Change Text Size: A A A

Projects Update

The best place to find out about our main activities and projects for this year is in the Business Plan. We also post the most up-to-date information on the website. However, below is a brief summary of what we have been up to over the past few months.

Opening Up Scotland’s Archives (Skills for the Future)

SCA has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) under its Skills for the Future programme for the ‘Opening Up Scotland’s Archives’ project. The project aims to improve skills and service delivery within the Scottish archives sector through the provision of 18 traineeships between 2014 and 2017.

The project is mid-way through its second year and the cohort two trainees continue to progress well. You can follow the progress of the trainees via their blog at:

In addition to their ongoing events and training, SCA held a Scottish ‘basecamp week’ in Edinburgh in early March 2016. Trainees from the Opening Up Scotland’s Archives sister project, delivered by the National Archives in London, were brought together with our own for the three day learning and networking events. Experts representing various aspect of the Scottish sector delivered presentations and workshops.

Recruitment for the final cohort of this current project will begin in April 2016. We will be recruiting for seven trainees and announcements will be posted at:

SCA intends to apply for additional Heritage Lottery Fund support to deliver a similar project of traineeships. As with Opening Up Scotland’s Archives, we hope to continue the successful partnership with the National Archives in London to develop a joined up approach for sister projects.

Education – Strategy

We are currently undertaking a full review of the progress and achievements of the three year National Plan for Learning (, and drawing up a summary of this, along with a new three year plan. Many of the objectives are likely to remain similar with slight revisions in response to changes over the past three years and outcomes of the work to date. It is anticipated that we will seek another ministerial foreword and endorsement for this following the May 2016 election.

In January 2016, we delivered an SCA Education Workshop and Training review survey aimed at those who have attended the majority of Education workshops offered across 2013-15. All respondents had attended at least two or more of the programme of eight workshops offered over 2013-15 and 95% of respondents indicated that they had both improved their skills and confidence in delivering education and outreach as a result of attending the workshops. Over the past year, 35% of respondents reported an increase in their outreach work with schools, 46% an increase in their work with community groups. In total, respondents had engaged with over 1,000 pupils and teachers over the past year. 62.5% of respondents indicated that their education work had improved their profile within their organisation. Some quotes from the survey as follows:

‘I had no prior knowledge or experience in education and outreach work in archives, but the course gave me lots of new ideas, interpretations, and an understanding of how to apply archives to the Curriculum for Excellence. The course allowed me to develop an appropriate workshop for school children in relation to the whaling industry using archives and museum pieces.’

‘I feel that my education and outreach work now has a proper template and focus. This has made it more efficient and saved time in preparing for talks and visits. I know more about the types of sources that are well suited to this type of work.’

‘Our education work has become more varied and creative.’

‘It has opened my mind to other activities, not just tours and document displays and not just focusing on local history but branching out to other activities and collaborative exhibitions.’

Respondents also indicated that all of the online resources ( are valued and well used, with 75% having consulted the SCA guide to the curriculum, the most popular resource. Top choices for future training needs and priorities were techniques for children and adults, how to create community events, working with communities, collaborative facilitated events for sharing best practice and how to develop archives based expressive arts activities.

Education – James Maxton Project

Our Education Development Officer has been working with Education Scotland and Glasgow City Archive on the James Maxton project. Douglas’ role has been to facilitate and document the process of researching and planning the resource, and to create teacher/archivist training materials on using the resource and on creating similar such resources. The project materials will have wider applicability across Scotland and will be shared on SCA website.

The James Maxton lesson plans have now been completed and the resultant lesson plans are currently being reviewed for approval and publication. An application with the Education Scotland Learning Festival has been approved to deliver a seminar on this collaborative project at the annual learning festival in September 2016. This will be an excellent high profile platform for the project, and for archives and education collaborative projects as there are generally about 2000 teachers in attendance.

Education – Community Engagement Workshops

SCA delivered a series of community focused workshops devised as a logical follow on from previously delivered foundational training workshops focussed on the Curriculum for Excellence, enquiry based and active learning techniques:

  • Archives in the Community (22.10.2015): Practical ways to widen community and school use of your archive and build a programme of events.
  • Working Effectively with Community Groups (05.11.2015): Creating interesting and relevant events and activities for specific groups in the community.
  • Reaching out a Bit Further (26.11.2015): Sharing good practice in education and outreach work.

The three courses were all very well subscribed and filled quickly. There were 41 attendees in total across the recent community themed programme of workshops.

Animating the Archives: Expressive Arts Based Learning Project

Our Education Committee has identified a longstanding gap in the provision of expressive arts based learning opportunities in schools, in particular, opportunities for pupils and teachers to use creative and novel approaches to improving literacy, numeracy and technical skills for pupils with a range of abilities and aptitudes. Schools are particularly welcoming of materials that support these skills, which are currently a priority curriculum focus in Scotland.

