Archive Service Collections Development Policy and Strategy
The role of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (Joint) Archive Service is to locate, collect and preserve archive collections relating to past and present life in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and to make these collections available for use by the people of Staffordshire and its visitors.
This Policy and Strategy are essential to support the role and aims of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service. It has been drawn up in accordance with the National Archives Accreditation Scheme for Archives and has been approved by the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Joint Archives Committee. It supports the Joint Archive Service’s Terms and Conditions for the Deposit of Archives (revised May 2008) and is provided as information to owners of documents, who may be intending to place their collections in the care of the Archive Service, to other archive services and as guidance for Archive Service staff.
2. Name of Archive Service
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (Joint) Archive Service, which consists of:
- Staffordshire Record Office, Eastgate Street Stafford ST16 2LZ
- Stoke-on-Trent City Archives, City Central Library, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 3RS
3. Governing Body
The Joint Archive Service is jointly administered and funded by Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council under the terms of a Joint Agreement for Archive Services with effect from 1st April 2011
This Agreement enables Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to discharge their archive responsibilities under the Local Government (Records) Act, 1962 and the Local Government Act, 1972 through a Joint Archives Committee by providing facilities for the custody and care of the official archives of the County Council, the City Council, district, town and parish councils and private owners of archives.
4. Official External Recognition
4.1 Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service
The Archive Service is accredited under the ARA/TNA Accreditation Scheme.
4.2 Staffordshire Record Office
Staffordshire Record Office is:
Appointed by the Lord Chancellor for the deposit of Public Records under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958, for the deposit of specified classes of Public Records including Quarter Sessions, HM Coroners, hospital records, magistrates’ court records.
Recognised by the Master of the Rolls for the deposit of manorial and tithe records under the Law of Property Act, 1922, and the Tithe Act, 1936
Designated by the Bishop of Lichfield for the deposit of Anglican parish records for the archdeaconries of Lichfield, Stoke on Trent and Walsall under the Parochial Register and Records Measure, 1978 (amended 1992)
Recognised by The National Archives as a repository meeting the Standard for Archive Repositories
4.3 Stoke-on-Trent City Archives
Stoke-on-Trent City Archives is:
Appointed by the Lord Chancellor for the deposit of Public Records under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958, for the deposit of specified classes of Public Records including Quarter Sessions, HM Coroners, hospital records, magistrates court records
The entire holdings of the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service holdings were Designated as Outstanding in 2011 by Arts Council England. The Archive Service is one of only three local authority archives to hold this status.
In the context of this policy archives are defined as collections and itemswhich have been created by individuals, organisations or institutions in the course of their life and their work. They are considered to be worth preserving permanently because of their evidential, administrative or historical importance.
6. Overall Policy Direction
The Joint Archive Service will seek to ensure that the collecting of archives reflects the broadest range of the life and work of the people and communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, past and present, and to ensure that collections at risk are preserved. The Collecting Policy is supported by a Collecting Strategy in Appendix 1.
Collections acquired by the Joint Archive Service will be placed in the most appropriate of its record office as defined by the collecting statements below.
7. Collecting Statements
Staffordshire Record Office collects archive collections relating to the geographical area of the current administrative County of Staffordshire. These include: the official archives of Staffordshire County Council and its predecessor authorities; archives of other local authorities and their predecessor authorities, excluding the City of Stoke-on-Trent, Lichfield District and East Staffordshire Borough Councils; Public Records; the records of the Anglican Church; other archives including those of businesses, industrial and commercial organisations, nonconformist churches, organisations, including pressure groups, and institutions, families and landed estates, societies, trades unions and political parties.
Lichfield Record Office collects the official archives of the Diocese of Lichfield and archive collections relating to the City of Lichfield and East Staffordshire. These include: the official archives of Lichfield District Council, Lichfield City Council and East Staffordshire Borough Council and their predecessor authorities; the archives of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral; Public Records; the records of the Anglican Church; other archives including those of businesses, industrial and commercial organisations, including pressure groups, nonconformist churches, organisations and institutions, families and estates, societies, trades unions and political parties.
Stoke on Trent City Archives collects archive and local studies collections relating to the current administrative area of the City of Stoke-on-Trent. These will include: the official archives of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and its predecessor authorities; archives including those of businesses, industrial and commercial organisations, nonconformist churches, organisations, including pressure groups, and institutions, families and estates, societies, trades unions and political parties; books, pamphlets, newspapers and items in any other medium which will maintain as far as possible the comprehensive nature of Stoke-on-Trent’s Pottery and Local Studies Collection.
The Joint Archive Service also maintains and supports the collections at Burton upon Trent Family and Local History Centre which acquires: copies of family history sources relating to Burton and the surrounding area; copies of archive material relating to Burton- upon- Trent, as appropriate, to support the study of local history; local studies collections as defined by the Staffordshire Local Studies Policy.
Archives relating to other counties will be accepted only where they form an integral part of an archive, whose owners were based in Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent but who also had interests elsewhere. This may include a major family or a business.
Collections of regional or national bodies will be accepted if the organisation has its headquarters in the County or the City, except where the organisation concerned has agreements in place for deposit elsewhere.
The Joint Archive Service has a long and close association with the William Salt Library. Both Collecting Policies of each organisation are complementary.
The Joint Archive Service will seek to work closely with other archive collecting institutions inside and outside the County and the City in the matter of potential acquisitions.
