Cuts, cuts, cuts!!

So I am thinking everyone is bored of talking about George Osbourne’s cure to plug (blah, blah, blah) Britain’s deficit last week? No? Well me neither. What do these cuts mean for this countries archives I wonder? I got my first inkling the other day when I heard the news that three of London’s councils are now going to merge – Brent, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. That is three separate archives but will they have to become one BIG archive? Run by not three separate archivists but by one lucky archivist? How do you go about a project such as this? This story is close to my heart as I volunteered with Brent Archives for a year. Maybe everything will just go on as it is and the changes will all just be higher up the ladder. In any case I would love people’s opinions on public sector archives and how they will be feeling the pinch. Do archives rely on grants too much or should they be paying for themselves? I really do not know what stance to take on the discussion so any opinions (preferably not concerning my spelling and grammar) would be very welcomed. Happy archiving.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brent Archives
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 09:33:45

    Hi Holly

    The proposed merger of services is between three of Brent’s neighbouring boroughs, not Brent itself. Like all local authorities, in the current financial climate Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are being forced to look at alternative management models, and sharing services in this way to bring about economies of scale is one solution.
    The impact of budget cuts on heritage services is already being felt across the country, and is likely to intensify in the coming years – but we must hope that wherever measures must be taken which will affect archives and those who work in them, this will be after due consultation, rather than idle speculation.
    It is certainly clear from the websites of the councils involved in this proposal that they welcome the views of residents:
    http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/councilgovernmentanddemocracy/living-city-conversation/
    http://lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News/Shared_services_to_protect_frontline.asp#4
    http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/newsroom/councilstatements/statementonsharedservices.aspx

    It is

    Reply

  2. NotGrantFunded
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 23:01:12

    “Do archives rely on grants too much…?” In a word, no. Grants pay for projects, not the core work done by archives. Should we pay for ourselves? I’m not sure how – I don’t think much of what we do would earn big money! Should we be trying to be more sustainable by tying what our archive services do into other core functions of our parent body? Yes. By which I mean, links with other departments, records management, demonstrating what we do is worthwhile in all the many ways that we know it is. Grants usually cover the fun projects, the outreach tied to cataloguing, the things that make a bit of a splash. But they don’t pay for what we do every day – that comes from our core funding and means that in a world where cuts are coming (even if we don’t know what they are yet), we need to think about how to fight back.

    Not that I have the answers of course, I’m too busy trying to run a service!

    Reply

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