Projects with a fun and creative focus are also an effective means of attracting the interest and participation of a range of community groups and members. Reflecting on the skills development progress of archivists who have participated in the two year programme of SCA education workshops, as well as the wide ranging benefits of exploiting the creative potential of archive material, we have been developing an idea to link archive material with animation.

The project is in the planning and proposal stage and we are currently gauging sector interest in the idea. Subject to securing external funding, the project would involve working with an award winning and BAFTA nominated animator, two trainee animators and experienced workshop facilitators to deliver a two year ‘Animating the Archives’ programme. The project would set out to develop a programme of activities including a series of tailored training workshops for archivists, teachers and community groups in basic animation techniques using archive material as inspiration. The short animations created by participants in the workshops would be brought together, edited and made available at events and online. The project would also produce two professionally produced animation shorts inspired by archive material with the aim of submission to film festivals and to audiences within Scotland and beyond.

If you are interested in the project please complete our brief survey at: If you would prefer to contact us directly about the project please email Victoria Brown (Programmes and Development Manager):


Following on from the fire themed event in September 2015, the Committee is planning to deliver a related event and is currently exploring a programme that is likely to have a more practical focus on disaster planning and salvage with a mixture of presentations and training.

A Preservation and Conservation Survey was devised and distributed across the sector. There were 22 respondents from a variety of services with a good representative mix of Health Boards, Local Authorities, Universities, NRS and a small number of small specialist archive collections. The survey content and questions were aligned with the Archive Service Accreditation standard to discern not only the priorities of the Preservation Committee’s work upcoming, but to ensure that resources are focused on assisting services with elements of preservation and conservation relevant to preparations for meeting the requirements of the standard. We will be drafting and publishing an executive summary of the findings along with an updated version of the Committee Action Plan.


SCA is continuing our partnership with CREATe at the University of Glasgow to provide further practical guidance and training. Building on the success of two workshops delivered in 2014, we co-ordinated two additional events (13 November 2015 in Edinburgh, and 4 February 2016 in Perth) focussed on the way in which new Orphan Works legislation impacts the work of the archivist. In addition to providing attendees with an introduction to the Orphan Works licensing scheme and exception, the workshops included group exercises based on real archive collections to demonstrate the impact and application of the legislation.

Our Copyright Policy Adviser, Victoria Stobo, continues to monitor and participate in debate concerning changes to copyright law, both in the UK as a member of the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) and also as the SCA representative at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva. You can read all of our WIPO SCCR reports at:

Leadership Development Workshops

This workshop has been specifically designed to enable archive sector leaders in Scotland to improve and sustain organisational and personal resilience through a proactive approach to influencing and advocacy. This will help the people and organisations to thrive, even within the most challenging environment.

The workshop will comprise a collection of practical activities designed to help delegates develop new skills, behaviours and plans relating to effective influencing and advocacy. These exercises will be supported by explanations and group reflection.

This programme has been developed for the Scottish Council on Archives by STAR CIC, a not-for-profit community interest company dedicated to driving resilience and excellence in the cultural heritage sector. Find out more at: The first workshop took place on 10 March 2016 and will be delivered again on 14 April 2016. Both events are fully booked.

SCA Records Retention Schedules (SCARRS)

SCARRS is a tool that maps the typical records generated in support of the business activities of Scottish local authorities. It identifies statutory and regulatory retention periods for those records where these exist and suggests typical retention periods based on common practice and/or business requirements where statutory and regulatory periods do not exist.

We work regularly to ensure that SCARRS provides the most up-to-date information. In addition to monitoring both Scottish and UK-wide legislative developments, we also listen directly to the sector. If you have been using SCARRS and noted any errors, required amendments or additions, we want to hear from you. Please submit your feedback via email to If you are commenting on an existing record series, please provide the reference number from the schedule.

The latest review of SCARRS was undertaken at the end of 2015 and published at in January 2016. The changes were minor and included:

  • Removal of functions now transferred to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (3.005 and 3.006)
  • Closure period for school admission register amended to 100 years (10.002.001)
  • Citation note corrected for payroll records (12.007.001)
  • Retention period increased for records retention schedules and records destruction registers (17.004.005 and 006).

Conference - Changing a Record Landscape: Public Records Scotland Act 2011

Three years into implementation of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 - the PRSA - it came time to assess progress and how National Records of Scotland (NRS) and records management practitioners might better work together to deliver improved records management. This conference, held at Glasgow City Halls on 24 February 2016, brought together records management practitioners and those in a position to comment on what is happening in records management within public authorities. The conference aimed to engage with practitioners, share experiences and best practice, highlight issues and identify how to take things forward.

