with stakeholder groups;
- Make full use of ICT as a means of making holdings and services fully accessible;
- Ensure that information about its holdings and services is readily available; and
- Assess all aspects of its access provision against the County Council's equalities frameworks.
4. The access strategy
To meet these objectives North Yorkshire County Record Office will take action as follows:
- Ensure that information on the practical arrangements for access to services is made available to users and regularly updated;
- Create and maintain finding aids to the records in its care and make them readily available for public consultation;
- Ensure that researchers are accommodated appropriately when they visit the County Record Office and that services and buildings are accessible for users with disabilities;
- Ensure that the opening hours of the service are appropriate to the effective and efficient achievement of its access aims.
- Identify and engage with stakeholders across the county;
- Develop partnerships across the sector and beyond which will enable more information to be made available about archives;
- Maintain user feedback mechanisms and complaints procedures and clear channels of communication to and from stakeholders;
- Maintain a marketing plan.
- Ensure that the community benefits from the archives in ways other than direct access by establishing a programme of outreach activities;
- Continue to contribute to the national archives network;
- Make descriptions of its holdings available online;
- Provide a range of enquiry services for researchers who wish to conduct research by letter, e-mail or telephone.
Staff working with users
- Make it clear who is responsible for the service and how they can be contacted;
- Ensure that all staff are guided by clear standards of service;
- Provide appropriate training for staff so that they can deliver a knowledgeable and user-friendly service;
- Encourage a partnership approach in which users are invited to share responsibility for the preservation of archives;
- Adopt a consultative approach to service development by proactively gathering user feedback and by other means;
- Ensure that clear, written advice is provided for the public relating to the use of facilities and that staff are available to give practical assistance in handling documents.
Access to records
- Access to records is provided in surrogate or original format. Detailed procedures are governed by statutory provision (including the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Copyright Act 1988) as well as the conservation status of materials and the requirements of the owners of documents.
5. Review of the access policy
This policy document was revised in January 2010. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary and at least every five years.