Our electronic file structure
The National Archives' electronic file structure is based on the different functions, or activities, carried out by the staff. Files are grouped together according to these functions. We started using this system for our electronic files in 2004.
Electronic Record Management Systems
Briefing notes on how The National Archives put in place an electronic records management system (ERMS)
- Download the briefing notes (PDF, 37.41kb)
This is the list of top-level folders in the file structure, with a description of the sort of activities included in each one.
Providing public access to archival records.
Full description: The function of providing access to government records within the scope of the Public Records Acts of 1958 and 1967 and to information, recorded on the National Register of Archives (NRA), about private and institutional archives relating to British history wherever they are held, as well as the recording of the location of manorial records via the Manorial Documents Register (MDR) within the scope of the Manorial Documents Rules
For public records this includes providing public access to the archival resources of The National Archives, including loan of records, usage of reading rooms, reference services and gathering of data relating to that usage. It also covers closure policy which affects access.
Includes identifying, classifying, indexing, describing and registering Government archival records deposited with The National Archives. This includes creation and maintenance of finding aids, whether or not used directly by the public, and the management of lost, missing or unsorted records. Also includes consulting readers about the access services provided.
For non-public records this includes the identifying, recording, indexing, and describing of non-public records held by custodians and private owners, and of manorial documents, and making that information publicly available where applicable via the National Register of Archives, the Manorial Documents Register, the NA:HMC website, 'Accessions to Repositories', publications, information leaflets and the public searchroom and enquiry service. It also includes involvement in National Register of Archives and Manorial Documents Register research projects e.g. further computerisation of the Manorial Documents Register, and the monitoring of the movement of private records via the sales catalogue monitoring service.
Use Information management for the intellectual control of The National Archive's internal business records.
Use information management - Enquiries for access to Government information under the Freedom of Information Act.
Full description: The function of developing policies, procedures, standards and guidelines for the custody and storage of archival Government records, at The National Archives and other Places of Deposit (PoD) as well as the development of standards and guidelines for the custody and storage of non-public records wherever they are held.
For public records this involves determining the appropriate custody for the records and where they should be stored, issuing storage standards, monitoring storage providers and storage conditions and authorising custodial arrangements in accordance with the provisions of the Public Records Acts of 1958 and 1967. It includes space management, box management, internal movements of public records within The National Archives and transfers and custody arrangements for such records accessioned between The National Archives and PoDs that includes the further monitoring of both access and storage facilities of these bodies.
For non-public records, it involves determining the appropriate custody for records and where they should be stored, issuing storage and access standards, inspection visits to repositories holding non-public records to implement the HMC Standard, advisory liaison with custodians and owners of non-public records and producing relevant advisory memoranda, leaflets and other sources of information to support this function.
Use selection and disposal for initial transfers of records into The National Archives from government departments.
Formal relations between The National Archives and employees representatives.
Full description: The function of establishing formal relations with The National Archives employees and their representatives. Includes negotiations conducted to obtain agreements or awards, industrial disputes settled within The National Archives or by an external arbitrator and reports of the state of industrial relations within The National Archives. Also includes internal organisation activities of the representatives.
Accounting, budgeting and assets
Full description: The function of managing The National Archives's financial resources. Includes establishing, operating, and maintaining accounting systems, controls and procedures, financial planning, framing budgets and budget submissions, obtaining grants, managing funds in the form of allocations from Government and revenue from charging, trading and investments. Also includes the monitoring and analysis of assets to assist the delivery of services to government and the community.
Acquiring and maintaining equipment and stores
Full description: The function of acquiring, supplying, maintaining and disposing of goods, equipment and stores stocked and used by The National Archives. Items of equipment include instruments, implements, tools, machines, plant, furniture and fittings. Stores include chemicals, hardware, kitchen/cleaning items, medical supplies and stationery.
Use information and communication technology for hardware and software related to communications and computers. Activities relating to the provision of services should be placed under the functions to which they relate.
