Depositing records with Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
If you are thinking about depositing records with us then read on to find out about the types of records we collect; see our specific retention schedules to gain a greater understanding of how long certain records should be kept for and find out about the process of depositing records. Our preservation policy tells you more about how we care for our items.
The Archive Service is always happy to discuss and advise on issues relating to the deposit, storage or disposal of your records. If you require further information, please contact us.
What records do we collect?
How do I deposit or donate records to Worcestershire Archive Service?
Private depositors/local organisations
The Archive Service already has a legal responsibility to accept particular classes of document, including public records and parish registers. For other types of record collections, contact us via telephone, email or letter, outlining the records you wish to deposit or donate, and giving us details of exactly what records you are offering. From here, we can make a decision based on their historical value.
If you have a particularly large or delicate collection, then it may be possible for one of our staff to visit you personally and take a look through the records before making a decision. Alternatively, you can make an appointment to visit the Archive Service with a sample of the records. We will then carry out an appraisal of the records and explain the options available to you.
Once a decision has been reached
If it is possible for you to deliver the records to us in person, then we will arrange a mutually convenient date for you to do so. If for any reason you are unable to come to us, then the material can either be delivered to us by post, or a member of Archive staff can come out to collect the material in person.
There is no obligation to produce a box or item list prior to making the deposit, although if you wish to do so, this would be extremely helpful to us when it comes to cataloguing your records.
Reception of your records
When the records arrive here, an initial receipt form is created, and the collection will be allocated its own unique reference – its ‘BA’ or ‘Bulk Accession’ number. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the terms used or do not understand the questions; a member of staff will fill out the form with you to answer your questions and ensure that your wishes are correctly recorded.
Terms of deposit
There are a number of ways in which you can ensure that your records or those of your organisation are preserved for the future; as a gift, a long-term loan, a purchase, or a bequest. If you are in a position to make a gift of your records to us, then this is the preferred and most versatile option.
At present, public access to information held in the Archive Service is granted in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However if you believe that there are any legal exemptions under this Act that should prevent immediate public access to these records, e.g. records which contain personal data about another living person, then you will be asked to specify this when you deposit your records.
Cataloguing of your records
Once your records have been received, they will be assessed and arranged for cataloguing in accordance with our prioritisation scheme. You will receive a copy of the catalogue as soon as it is completed.
Owing to the volume of records we receive each year, it may be some time before you receive a completed catalogue. We have a large backlog of records that are awaiting cataloguing, so realistically speaking it may be a number of years before the collection is fully catalogued. However these records can still be made available to the public in the meantime.
Deposits of Worcestershire County Council records
The Archive Service also provides the corporate memory for records produced by Worcestershire County Council in the process of its everyday work. These records come to the Archive Service via the Corporate Information Management Unit (CIMU). CIMU is responsible for the management of County Council records, open and closed, paper and electronic, regardless of where teams are based. It is not open to the public as it only provides a service to internal County Council staff.
If you are a member of County Council staff and believe that your department has records that are of archival value, then you should contact CIMU in the first instance with details about your records. CIMU staff will then help you assess the records for their merits as historical archives, and decide which records will be transferred to the Archive Service for permanent preservation.
Deposits of School records
If you work at a school and have records that you think might be of archival value, then contact the Archive Service in the first instance, giving us details of the that records you are offering; it might be the case that we already hold records from the school in our collections and these new records can be used to expand our collections.
What to do if a school is closing
If you work for a Local Authority school which is closing, and need to know what to do with your records, then contact CIMU in the first instance for advice, and staff there will be able to advise you what to do. As schools are Data Controllers in their own right, CIMU don't actually accept records from schools that are still open; this only changes when the school is due to close and data controllership falls back to the Local Education Authority (i.e. the County Council).
Review and Appraisal of collections - what should you keep?
If you have custody of records that you are not sure how to look after properly, or you would like advice on what should be retained for preservation and what can be disposed of, please click on the links below for further information.
Ecclesiastical Records (Church of England)
- Parish records - guidance on retention and disposal
- Diocesan Records - guidance on retention and disposal
- Episcopal Records - guidance on retention and disposal
The above guides are supplied courtesy of the Church of England Records Centre.