- Case studies
- Audience development
- Collections development and care
- Digital preservation
- Online access
- Sustainable services
- Workforce development
- Key sector statistics
- Research reports
- Conference resources
Multi site business archive
What are the key environmental and strategic drivers that affect the staffing requirement for the archive?
Staffing is underpinned by the issues of servicing business-wide requirements across four archive sites in England and Scotland plus a museum function. Despite mergers within the business the geographical split of the archive service was retained to ensure individual businesses had ready access to their own archives, particularly the legal and secretariat functions.
How does the archive gain organisational support for its work?
The archive is under constant pressure to reduce costs and is sometimes challenged on organisational design. Since the financial crisis the threat of cuts has become much more real. The minimum service the archive seeks to provide is to accept, catalogue and make available records to support those core services. However, the archive is always trying to add value to the business core services as well e.g. supporting legal and statutory compliance. In addition, there is important work in the area of outreach to align with the business's aims to build trust amongst customers. The archive understands its important role as a team within 'Corporate Affairs' and the 'Responsible Business Team'. The archive is also involved in work differentiating the business brand from competitors.
The archive repositions itself to align with changing business needs and servicing the legal and secretarial functions. It can demonstrate how cuts would undermine the work of the Responsible Business Team e.g. no public exhibitions, no public access to collections - all a potential reputational risk.
Maintaining the profile of the archive in the business is a major driver in its work. It must constantly demonstrate to stakeholders that it provides services which support many day to day internal business activities as well as the high profile external activities such as exhibitions.
Furthermore, as such a small team, should the archive service be cut, savings would be negligible in the context of the wider business whereas the adverse impact on business functions would be disproportionately high.
How are staffing responsibilities organised?
There is an overall Head of Archives in Scotland. The staffing structure is geographical and heritage based. Each site is an operation in its own right and operates independently although there is joint working for example on general outreach aims such as a 'history wall' for the major group meeting each year where work has to be carefully balanced across all the brands. All policies and strategies are streamlined across the four sites.
The archive has autonomy on how it structures and runs its operations. However, there has been little capacity to increase staffing which means that there is now great pressure on the service to deliver more with the same resources. The archive has responded by prioritising additional outreach activities as cataloguing has a lower profile outside the archive whereas outreach activities generate good publicity within the business.
What additional skills do you bring in or buy in and under what circumstances?
The main requirement is conservation, which is outsourced. The Edinburgh office also uses an external education consultant for its museum. Otherwise the service draws on the skills of its own team. It also has access to skills within the wider business e.g. Group Corporate Affairs can provide advice on copy on news release, brochures, IT for IT support and records management for digital preservation. The 'History Wall' was co-ordinated by Internal Communications who used outside designers. However, the archive is cross-charged for using skills in some of these areas of the business.
Are there any underlying trends or changes in the service's staffing requirements?
The archive moved to Group Corporate Affairs in 2012 and the department is keen to advertise the presence of the archives. This has led to more people approaching the service to help with outreach activities.
How are skills requirements assessed and fulfilled?
Each staff member completes a 'balanced score card' each year. This includes a development plan aligned with personal objectives. Staff can apply for archive specific training. The business is very supportive of training and development such as ARA Registration. It provides online training academies in specific business areas and also generic skills e.g. influencing, negotiating, writing CVs. The business' mentoring programme is not used by the archive as the programme cannot meet the specialist needs of the service.