8. Acquisition of Collections
Collections of archives are acquired by means of:
- the statutory obligations and legislative powers listed above
- continuing survey, publicity and project work and, where appropriate, by working with the widest possible range of local organisations and communities to ensure the preservation of the archival heritage.
- responding to all approaches from custodians of archives for the deposit or donation of collections
- occasional purchase by private treaty or at auction subject to the necessary funding being available. Negotiations will only be carried out with reputable dealers, and or with organisations or individuals who are able to prove legal title to the documents, or who have the written authorisation of the owners of the collection.
- by transfer from another archive repository if the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service is considered to be the more appropriate repository.
9. Disposal of Collection
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service will appraise and assess archive collections prior to donation and deposit and reserves the right to refuse, return or recommend the destruction of any material not deemed to be appropriate for permanent preservation. Such decisions will be made in accordance with the Service’s Appraisals Policy.
The Service may also transfer collections with the agreement of the depositor to other archive repositories if this is considered to be more appropriate.
The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Joint Archives Committee accepts the principle that collections in its ownership will not be sold.
These conditions are reiterated in the Terms of Deposit of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service (revised March 2008).
10. Allocation and Ownership of Archive Service Collections
Where a collection or item is offered to the Archive Service, containing material, which relate to both the County and the City, this will be placed in the record office which is considered to be most appropriate, taking into account all the circumstances of the collection. The factors normally carrying most weight in this decision will be which area the greater proportion of archives in the collection relates to, whether the collection forms an additional and integral part of an existing collection or has a close association with an existing archive collection already held in a particular office.
In the case of archive collections, which have a wider geographical content than the County of Staffordshire and the City of Stoke-on-Trent, the Archive Service will always seek to achieve mutual agreement with other interested archive services concerning the final place of deposit.
The Archive Service will seek to avoid holding copies of local resources between its own record offices, except where this will significantly enhance the quality of service to the public.
Where a new collection is purchased for the Archive Service, it will be placed in the record office considered to be the most appropriate as specified in paragraph 10.1 of this policy. In the event of the termination of the Joint Agreement for Archive Services, any collection purchased by the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service will remain the property of the authority, which is responsible for the record office at which the collection is held.
In the event of the purchase of a collection already held on deposit in one of the Archive Service’s three record offices, the collection will remain the property of the Authority, either Staffordshire County Council or Stoke-on-Trent City Council, responsible for the record office at which the collection is already held.
11. Format of Archives
The format of archives may be paper, parchment, digital, microform, visual media, including photographs, glass negatives, video and DVD, or audio.
In the case of digital media, the long-term preservation status of such materials is constantly evolving. The Archive Service requires any digital records to be placed in its care in appropriate software programmes. This is to enable the migration of these records to new formats in the future so that the readability and long-term preservation of the information contained in digital records can be preserved. Advice and protocols will be provided to owners on acceptable formats.
Archive film forming part of a donation or deposit will be transferred or referred to a specialist film repository or returned to the donor/depositor.
Archive photographs, including photographic prints and glass or film negatives, will be acquired only if they form an integral part of an archive collection. The acquisition of whole or specialist collections of archive photographs will normally be referred to the County Museum Service or The Potteries Museum, as appropriate.
Printed materials, including books, newspapers, pamphlets, journals and magazines will not normally be acquired by the Staffordshire Record Office or the Lichfield Record Office unless they are integral to an archive or are the only documentation for a particular community or organisation within the County or City.
The Joint Archive Service will only seek to acquire copies of documents held in other repositories if they relate closely to the existing holdings or to the Collecting Policy of the Archive Service and otherwise not publicly accessible.
Museum objects and artefacts will not be accepted by the Archive Service and will be re-directed to the County Museum Service, The Potteries Museum or other museum, as appropriate. Where archive collections include objects, which are re-directed to museums, appropriate cross-referencing will be made between the relevant archive and the museum artefact(s) to which it relates.
This Collecting Policy will be reviewed within five years of the latest date of revision.
Revision approved November 2013.
Appendix 1 : Collecting Strategy
Areas to be prioritised in order to make our collections more fully representative of the full range of life and activity in the County and the City:
- faiths other than the Anglican and mainstream non- conformist churches
- archives reflecting cultural and ethnic diversity pressure groups and local issue action groups such as HS2, Stafford Hospital
- sport and some other leisure organisations at local and county level, creative industries, theatres, orchestras and choirs
- businesses and industries typical of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent especially ones threatened with closure or merger; small and medium sized enterprises
- professional firms and practices, such as architects, surveyors, estate agents, insurance companies
- voluntary organisations
- local political parties and local branches of trade unions
- local records arising from arms-length organisations such as Entrust, academy and free schools
- local records arising from partnerships and new forms of governance
The Joint Archive Service sets an annual target for the combined total of approaches made either to or by the Service in relation to the acquisition of collections. This is one of the Service’s local performance indicators and is a measure of the Service’s activity and success in relation to acquisition.
Priorities for 2013-2018
The key priority for the next period of this strategy is to develop community advocates to support increased collecting on the following areas:
Local libraries, local history groups, Volunteers, Friends organisations
Trainingfor library staff, Archives & Heritage newsletter, History Day, Facebook, volunteer events and celebrations
SCC Arts team
Sportshire coordinator and other link organisations
Update and meetings with coordinator
Changing health organisations such as PCTs, CCGs, hospital trusts
Key staff in organisations
Work with National Archives and Chief Archivists in Local Government Group.
This Collecting Strategy will be reviewed within five years of the latest date of revision.
Reviewed November 2013, factual corrections only July 2019.