Finally got round to reading Lord Dacre’s recently released Review of the 30 Year Rule, the legal arrangements under which central government records are transferred and made available to the public in the UK. This affects West Yorkshire Archive Service (and most other local authority record offices in the England and Wales) as an officially recognised Place of Deposit (or POD) for central government records created locally – from organisations like the National Health Service, the courts service and so forth.
Like Steve Bailey on records management futurewatch, I’m a bit surprised by the quiet reception the recommendations seem to have had in professional archival circles, but perhaps everybody’s just slow at getting round to reading the thing, like me! Certainly the report’s recommendations, if implemented, will have some very serious implications for PODs in terms of paper-based records, processing capacity and storage space, but that’s a debate for another forum perhaps.
But in terms of local digital records, I was delighted to see the final recommendation (8.25) that:
the appropriate central government authority does more to monitor and prompt continuing work on the preservation of electronic records that are generated by local government.
…and this in a report reviewing a piece of legislation (the Public Records Act, 1958) which strictly doesn’t even apply to local government! Its great too to see suggestions at last that local government records should be subject to the same system of access as central government ones (7.25). Furthermore, the report’s authors believe that digital recordkeeping in local government
deserves the highest possible priority, including regular consideration by senior decision-makers alongside normal business and financial planning.
In terms of digital preservation at a local level then, bring it on!!