The National Archives – a new approach to local engagement

As Chair of cCLOA it was a pleasure to meet recently with The National Archives CEO Oliver Morley and members of the management team. There was a strong focus in our conversation around TNA’s welcome approach to local engagement on the development of the sector. The update briefings to the sector, consultation around forthcoming accreditation and the development of the TNA Engagement team all bode well.

This is all timely. The sector will need to reposition itself within the new dynamics of a national and local environment that places economic growth as a priority, and hard decision making on what services are needed, the outcomes expected, and how the services are most efficiently and effectively delivered.

In the brief period that I have held responsibility for the Archives what I have recognised is that the service profile is very much understated, and yet there are such  excellent stories to tell, that celebrate place, bring communities together, that attract visitors and that potentially have commercial attraction. The repositioning for the Archives services therefore has to be led and facilitated locally but with the TNA’s expert and guidance, along with its advocacy role, as an essential ingredient of service sustainability.

TNA’s new dialogue and relationship with cCLOA is a vital part of this equation, not least because part of the journey for archives for the 21st Century is embedded in partnership working, shared service transformation, including digitisation, and closer cultural collaboration. The conversation and engagement, will necessarily be with broader professionals and strategic leaders within local authorities. cCLOA members have a track record across the sector in this journey to share and assist.

So we look forward to developing our partnership with TNA promoting the relevance and benefits of archives and their development needs.

Richard Hunt, Chair, Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association

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