Archival Services

Justice written statement – made on 24 November 2009.

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Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

On 6 May, I informed the House that the Government had published a consultation document, "Archives for the 21st Century", asking for views on a proposed new policy for archival services. The Government specifically sought views on five main proposals to help the sector build the foundations for a more sustainable future and respond to the challenges of the digital information age.

This consultation closed on 12 August and the Government are grateful for all the responses they received from a wide range of individuals and organisations. Based on the feedback received, which was largely supportive, I have today laid before the House a revised and final version of the policy.

The policy outlines a new framework for the sustainable development and improvement of the publicly funded archive sector, which supports the sector and maximises opportunities to make archives accessible to an even wider range of people.

The National Archives and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council now wish to encourage professional bodies, individual institutions and other key stakeholders to help them shape a detailed action plan. This will take forward the policy's five recommendations with the aim of strengthening this key part of the nation's historical, cultural and information infrastructure. Between today and the end of January 2010 they will be consulting widely on a draft of the plan, and developing it in light of comments received.

A copy of the policy has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, along with a report on the responses received during the consultation.