Government records management
Full description:The function of providing records management advice, training and guidance to other government departments, both for current and archival records regardless of the format of the records. The activities include developing, promoting and promulgating record keeping standards, procedures, and codes of best practice in government and advising generally on electronic records management and information policy and the overall records management infrastructure in Government. Also includes providing specific advice on such matters as records creation, capture, appraisal and transfer and assisting with the development and implementation of disposal authorities.
Use selection and disposal for policy matters regarding selection and disposal.
Formal dealings with rest of government
Full description: The function of administering the formal relationship between The National Archives and those processes of government not covered by general administrative or The National Archives core functions. Covers The National Archives's relationship with Ministers and Members of Parliament and the political processes of Government, including responding to Parliamentary questions. Includes liaison with bodies carrying out investigations and participating in formal inquiries and investigations such as Royal Commissions, and inquiries by Parliamentary Committees, and relationships with local, European and other governments. Includes general legislation that The National Archives adheres to
Use information policy and legislation for legislation that provides the basis for The National Archives. Regular ongoing contact between government departments should be classified under other functions, for example: Use selection and disposal for advice to departments on disposal of records.
Computers, software, telephones, and support
Full description: The function of developing or acquiring, testing, implementing and maintaining applications, systems and databases to support the general business needs of the organisation. Includes the evaluation of software and hardware and the acquisition, tendering, leasing, licensing and disposal of systems. Also includes communication network systems such as video conferencing, voice mail and electronic mail and the technical aspects of the Internet, Intranet and Web Sites.
Use the appropriate other business functions (and not Information and communication technology) for information relating to projects for developing business systems in support of the function.
Once these systems are implemented and the project has ceased, the ongoing technical support and maintenance activities for the systems should be placed under information and communication technology, as should activities relating to the provision of information technology infrastructure (e.g. improved networks) and system and software upgrades.
Managing The National Archives's own current records and the library; Freedom of Information and Data Protection Act
Full description: The function of managing The National Archives's own non-archival information resources. Includes creating, capturing, registering, classifying, indexing, storing, retrieving and disposing of records and developing strategies to manage records. Also includes the acquisition, control and disposal of library and other information products, items kept for reference purposes and the provision of services to internal and external customers, based on these information resources. Data administration, archival records, the handling of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and the requirements of the Data Protection Act are also covered by this function. It excludes the management of The National Archives archival records as deposited by Government Departments, for which other functions should be used.
Raising the awareness and use of The National Archives services
Full description: The function of raising the awareness and use of The National Archives services, its work and holdings to new and existing customers through mass communication channels such as the media, on-line marketing and the publication of the Keeper's Report. It also includes market research and customer segmentation activities and raising and maintaining The National Archives's broad public profile. Use outreach for educational events and exhibitions.
Developing and reviewing information policy and legislation
Full description: Developing and reviewing information policy and legislation. The function of developing and reviewing information policy and legislation, both national and international. It includes formulation and consultation for this. Examples are Data Protection Act (DPA), Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, Public Records Act, Open Government Code and Data Sharing. Use information management for the operational aspects of FOI and DPA.
Raising awareness of the nation's archival inheritance and promoting The National Archives's archival holdings as a community resource
Full description:The function of establishing rapport with the local community and existing and potential user groups, raising the awareness of the community with regards to their archival heritage and promoting The National Archives's archival holdings as a community resource through various means including events, exhibitions, visits initiated by The National Archives, educational programmes, awareness-raising seminars and conferences. It includes celebrations, ceremonies, speeches, official representation at functions and participation in community activities. It also includes the management of customer services, handling reactions to those services, customer consultation and feedback.
Use Access management for managing access to archival records, including consulting readers about access services provided.
Use strategic management for handling complaints
Health and safety at The National Archives
Full description: The function of implementing and coordinating occupational health and safety and associated legislation throughout The National Archives as they affect the staff or visitors (e.g. members of the public). Includes safety, occupational hygiene, occupational medicine and first aid measures together with policy, procedural and monitoring matters associated with The National Archives's preventive and curative OH&S program. Includes the establishment of committees to investigate and advise on health and safety issues in the workplace.
