Much of the work that Northumberland Archives undertakes has a statutory basis. The following pieces of legislation direct our work:
• The Public Records Acts of 1958 & 1967 empowered the Lord Chancellor to appoint local record offices as ‘places of deposit’ and Northumberland Record Office was first designated thus in 1960.
• The Local Government (Records) Act of 1962 empowered local authorities to acquire records relating to the area they served by gift, purchase or deposit and to make arrangements for public access to these records.
• The Local Government Act of 1972 required Local Authorities to make ‘proper arrangements’ for any documents that belong to them or are in their care. These ‘proper arrangements’ were defined in joint guidance issued by DETR & LGA in 1999. This confirmed that requirements to make ‘proper arrangements’ covered all records, not just those of the authority. The guidance also referred to the need to provide a suitable physical environment for the records (to BS5454 standard), the need to work with schools and other educational establishments to realise the educational potential of archives and the need to provide adequate staffing.
• The Parochial Registers and Records Measure of 1978 formalised arrangements to retain the older records of the Church of England. Our service was appointed Diocesan Record Office for the Diocese of Newcastle in 1966.
• Northumberland County Council has adopted as policy the British Standard 5454 Recommendations For The Storage and Exhibition of Archival Documents (2000 revision). It has also adopted A Standard for Record Repositories issued by The Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1991 and updated in1997.
• The Data Protection Act (1998), Environmental Information Regulations (2004) and Freedom of Information Act (2000) all impact upon the way that we deliver our service, particularly in relation to access to records.
• The recent (2009) government policy Archives For The 21st Century sets out a vision for archives. Stakeholders are currently working together to develop an action plan that will allow the recommendations set out in the policy to be implemented.
Full copies of legislation and policy governing Archive Services can be downloaded from the following link to The National Archives website: