Records at Risk Toolkit Overview

The following resources and guidance on records surveying and risk monitoring have been brought together as part of the Archives and Records Council Wales Records at Risk project funded by The National Archives Covid-19 Archives Fund.

Focus points for the project have included:

  • carrying out ongoing monitoring of companies in financial difficulty throughout Wales to establish whether any of them house vulnerable collections with potential archival value; and
  • conducting a remote survey of records-keeping among Welsh businesses and charities to identify opportunities to support in-house archival preservation or potential acquisition by an external archive repository.

The guidance below is similarly organised into these two key strands. The first (‘Records at Risk Resources’) provides information about identifying and rescuing archives and records at risk among insolvent companies. It includes guidance created on behalf of ARCW as part of the Records at Risk project itself, as well as resources from external partners such as the Crisis Management Team.

The second (‘Records Surveying Resources’) includes guidance on how to conduct remote surveys of records-keeping among external organisations such as charities and businesses, with links to additional external resources about records surveying more broadly.

In future, this toolkit will also provide access to guidance on digital preservation for small businesses which, as commissioned by ARCW, is in development by the Digital Preservation Coalition and is currently scheduled for publication in June 2022.

Records at Risk Resources

ARCW GUIDANCE: Insolvency Monitoring and Rescuing Business Records

The below guidance document, and accompanying presentation, provide an overview of the process of rescuing business records made vulnerable due to financial distress, covering the stages of research and monitoring up to the acquisition of records from an insolvent company. Among other information, it includes a flowchart outlining key steps in the process, guidance on corporate insolvency terminology, and information about contacting insolvency practitioners. The guidance is primarily intended for use for by archivists and archive services in Wales but may be useful to anybody with an interest in rescuing records from insolvent companies.

Click here to download the guide as a pdf document.

A supporting video tutorial is available here.

Guidance from the Crisis Management Team

The Crisis Management Team (CMT) co-ordinates efforts across England, Scotland and Wales to rescue business records placed in danger as a result of liquidations, administrations, takeovers and other circumstances in which business records may be at risk. Among other resources, the CMT have published helpful guidance for both archivists and insolvency practitioners which outlines the process for rescuing records. The guidance is available in English on the Managing Business Archives website and, with the permission of the Crisis Management Team, has been translated into Welsh and made available on our website here.

Additional resources for risk monitoring

Further resources, including a template for identifying records at risk and guidance from professional bodies are available here.

Records Surveying Resources

Remote records surveying guidance for archive services

This document provides an overview of the process of rescuing business records from the stage of research and monitoring up to the acquisition of records from an insolvent company. It includes guidance on corporate insolvency terminology, including the most important terms for archivists, and advice on how to contact insolvency practitioners. Our development of the guidance has been  informed by the experience of conducting a remote survey of records-keeping by business and charities across Wales as part of the ARCW Records at Risk project.

The document outlines a methodology for planning and carrying out a survey, including how to  develop selection criteria to identify a range of participant organisations. Guidance is provided on the use of open public data sources such as the registers of Companies House and the Charity Commission to research and identify target organisations. It includes examples of how to target organisations based on regional and sectoral selection criteria and should therefore be of interest to archive services with a geographically defined collection remit, such as local authority archive services, as well as specialist subject archives.

Drawing on examples from the ARCW survey of businesses and charities in Wales, it also details various options for designing and implementing a remote survey, including suggestions for the types of questions that may be included in a remote survey questionnaire form.

Click here to download the guidance.

A supporting video tutorial is available here.

Additional Resources

Further resources are available here.

Collections development register for archive services in Wales

We have developed a register of archive services’ collection development policies to help services, prospective donors, and other individuals identify the most suitable locations to house archives and records throughout Wales.

The links below provide access to the relevant webpage(s) for each archive service. Here you can access their collection development policies or find out further information about their collecting remit and deposit guidelines.

Archive Services
Aberystwyth University
Anglesey Archives
Bangor University
Cardiff University
Conwy Archive Service
Ceredigion Archives
Glamorgan Archives
Gwent Archives
Gwynedd Archives Service
National Library of Wales
National Museum of Wales
North East Wales Archives
Pembrokeshire Archives
Powys Archives
Royal College of Welsh Music and Drama
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
Swansea University Richard Burton Archives
West Glamorgan Archive Service
Wrexham Archives and Local Studies Service