Why Archives and Records Matter – A Manifesto for Local Government

Why Archives and Records Matter – A Manifesto for Local Government

23 February 2022

Today sees the launch of WHY ARCHIVES AND RECORDS MATTER – A MANIFESTO FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT, which we are publishing in advance of the Scottish local government elections in May.

Why Archives and Records Matter emphasises that archives and records management services underpin and support every aspect of local and national government. Without them, local authorities and other public sector bodies would not be able to function effectively.  Archives and records also provide us with the evidence to challenge decisions and hold authorities to account. The ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry would not be possible without access to the archival material maintained by public sector archives.

The manifesto sets out how archives and records contribute to vibrant communities, by telling the stories of places and the people who have lived there; health and wellbeing, through use of archival material to help with a variety of conditions, including dementia; economic recovery, by supporting the £100m ancestral tourism market; and a fairer society, by providing evidence to ensure accountability and transparency.

Why Archives and Records Matters sets out six key asks:

  1. Invest in archives and records management services in public bodies
  2. Promote archives and ancestral tourism as economic regenerator
  3. Recognise the value of archives and records in informing statutory investigations such as the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
  4. Support use of archives and records to improve health and wellbeing in areas such as social isolation, dementia and mental health
  5. Empower communities to learn about their local heritage through archives
  6. Ensure diverse and marginalised communities are properly represented in Scotland’s archive collections.

John Pelan, SCA Director, said, “As Scotland recovers from the pandemic, it is essential that we invest in local and national archives and record management services. It is vitally important that we have the evidence to inform decision-making and transparency as well the capacity to share and access our country’s unique historical record which makes an enormous contribution to the nation’s wellbeing and confidence.”

Bruce Jackson, SCA Chair, said: “”In the Digital Society, we can’t rely on the semi-random survival of physical records as has occurred in the past. Unless plans are made and followed by key archive creators like local authorities, there will be a black gaping hole in information which will be unfillable.”

Download Why Archives and Records Matter – A Manifesto for Local Government

English version

Gaelic version

For more information contact:

John Pelan, Director