Staff with reader facing duties

FOI request reference: F0050965
Publication date: December 2017


How many of the total National Archives staff are reader facing in their duties, omitting security staff?  A reply would be appreciated.




From our total staff (currently 559), 101 have reader facing duties in the reading rooms, as a part of their role.  These duties can sometimes form a small percentage of their day to day working hours, as they are required to undertake other tasks behind the scenes such as; document production and returns, document scanning, cataloguing, research, events or in our remote enquiries or contact centre.

Staffing numbers in our reading rooms varies depending on demand. Our busiest time is generally 1100-1500, with quieter periods apparent outside of this timeframe.  With this in mind, I will break down the total figure to provide more relevant context of our reader facing staff duty.

We can have a minimum of 1 member of staff,  increasing to 3 at each of the following counters; record copying , document counters 1st and 2nd floor, Start Here and Reader registration.  For our Research Enquiries Desk, and Map and Large Document reading room we can have a minimum of 1 member of staff on each counter, rising to 2 or 3 at the Research Enquiries Desk in busier periods.  Other factors affect these numbers, for example when new staff are trained they often shadow experienced staff members.

Beyond our day to day support of readers we regularly host talks or seminars on site; our Education team also hosts school groups.