The Archive-Skills Consultancy ltd Partnership Profile

The Archive-Skills Consultancy ltd is a partnership enterprise run by Margaret Crockett and Janet Foster. The Consultancy has two main aims:

  • To undertake single domain and cross-sectoral consultancy projects;
  • To deliver a programme of effective and relevant training in archives and records management at a price that anyone or any organisation can afford.

Margaret and Janet have been collaborating on archives and records management projects since the early 1990’s when they were both members of the committee of the Specialist Repositories Group of the Society of Archivists. Together they designed and organised the Basic Archive Skills Training Days as well as initiating Group conferences. Since 2000, the Archive-Skills Consultancy has undertaken an increasing number of consultancy projects. These projects provide real-life examples on which we base our practical training courses whilst research and literature review for the training course preparation feeds back into the experience and knowledge we can draw on for clients’ projects.

Technical support is provided by Iain Brown, an expert on electronic communication and publishing. TASC has access to his expertise to design databases to support client work, interactive web tools to enable on-line registration and website design and maintenance.

Consultancy Services

Working in partnership to offer a more effective approach to archives and records management, our methodology and decisions are more robust than those of a single consultant, while the amount of time required is often less than for one person working alone. We offer a wide range of archives and records management services to clients from all sectors both within the UK and overseas, such as:

  • surveying and mapping collections
  • archival arrangement and description
  • assessment of archival value
  • options and recommendations for suitable archive deposit arrangements
  • specifications for new archive and/or records management facilities
  • development of web-based finding aids and integration with/utilisation of existing related archival resources
  • development of appropriate collecting policies
  • archival preservation
  • digital archives and records management preservation strategies
  • inventory of non-current records
  • audit of non-current records for destruction as appropriate
  • information and record audits across all media including digital
  • advice on setting up records management programmes
  • recommendations on management of computer records
  • guidelines in line with legal requirements
  • drafting policy and procedures
  • file classification design
  • staff training
  • selection of records management staff
  • archives and records management programme implementation strategies

Project deliverables usually include written reports with appendices containing documentation, statistics and implementation plans as appropriate. Depending on the brief, data is also provided in database format with customised reports to suit the client’s requirements.

We pride ourselves on being able to design and deliver fit-for-purpose, cost-effective and sustainable solutions to archives and records management needs. Current and completed projects include:

  • North East of England Mining Archive & Research Centre (NEEMARC): establishment of the Centre following a previous survey of mining archives and and feasibility report
  • Natural History Museum: implementation of a records management programme based on a previous records and information survey project: to include specification of a digital repository for electronic records
  • Thackray Museum: feasibility study for the development of the archive collections in a local, regional and national context
  • Channel Four Television Corporation: audit of the Archives & Records management operation
  • Highland Council: The Gathering Project, assessing premises and collections for the establishment of a West Highland Area Archive in Fort William
  • Natural History Museum: records and information audit with classification scheme and retention schedule development
  • Archives description project following on from survey and report on archives of Acland Burghley School, London
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC): records and information audit with retention schedule development for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Swindon Head Office
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC): records and information audit with retention schedule development
  • ARK: developing project requirements for widening access to shipbuilding record collections in the Tyne and Wear Archives Service to support an HLF funding bid
  • Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC): records and information audit with retention schedule development
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC): revision of the organisational fileplan and advising on development of retention schedules for the Electronic Records Management System (ERMS)
  • General Dental Council: records audit, retention schedule development and establishment of records management programme (2004/5)
  • West Somerset District Council: information and records audit leading to retention schedule database (2004/5)
  • Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council: assisting with the implementation of an Electronic Records Management System (ERMS) including a review of the organisational fileplan and provision of records management training (2004/5)
  • National Gallery: assistance with recruitment of records manager and delivery of Freedom of Information awareness training for staff (2004)
  • Project survey and assessment of three collections documenting mining in North East England in preparation for a full bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (2004)
  • Records management project and archive review for the Vintners’ Company (2004)
  • Greater London History Sources on-line feasibility study for the Greater London Archives Network and the London Archives Regional Council (2004)
  • Information and records audit for North Somerset Council (2004)
  • Development of the publication scheme and records management guidelines for the Heritage Lottery Fund (September 2003)
  • Survey and assessment of a major aerial photography collection for English Heritage in preparation for a Heritage Lottery Fund bid (July – September 2003)
  • Records management audit for an international pharmaceutical company (July 2003)
  • National Gallery: records survey of 16 departments to provide detailed retention schedules, reports on record keeping practices, information on electronic records management practices and a final report with observations and recommendations (October 2002 – June 2003)
  • Development of integrated classification scheme for facilities department of a large oil company (October 2002 – March 2003)
  • North East Museums, Libraries & Archives Council: surveying and reporting on archive collections in museums, libraries and specialist repositories in the NE Region; with recommendations for future strategies for the collections (August 2002 – March 2003)
  • The Pilgrim Trust: listing and appraisal project to prepare for the deposit of the charity’s archives in an appropriate archive repository (2002)
  • The Department for Culture Media and Sport, Finance and Policy Division: analysis of and recommendations on filing systems to enable combining three decentralised systems into one streamlined system that maps to electronic records management needs (February 2002)
  • The Freemasons: archive description project (2002)
  • Acland Burghley School: short archives audit (2002)
  • Arthritis Care: record inventory and recommendations (2002)
  • North East London Probation Service: anniversary publication project (2001)
  • Camden Local Studies and Archives: automation scoping study (2000)

Training Courses

The Basic Archive Skills Training Day series began again in 1999 when Janet and Margaret set up as an independent consultancy and expanded from the introductory course to include more in-depth treatment of the key issues surrounding the management of archives and records. Courses offered include:

  • Basic Archive Skills Training Day
  • Records Management the Building Blocks
  • Archival Arrangement and Description Explained

The courses are continuously reviewed and revised in response to participant feedback and our own monitoring of developments in the field of archives and records management. All courses are supported by detailed handbooks or resource packs.

In addition, our website, www.archive-skills.com, provides some of our training materials for downloading as well as a comprehensive links page leading to a wide variety of relevant information resources.

We also provide customised training courses which in the past have included a Summer School on managing electronic records for SLAIS at University College London and a two-day Archive Assistants’ training course for the Society of Archivists. Other training projects include: a Time Management training day for Warwickshire Archives; a Paleographic Skills Workshop for staff of the National Library of Scotland; Electronic Records training for the National Archives (UK); an Archive Awareness course for staff of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council; basic archive skills training for Borders local studies staff; Birmingham City Council archive and local studies staff; Islamic Relief; NEMLAC (North East Museums Libraries and Archives Council); a series of courses for the National Archives of Estonia in Tartu; a Training the Trainer course for the National Archives of Latvia in Riga; preservation management training for the National Archives of Mongolia; information management training for the Northern Ireland Office; and two day courses in Malta.

We maintain a commitment to the wider international archival community through contact with the International Council on Archives Section for Archival Education and Training. Whilst members of the Steering Committee (1996–2004) we organised a successful conference for archival educators and trainers in Marburg, Germany in 2001 and produced an extensive training the trainer resource pack for publication on the Section’s website.

the tasc armadillo
the archive-skills consultancy ltd · may cottage · 1 fountayne road · london n16 7eb · uk
t: (020) 8806 8631 · e: ·