ARA Calls for Fair Recognition on pay

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today calls onpublic sector employers across a range of public services to ensure fairrecognition, pay and terms and conditions for the skilled services providedby archivists, records managers and conservators.

 ARA Logo 21ARA Calls for Fair Recognition, Pay for Archivists, Records Managers and Conservators

Ongoing Threats to Heritage Services by Huge Property Tax Increases, Professional Staff Terms and Conditions, including at Universities

10 April 2018

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today calls on public sector employers across a range of public services to ensure fair recognition, pay and terms and conditions for the skilled services provided by archivists, records managers and conservators.

The ARA, as the leading professional body for all three specialist groups, has been campaigning for several years against cuts to, and privatisation of, local services, professional staff, terms and conditions and continuing low pay affecting its members. Many ARA members work in the county record offices and universities that preserve local and national treasures; they also support the delivery of value-added benefits such as tourism, economic development, social well-being and quality education. Likewise, records managers in the public sector are key to efficient and effective governance.

ARA members in the public sector have responded to the challenge of delivering better-value for money services, through innovation, collaborative partnerships, commercial agreements and more efficient working. As a professional body, the ARA supports such approaches. However, the Association has heard reports of huge increases in council property taxes in a number of local areas in England and Wales that are, in effect, putting financial viability of a number of local government record offices at risk. This is on top of the austerity-driven onslaught that has driven many local record offices and staff numbers to the brink. Separately, the ongoing industrial dispute in universities about pensions is impacting the terms and conditions of ARA members, many of whom are already low-paid.

John Chambers, the ARA’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Records are the lifeblood of all organistions, good management, public accountability and community identity. You can’t make informed decisions, comply with the law or deliver quality public services without good records management. You can’t hold your government, at any level, to account or promote your local heritage without well-managed archives. Without archivists and conservators, you weaken the foundations of university research and teaching, and community education and identity; and place precious local and national documentary treasures at risk. Cutting these bodies and the professionals that work in them is the ultimate economic and social own-goal.

We’ve seen a surge in cuts to local record offices’ opening hours, attempts to charge local people to see records that the law allows everyone to view by right, and moves to replace skilled staff with volunteers. The ARA and its members embrace change and see it as an opportunity to innovate and deliver better value. But employers in the public sector must also play their part in ensuring adequate resourcing for, and recognition of, the invaluable contribution made by professional recordkeepers to their organisations and local communities.”

Solutions not Just Problems

In 2015, the ARA – in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) – commissioned ground-breaking research into the UK information governance workforce. Containing the highest quality dataset for the sector anywhere in the world, the research revealed systemic low pay and recognition affecting archivists, records managers, conservators and information governance professionals.

In response, the ARA established a Pay Review Group that will publish its findings and recommendations to employers in the coming weeks. And the Association is investing in modernising its suite of professional qualifications and development programmes for members, designed to help both them develop their careers and expertise and employers secure better value from their human resource and training budgets.

John Chambers added:

“Professional bodies like the ARA are not trade unions. Our role is to advance understanding of the sector and help our members find solutions to their educational, workplace and development needs. We rely on our members to alert us when they see problems so that we can tackle them as early as possible. And we will always seek to discuss solutions with employers where there is a desire to listen. But, at the same time, we won’t be shy about speaking out when – as with recent local property tax increases, threats to local services or industrial disputes – we see services, professional standards and basic fairness being undermined.”

Notes for Editors:

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For any questions on this release, contact: Jon Elliott, Public Affairs, ARA on (UK) 07587 635402 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.