The event was organised in partnership with the Scottish Council on Archives, National Records of Scotland, Information & Records Management Society and the Archives & Records Association (UK & Ireland). Our speakers were:

  • The event was opened by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs. The conference Chair was Dr Irene O'Brien (Scottish Council on Archives).
  • Tim Ellis (Chief Executive, National Records of Scotland): Keynote Address
  • Rosemary Agnew (Scottish Information Commissioner): Accessing Information and Transparency
  • Iain Gray (Head of Information Management, Police Scotland): An Assurance Model for a Changing Service
  • Zarya Rathe (Records Officer, Midlothian Council): A Records Management Plan – Burden or Benefit?
  • Alison Aiton (Information Manager, Mental Welfare Commission): The Long Walk to Compliance
  • Leslie Stevens (Research Fellow, Administrative Data Research Centre Scotland): Overcoming a Culture of Caution
  • Pete Wadley (PRSA Assessment Team, National Records of Scotland): Public Records (Scotland) Act – The Road Ahead
  • Janine Rennie (Chief Executive, Open Secret, In Care Survivors Service Scotland): Meeting Survivors Expectations?

We are grateful to our speakers for making their presentations available. These can be accessed at:

Fundraising for Archives

Fundraising for Archives is a development programme from The National Archives (TNA) offering training for archivists and archive organisations to help them enhance their skills and capacity and become confident fundraisers. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Catalyst programme. The National Archives received a grant of £477,000 and aims to reach 188 archive organisations across the UK. We are working in partnership with The Scottish Council on Archives, Public Records Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI), Museums Archives and Libraries Division Wales (MALD), and the Archives and Records Association (ARA).

In November 2015 SCA invited Scottish services to join a small cohort of colleagues from the whole sector to receive a tailored programme of training, mentoring and fundraising support. Trainers work with cohorts directly at a series of events covering the following areas:

  • Preparing for Fundraising
  • Measuring Outcomes, Benchmarking and Evaluation
  • Developing a Fundraising Strategy
  • Advocacy and Writing a Case for Support

The Scottish cohort is made up of nine individuals from a range of services and backgrounds. Two events have been delivered to date, with other planned for the coming months.

Patrick Cadell Memorial Bursary

In November 2015 the SCA announced the relaunch of the Patrick Cadell Memorial Bursary ( SCA acknowledges the importance of professional development across a range of areas. We are also aware that budgets for CPD are often limited and even approval for things like travel costs to enable you to attend a free event can be difficult.

Therefore the Cadell Bursary is now accepting applications for all types of CPD costs. This could involve travel costs, workshop or conference fees, or purchasing materials like books and computer software.

There is no minimum amount for applications, and you can submit requests up to £200. Multiple applications will be considered but the maximum cumulative total should not exceed £200. The criteria for applications is as follows: An archivist, records manager or conservator in a Scottish service, unable to get financial support for the CPD activity from their employer; or a volunteer or student, with at least six months experience in a Scottish archive or records management service, who is working towards a career in the archive or records management sector.

Applications for the 2015-16 financial year closed on 21 March 2016. We are pleased to report that four individuals benefited from the bursary; two archive service volunteers, a professional conservator and an archive exhibitions assistant. The Bursary enabled activities including attendance at a conference, a CPD workshop and two Centre for Archive and Information Studies (CAIS) modules.

Applications for the 2016-17 financial year will be announced in April 2016. The total fund is restricted and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Archive Service Accreditation

In partnership with the National Records of Scotland (NRS), SCA acts as the assessor body for Archive Service Accreditation in Scotland.

The number of Scottish services expressing interest in the scheme continues to grow with 10 considering submitting an application before 2018. The Assessment Team in Scotland will be accepting six applications annually. The three-month review periods for each application are aligned with the Accreditation Panel meeting dates and are assigned on a first-come first-served basis. If you are considering an application please email and visit for more details.

In November 2015 the Royal Bank of Scotland Archives was announced as the latest Scotland-based service to be awarded Archive Service Accreditation. RBS is the first accredited business archive in Scotland.

Towards Sharing Collecting Policies

A self-driven group co-ordinated by the Scottish Council on Archives to bring together representatives of institutions and bodies with a shared interest in collecting and making archival material available.

Eight organisational representatives attended an initial meeting on 21 October 2015. An additional meeting took place on 8 December 2015. Participating organisations shared their current collecting policies and a constructive discussion around current issues surrounding collecting and the potential to move towards sharing collecting policies across the sector. The group will focus on the importance of promoting and facilitating communication and discussion, and the sharing of information between collecting bodies and the wider sector.