The New Burdens project

  • 22nd May 2024

We are embarking on an exciting 2 year project to catalogue a range of public records as a result of New Burdens Funding. The Public Records Act requires certain public bodies to transfer records of historical value for permanent preservation to their archive services appointed as ‘places of deposit’. The point of transfer was by the time records reached 30 years old. Following a change in legislation since 1 January 2015 specified local public sector organisations (magistrates’ courts, prisons, coroners’ courts, NHS bodies and some arms-length bodies including the Environment Agency) must now transfer records selected for permanent preservation to a place of deposit at 20 years after their creation, rather than 30 years. There is a 10-year transition period so, for 2016, selected records up to and including 1988 (records 28 years old or older) must be transferred. This will reduce by a further year during each year of the transition period until 2024.

Shelves of archive boxes

Powick patient files awaiting cataloguing in one of the strongrooms © WAAS

The New Burdens funding made available from central government compensates local authorities for the increased activities that places of deposit may experience due to the change in legislation during the transition period. The money is designed to cover additional costs of processing higher volumes of public records. Worcestershire Archives has received a proportion of funding to allow them to undertake the cataloguing of NHS, Coroners, Magistrates and some smaller sets of other public records, such as railway plans. Therefore, the New Burdens funding will improve accessibility of these public records whilst also balanced against access and privacy legislation.

Two boxes of Powick files

Boxes of Powick patient files awaiting cataloguing c.1940’s © WAAS

Adrian Gregson, County Archivist said ‘The New Burdens funding from The National Archives recognised the impact that the reduction of the traditional 30-year closure period on archives would have on some local authority Record Offices. It was a welcome boost to assist in making available Public Records in local Places of Deposit. A Place of Deposit Record Office is one Accredited by TNA to hold Public Records and Worcestershire Archives has held that status since its inception in 1947.’

He added: ‘By reducing the closure period from 30 to 20 years TNA not only immediately increased the amount of material caught by the rule, it also raised public awareness so that people are more interested in having access to it. This means that through their funding we can target our cataloguing to make the collections available to be researched, enhance our digital catalogue, and manage our collections development plans more effectively.’

Evesham Railway agreement plan

Evesham and Redditch Railway – Agreement as for Alcester Station and Junction, 1st December 1876 Ref 009.21 13672 E16 © WAAS

Close up of Evesham Railway agreement

Close up of agreement for Alcester Station and Junction, 1st December 1876 Ref 009.21 13672 E16 © WAAS

Close up of Evesham railway plan

Close up of plan for Alcester Station and Junction, 1st December 1876 Ref 009.21 13672 E16 © WAAS

Spread of WBLRailway documents

Agreements, indentures and plans for various parts of the line for the Worcester, Bromyard and Leominster Railway (1864-1878) Ref 009.21 13672 W30 © WAAS

One response to “The New Burdens project”

  1. William Ernest Roberts says:

    Rather a lot to digest but I am interested in what seems a important matter to follow and preserve our past

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