Employee management including performance management
Full description:The function of managing all employees employed in The National Archives. Includes salaries, recruitment, performance management, conduct and efficiency, overtime, sickness monitoring, pensions and working hours for individuals.
Preserving archival records
Full description: The function of devising and promulgating pro-active and preventative strategies for the preservation of both government and non-public archival records. This involves managing and maintaining the physical integrity and usability of the records in The National Archives and providing advice on preservation matters relating to all records, traditional, audio-visual and digital, internally and externally to other custodians and private owners of non-public records. It includes developing internal and external preservation strategies, researching physical and chemical properties of materials, applying conservation techniques, preservation of electronic records including for example arranging for migration of records to new formats, and monitoring the use of conservation standards within The National Archives and in government departments. It includes advising custodians and private owners of non-public records on preservation matters relating to records in all types of format.
Maintaining The National Archives buildings including security
Full description:The function of managing land and space within premises (including environmental conditions), and of acquiring, constructing, fitting-out, managing, maintaining, protecting and disposing of premises. Includes buildings and land allotments either owned, rented, or leased by The National Archives. Also includes the removal of pollutants and waste and physical security.
Function of participating in activities with other organisations to foster the development of archival standards and promote the archival profession
Full description: This includes membership of relevant national, regional and professional associations (e.g. UK Inter-Departmental Archives Committee - IDAC, ICA Committee on Descriptive Standards, HE Hub, AIM 25, Scottish Archival Network, Archive Network for Wales, Caribbean studies and black and asian history (CASBAH), Public Services Quality Group (PSQG), AHRB, Society of Archivists, National Council on Archives, Archive Council Wales, regional archive councils, development of UK National Name Authority File for Archives), involvement with joint committees, strategic advice to custodians and private owners of non-public records, advice to grant-awarding bodies (e.g. HLF, NMCT, Purchase Grant Fund, Resource, BL), providing the secretariat for committees, providing assistance with professional conferences, seminars and workshops, attending conferences, and visits to or from relevant national, regional and professional organisations.
Use other functions for non-professional matters, for example: Use marketing and corporate communication for media liaison regarding The National Archives archives.
Staff training and development
Full description:The function of encouraging staff organisation-wide to develop their skills and abilities (through activities, programs and events) to maximise their potential and increase their productivity. Includes identifying and implementing all aspects of training needs and programs (internal and external) available to staff. Training which is project or work-task specific should be placed under other relevant functions.
Use Personnel management- Peformance Management for staff appraisal.
Use strategic management- Peformance Management - Investors in people for longer term plans for developing the work force as a whole.
Selection and disposal of archival records
Full description:The function of evaluating records with the primary aim of identifying records that should form part of the archival resources, and accessioning them into The National Archives. This includes authorising the disposal of government records and the vetting of applications for variations in accordance with the provisions of the Public Records Acts of 1958 and 1967. It also includes the development of policy and procedures regarding selection and transfers, and the administration of the physical transfer of accessioned records into The National Archives from Government Departments.
Use government records management for providing advice on such matters.
Full description: function of exploiting The National Archives's assets for its commercial potential or the undertaking of a commercial venture for income generation e.g. licensing arrangements and sales through retail shops and the Internet. The function covers the commercial exploitation of physical assets, including equipment, land, premises and non-physical assets such as intellectual property, data and skills.
Use outreach where the primary objective is to educate or to promote access to The National Archives's holdings as a national and learning resource.
Use Access management for access to government archival records.
Executive management of The National Archives
Full description:The function of applying broad systematic management planning for The National Archives. Includes the activities involved with the development, monitoring and reviewing of business plans, strategic plans, corporate plans, and other long-term organisational strategies. Also includes the development of the corporate mission, objectives, continuous improvement processes (e.g. Better Quality Service - BQS, Charter Mark), quality assurance and certification.
Use information policy and legislation for consultation, formulation, amendment and implementation of legislation that provides the legislative basis for The National Archives.
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