c. Researcher: A researcher is someone using West Glamorgan Archive Service for research, including potential and future researchers.

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1 ACCESS POLICY 1. Context West Glamorgan Archive Service is the joint archive service for the councils of the City and County of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot County Borough, acting through the West Glamorgan Archives Committee. It is based at Swansea Civic Centre and operates an additional service point at the Neath Mechanics Institute. One of the aims of the Archive Service is to provide, with courtesy and efficiency, a professional archive service to the owners and users of archives. It produces a 5-year service improvement plan and an annual work plan, showing its stakeholders how it intends to achieve its objectives. The Archive Service publishes information for its users about its performance in the form of an annual report, and in annual returns made to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. 2. Definition of terms a. Community: The community served by West Glamorgan Archive Service includes the residents of the City and County of Swansea, residents of Neath Port Talbot County Borough, and other UK and overseas residents. They may or may not make personal visits to the Archive Service. They may contact the Archive Service by post, fax, or telephone. b. User: The users of West Glamorgan Archive Service include any person who uses any kind of service provided by the Archive Service, and includes potential users as well as established users. c. Researcher: A researcher is someone using West Glamorgan Archive Service for research, including potential and future researchers. d. Stakeholder: The stakeholders in West Glamorgan Archive Service include its parent authorities, depositors of records, partner organisations and users and potential users of the Archive Service. 3. Aim / purpose of policy West Glamorgan Archive Service has prepared this Access Policy statement in line with the principles and provisions of the Public Services Quality Group Standard for Access to Archives. It is to be used in conjunction with the strategies and action plans drawn up by the Archive Service for specific issues. This policy will outline the principles which will ensure all stakeholders of the Archive Service are aware of their rights, and also their responsibilities, in terms of access to the services which the Archive Service provides.

2 4. General principles West Glamorgan Archive Service shall aim to serve its community as effectively and efficiently as possible. West Glamorgan Archive Service shall aim to serve all of its community, devising a range of services appropriate to the community s stated or implied needs. It will not discriminate against any member of its community. User services function through processes in which the user is an active participant and in which he or she has responsibilities as well as rights. The Archive Service shall communicate clearly these responsibilities and if necessary enforce them. All Archive Service policies are available for scrutiny. The Archive Service shall ensure that its performance in regard of its access policy is capable of being audited. The Archive Service will continue to work in partnership with relevant local and national societies. It is clear who manages the Archive Service, and how they can be contacted. All staff are clearly identifiable and are fully trained to undertake their jobs, or are supervised trainees. The Archive Service welcomes deposits of material from all of its community, in line with its Collection Policy. Historical records are collected and preserved on the understanding that they will be accessible to all who wish to use them for study and research, subject to any relevant legal restrictions or preservation issues. 5. On-site access West Glamorgan Archive Service provides an on-site public service for its community from its headquarters in Swansea Civic Centre and from its service point in Neath. Practical information on accessing the Archive Service facilities is made widely available to the public. Access to original documents owned and held on deposit by the Archive Service is available in the archive searchroom at Swansea Civic Centre. Access to original documents owned by the Neath Antiquarian Society is available in the archive searchroom in the Neath Mechanics Institute, a service which is managed by the Archive Service on behalf and with the assistance of the Society. Researchers are required to register with the Archive Service prior to accessing original archival material in either of these two locations. Information on both the registration process and the documentation required to register is made available to the public. Archive Service staff are available at each service point to supervise researchers in the use of original, facsimile and surrogate material. The Archive Service expects all users to treat other users and Archive Service staff with both respect and courtesy. On-site, personal access to the collections is free of charge, although a reasonable fee is charged for copies produced. Our table of fees and charges is advertised in our searchrooms and on our website.

3 Finding aids are provided in the form of detailed handlists and indexes. Rules and procedures for the use of the searchrooms in each service point are clearly displayed. By registering as a user of West Glamorgan Archive Service, researchers agree to abide by these rules and procedures. The Archive Service makes clear to users their responsibility to assist in ensuring the long-term preservation of archival materials. At both service points, users can obtain information on the use of archives for research, and view a range of resources relating to the area covered, in facsimile or surrogate form. The Archive Service welcomes visits from external groups, including local societies, schools and universities. The Archive Service aims to provide physical access, signage and onsite facilities which are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). The Archive Service ensures that its reception area complies with the guidelines outlined in Swansea Council s Regeneration Directorate Equalities & Access to Services Working Group Public Reception Areas Checklist. When providing information to the public, the Archive Service strives to comply with the procedures outlined in the Swansea Council s Regeneration Directorate Equalities & Access to Services Working Group Handy Guide 1 - Providing Accessible Written and Verbal Information. When welcoming visiting groups to the Archive Service, be they internal or external, the Archive Service aims to follow the guidance provided in Swansea Council s Regeneration Directorate Equalities & Access to Services Working Group Handy Guide 2 - Planning & Running Accessible Meetings. The Archive Service has a feedback mechanism for receiving comments and complaints from users at both its service points. Each year, the Archive Service takes part in the Public Services Quality Group Survey of Visitors to UK Archives in order to gauge levels of user satisfaction with its service. 6. Remote access The Archive Service aims to reach out to potential users of the service through special events in order to develop our user base, in line with targets outlined in the West Glamorgan Archive Service Audience Development Plan. The Archive Service recognises that not all its users wish, or are able to visit one of the service points in person. Basic enquiries about Archive Service holdings are therefore welcomed by telephone, mail and . A research service is available where remote users have more in-depth queries, and a reasonable charge is made for this service. The Archive Service aims to respond to all written enquiries within 10 working days. The Archive Service makes information on the service provided, including details of opening hours, locations and collections held, available on its website.

4 The Archive Service is further developing remote access to its catalogue using archive management software and also through partnership working with external organisations. 7. Access restrictions West Glamorgan Archive Service aims to encourage as much access by researchers to primary source material as is compatible with the permanent preservation of unique and irreplaceable material. There should be a presumption of openness. Any restrictions on access, along with the reasons for these restrictions, are clearly communicated to users. The Archive Service strives to provide copies of archive materials when requested. Where copies cannot be made, the reasons will be fully explained to the user. The Archive Service has prepared procedures for complying with the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998), the Freedom of Information Act (2000) and the Environmental Information Regulations (2004). Access to archive materials may be restricted in line with this legislation. The Archive Service has a limited number of research spaces, and on busy days it may not be possible to accommodate everyone wishing to use the facilities within the research area. Advance bookings can be made, and details of how to make a booking are made available to the public. The Archive Service endeavours to provide access to new deposits as soon as possible after receipt. Collections are added to a cataloguing programme which is subject to change according to the demands of the service. Collections will not be made available to researchers until they are fully catalogued. 8. Fees and charges Current service charges are outlined in the Fees and Charges document. Fees and charges are publicised to users through notices in all service points and through the Archive Service website. 9. Related documents Public Services Quality Group Standard for Access to Archives WGAS Volunteers Policy WGAS Collection Policy WGAS Conditions of Deposit WGAS Preservation Policy WGAS Fees and Charges CCS Corporate FoI Policy CCS Corporate Welsh Language Scheme CCS Equal Opportunities Policy CCS Customer Services Strategy CCS Regeneration Equalities & Access to Services Working Group Public Reception Areas Checklist CCS Regeneration Equalities & Access to Services Working Group Handy Guide 1 - Providing Accessible Written and Verbal Information

5 CCS Regeneration Equalities & Access to Services Working Group Handy Guide 2 - Planning & Running Accessible Meetings

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