New leadership role for The National Archives
From today, the responsibility for archives across England transfers to The National Archives from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
This is a new beginning for both The National Archives and the archive sector where, working together, we will champion archives by demonstrating the value they offer society, representing the sector's views at government level and influencing policy formulation.
Our leadership responsibilities will be phased over the next six months, to allow us to engage with other archives on how we intend to fulfil our new remit.
Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, The Rt Hon Ed Vaizey, commented on the transfer: 'The National Archives plays a vitally important role by providing a gateway to our nation's rich and fascinating history. It is therefore ideally placed to take on this new leadership role, ensuring that more people are inspired and enthused by our diverse cultural heritage. Working with the Arts Council and other partners, The National Archives can now focus on strengthening the archives sector and helping it to meet the changing needs of the communities it serves.'
Leading the nation's archives
Supporting the approach, a new web page launches today, at nationalarchives.gov.uk/archive-leadership. This has dedicated information and guidance for the archives sector and will evolve to meet the needs of the sector and reflect new ways of working.
On implementing the transfer of responsibilities, Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives, explained: 'There's never been a more important time for the sector to work together better. We face significant change in tough economic times and standing still is not an option. We must take the opportunity to rethink how we deliver archive services that still reach the people they serve and how we can demonstrate and celebrate our worth. By working together we can identify and develop new ways of working and share best practice and innovation.
'Throughout the transitional period we will talk with the sector to ensure our actions are informed by understanding. For the public, communities and researchers, our aim is to help archives develop sustainable services that facilitate access to the breadth of our nation's history.'
The transitional period also enables us to refresh the national strategy, Archives for the 21st Century in Action, and move forward key initiatives, such as the development of the new Archives Accreditation Standard.