Case Study: The National Archives – Records Retention Management Framework

Background

As part of their work to provide leadership and support within the charity archives sector, The National Archives (TNA) identified a greater need for guidance on retention, disposal and transfer for the charities and voluntary organisations sector. To rectify this, Metataxis was commissioned to develop guidance and tools to help charities and voluntary organisations better manage their records’ lifecycles.

Requirements

The resources we developed needed to be created in close consultation with stakeholders within the sector. The guidance also had to be in harmony with TNA’s broader programme of leadership and support for archives.

Based on their knowledge of the needs of the sector TNA asked us to develop:

  • Model Retention Schedule and Business Classification rules
  • Archival appraisal criteria for records of long-term value
  • Guidance and practical advice on how to manage the transfer of records to third party archives
  • Case studies demonstrating practical approaches to retention and transfer management

Approach

We took the following approach to develop a Management Framework for retention and transfer for the charity archive sector.

  • Research
    We researched legislative, regulatory and professional requirements for the sector. We identified and mapped existing guidance, and highlighted gaps to be addressed.

  • Functional analysis
    We carried out a sector-wide functional analysis, identifying functions, activities and transactions common to charity and voluntary organisations.

  • Raising awareness
    We worked closely with TNA to identify networks such as Charity Archivists and Records Managers interest group (CHARM) and The British Academy (Archiving the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Great Britain) to increase awareness of our project. We made use of social media, conferences, meetings, and mailing lists to ensure we got as broad a representation from the stakeholder community as possible.

  • Stakeholder engagement
    We conducted an online survey to identify stakeholder needs and provide quantitative data on the state of recordkeeping. We held workshops with stakeholders to focus more deeply on issues highlighted in our survey and gain to early feedback on general structure and content of framework.

  • Case studies
    We developed case studies to highlight successful approaches some organisations have taken to common issues.

  • Reporting We provided statistical and written reporting on the state of recordkeeping within the sector, identifying growing trends, causes of concern and areas for future development.

Results

Metataxis created a Management Framework which included a Retention Schedule, Appraisal Criteria and Guidance, and a Transfer Strategy. The Framework is modular and scalable allowing archivists and records managers could scale and adapt to the needs of their organisations. By taking a consultative approach we provided an approach to management of retention and transfer that reflected the requirements needs and concerns for the charity and voluntary sector.

 

“I think the content is great, it will be so informative for charity archives.”



TNA were pleased to add the Management Framework to their suite of guidance and support for the sector.

“We found Metataxis to be very receptive to what we wanted to achieve, easy to work with and very focused on delivering a quality end product.”



The Framework as a resource is available on TNA’s website here  and is open for anyone to use.

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