Collections unite to celebrate Central Office of Information

Collections unite to celebrate Central Office of Information

The National Archives has joined with the BFI, and Imperial War Museums (IWM) to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Central Office of Information (COI) by showcasing the broad and eclectic range of work produced by the department.

From the Charley Says public information film series and classic safety films like Lonely Water and Apaches, to the AIDS awareness campaign, the COI produced some iconic screen moments during its fascinating history.

Founded in 1946 as a successor to the wartime Ministry of Information, the COI communicated government messages to the public, devising and delivering a wealth of public service information including films, photographs, leaflets, posters, newspaper and magazine advertisements and radio broadcasts.

The majority of the films are held and preserved by the BFI, while The National Archives holds the government papers commissioning the work of the COI, as well as documentation of its campaigns, including film production files and design materials for posters and leaflets. IWM holds COI films and other materials pertaining to life in the military and recruitment to the armed forces, as well as topics relating to national security, civil defence and the Cold War. Each archive will select material to help tell the COI story through a series of collaborative events for the rest of this year.

The #COI75 anniversary celebrations launch with a BFI At Home event on 23 June at 7pm, offering a whistle-stop introductory tour of the work of the COI and the diversity of its output and its impact. A COI at 75 collection is now available on the BFI Player offering viewers a chance to further explore the department’s work, with a selection of some of the best known titles and impactful campaigns,

The National Archives will host an On The Record podcast special to be aired in August exploring some of those memorable film moments, and a series of joint blogs will be published over the coming months highlighting specific themes and COI campaigns. In addition, the IWM is making its COI film collection available online as part of their Digital Futures five-year mass preservation project to digitise 1.8 million films, photographs and sound recordings.

Sarah Castagnetti, Visual Collections Manager at The National Archives, said: ‘The nostalgia for public information films is still strong today but the stories behind these films are often as compelling as what we see on the screen.

‘The National Archives hold some incredible files documenting the production, distribution and reception of these COI films and the discussions across government from the time.

‘We are excited to be working with colleagues at the BFI and IWM to celebrate the work of the COI and reveal some of the lesser known behind the scenes details with which many people will not be familiar.’

  • Follow @UKNatArchives for the latest news on the #COI75 collaborative project.

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The National Archives to publish court and tribunal judgements

The National Archives to publish court and tribunal judgements

Important court and tribunal judgments will be available via The National Archives for the first time from April 2022.

At present there are multiple sources for court judgment publications, of which the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) is the largest. The long-term aim is for all of them to migrate onto The National Archives website.

Judicial Review rulings, European case law, commercial judgments and many more cases of legal significance from the High Court, Upper Tier Tribunal, and the Court of Appeal will be published.

Following recommendations, made by The Legal Education Foundation in their Digital Justice Report, the Ministry of Justice committed to standardising its approach to the publication of judgments.

As the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, The National Archives was chosen because of its long-standing expertise in storing and publishing information securely.

BAILII will continue to provide free access to judgments, for other jurisdictions, including Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth as well as England and Wales, continuing their great service to date.

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives, said: ‘Court and tribunal judgments are vital public records. As world leaders in digital archiving and legal publishing, The National Archives will ensure that judgments are safely preserved and made accessible for the centuries to come.’

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New member joins The National Archives’ board

New member joins The National Archives’ board

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Rommel Pereira as a new non-executive member to The National Archives’ Board.

Rommel will also take up the position of Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, taking over from Dr Claire Feehily, from 1 May.

Rommel, a chartered accountant, retired as Finance Director of the Bank of England at the end of 2018 and previously held roles at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Metropolitan Housing Partnership and JP Morgan Chase.

He has had a distinguished career in senior and executive management roles across the regulatory/government, not-for-profit and financial services sectors, and currently holds non-executive directorships at the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust and One Housing Group.

Lesley Cowley, Chair of The National Archives’ Board, said: ‘I am pleased to welcome Rommel to the Board following a competitive recruitment campaign.

‘The Audit and Risk Committee supports us in our responsibilities for issues of risk, internal control, and governance assurance and Rommel will bring his know-how and professionalism to the important role of Chair.’

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives, said: ‘Rommel’s outstanding expertise in the government, not-for-profit and financial services sectors will be of great value to our Board and leadership team.

‘He also brings a wealth of experience to the role of Audit and Risk Committee Chair. This important sub-committee ensures the Board can continue to deliver an appropriate level of strategic support, challenge and scrutiny to the work of The National Archives as we build on our commitment to Archives for Everyone, our strategic vision.

‘As Rommel arrives I must also recognise the valuable contribution Dr Claire Feehily has made both as a Board member and as outgoing chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, Lesley and I sincerely thank her for her dedication and insight over the past five years.’

Rommel Pereira said of his appointment: ‘It is a great privilege to be appointed to The National Archives’ Board.

‘It is an exciting time to be joining and I am looking forward to getting to know my new colleagues and working to help the organisation build on its ambitious plans for the future.’

Further information on The National Archives’ Board is available here.

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Newly accredited archive services announced

Newly accredited archive services announced

Following a recent panel, the UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee is pleased to announce that the following archive services were awarded Archive Service Accreditation for the first time.

  • Bath Record Office: Archives and Local Studies
  • De Montfort University Special Collections
  • Parliamentary Archives
  • The British Museum Archive

At the same panel, the following archive services were awarded Archive Service Accreditation for the second time. All accredited archive services must re-apply for accreditation six years after their initial award in order to retain their accredited status.

  • Gloucestershire Archives
  • Jersey Archive
  • Network Rail Corporate Archive

Accredited archive services demonstrate that they meet the UK standard around collections management and access to collections, showing resilience and the ability to manage changing circumstances successfully.

View the full list of accredited archive services.

Find out more about Archive Service Accreditation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives, and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

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COVID-19 Archives Fund Grants Awarded

COVID-19 Archives Fund Grants Awarded

Today, The National Archives announced the successful applicants who have received funding from the COVID-19 Archives Fund. 25 archives from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have each received up to £50,000 from the fund.

The fund, which was allocated £500,000 from HM Treasury, will allow archives to secure physical and born-digital records that are at risk of being dispersed or lost. This government support comes at a time when many organisations are struggling to deal with issues related to their collections which have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘It is so important to protect our nation’s history for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

‘I am pleased that this funding will help preserve collections across the length and breadth of the Union for years to come and I thank The National Archives for their work on this project.’

Jeff James, Historical Manuscripts Commissioner and Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives said: ‘We cannot underestimate the importance of this funding and the support it gives to the successful archives. Records which were under threat will now be saved and preserved allowing future generations to research and learn from them. This is a very practical demonstration of our support to the wider archive sector.’

The fund was open to both recognised collecting institutions and other archival custodians and will help them safeguard their vital records or re-home other vulnerable collections. The government grants will offset some of the practical costs of the planned interventions, such as storage, conservation, transport and expertise.

A full list of the recipients of this funding can be found here.

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