Archives: Access Policy
Our service aims and objectives
Powys County Archives Office operates in line with the Statement of Policy which was adopted by Powys County Council on 18 June 1991. This statement requires the County Archives to:
- acquire records relating to Powys' cultural and historical past, and keep and preserve them in accordance with the relevant legislation
- provide public access to them
Powys County Archives Office aims to make its holdings available to the widest audience possible while taking account of its stakeholders. Access is made possible through a range of services offered by the Archives including:
- on-site access for individuals and small groups in the public searchroom,
- remote access through correspondence and electronic means with individuals and official agencies, and
- through outreach activities in partnership with others.
This strategy relates in the main, to on-site access.
Legislation, government policies (UK, national and local) and priorities for the service's funding authority have an impact on various points relating to access. The Archives service aims to meet all these in its service.
Access is a fundamental function of the Archives, and is outlined in the principles of the PSQG Standard for Access to Archives 2008. The Archives service undertakes to address issues of equality and social inclusion and physical access to its services. All opportunities will be taken to communicate with users, seek their views and opinions on services through feedback forms and surveys. Where possible the office will respond and make improvements to reflect the interests of its stakeholders. The office manages resources to provide the best services possible while seeking to innovate and consider the effectiveness of its work.
This policy will be implemented within the context of the bilingual nature of the county and in line with Powys County Council's commitment to equality and diversity. It will also be implemented in line with the Council's Sustainable Development Strategy.
What you can expect from us
- The website is compliant with guidance for the visually impaired and the information is updated regularly
- All leaflets, forms and website information are available in English and Welsh
- A response to all enquiries, comments and complaints received in writing or by email will be made within 20 working days
- Trained staff will be available to advise on procedures and resources when users visit the searchroom or contact the office
- All staff are identified by name and position and will treat all users courteously
- Up to date information and advice about facilities, sources and services is available on-site, in information leaflets and on the Powys Archives website
- Enquiries can be made by e-mail, social media, telephone and post as well as by personal visit
- Information about newly acquired collections will be published (in our quarterly newsletter and in our Annual Report) and demand will be a factor in evaluating collections for detailed listing
- Information leaflets will be compiled on popular topics of research
- All finding aids will conform to archival standards and where possible be available in automated and hard copy formats
- Where possible we will make records available online
- Procedures will be kept as simple as possible and explained clearly to all new users
- Secure arrangements are provided for personal belongings
- Power points are provided for the use of laptop computers
- Electrical equipment, such as microfilm/fiche readers are maintained and in good working order
What we expect from you, the user
- Your comments and suggestions on improving the service by filling in a feedback form and participating in our user surveys
- Follow the advice of staff on the careful handling of archival materials to ensure the preservation of these unique resources
- Read and observe the regulations set out in the Searchroom Rules
- Show respect and consideration for other users and the staff
- Because of limited capacity users are advised to book before visiting the Archives
- Original records can be consulted in the supervised searchroom only
- Whilst every effort will be made to accommodate users there may be insufficient space for all first choice bookings
- Powys Archives closes its public service for an annual stocktake during two weeks in February. Access to records is therefore restricted during this time
Other reasons why users may not be able to see collections include:
- Confidentiality and The General Data Protection Regulations
- Permission required by depositor
- Restrictions imposed by donor or depositor
- Physical condition of material
In some cases, specific information from documents closed to full public inspection can be made available. Staff will explain the circumstances and the reasons for the restriction.
The Archives have prepared procedures for complying with the provisions of:
- the General Data Protection Regulations, 2018,
- the Freedom of Information Act, 2000 and
- the Environmental Information Regulations, 2004.
Public Services Quality Group: Standard for Access to Archives 2008
Historical Manuscripts Commission: A Standard for Record Repositories
TNA, Archive Service Accreditation Standard, 2018
The Public Records Office: Beyond the PRO, Public Records in Places of Deposit
Powys County Council: compliance with all strategic plans set out by Powys County Council
For Review 2021