Agenda and minutes

Gwent Archives Joint Committee
Friday, 27th September, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Gwent Archives, Ebbw Vale, NP23 6AA

Contact: Rachel Beale  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

No. Item


Attendance and Apologies/Presenoldeb ac Ymddiheuriadau


1.1       Apologies were received from the following:


Councillor J Millard, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Councillor B Jones, Caerphilly County Borough Council

Councillor V Crick, Torfaen County Borough Council

Councillor N Waite, Torfaen County Borough Council 

Canon A Edwards, Diocese of Monmouth

Mr S Duffin, Coleg Gwent


Declarations of Interest/Datganiadau o fudd


2.1       There were no interests declared.


Minutes of meeting held on 14/06/2019 / Cofnodion y cyfarfod a gynhaliwyd ar 14/06/2019 pdf icon PDF 457 KB


3.1       The minutes of the meeting held on 14th June 2019 were agreed as a true and accurate record.


Final Accounts 2018/19: Audited Annual Return and Audit Report / Cyfrifon Terfynol 2018/19: Datganiad Blynyddol wedi'i Archwilio ac Adroddiad Archwilio pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Additional documents:


4.1       The Lead Finance Officer introduced the report which provided the Joint Committee with the conclusion of the external audit of the Annual Return for the year ended 31 March 2019 and highlighted the following points:

  • The external auditor issued an unqualified certificate and found nothing wrong with the accounts, however the annual report drew attention to two minor points.
  • The first matter was in relation to the blank minute reference on the Committee approval and certification box on page 4 of the Annual Return. The draft minute reference was not available prior to submitting the return but was provided as soon as it was available during the audit.
  • The second matter was regarding question 4 – exercise of electors’ rights - on the Annual Governance Statement. The Committee answered ‘No’ as at the time of approving the statement the accounts had not be published for the public to view. The auditor stated that the correct response should have been ‘Yes’. Torfaen County Borough Council’s Head of Financial Services has queried the comment with the Auditor and has requested further clarification.


4.2       The Committee felt that it was a badly phrased question and would wait for clarification.


4.3       The Joint Committee agreed to note the conclusion of the external audit.


Quarterly Bulletin on the activity of Gwent Archives and Future Reporting / Bwletin Chwarterol ar weithgareddau Archifau Gwent ac Adrodd at y Dyfodol pdf icon PDF 427 KB


5.1       The County Archivist informed Members of activities during the quarter from 1 June 2019 – 31 August 2019 highlighting the following:

  • Gwent Archives had a busy quarter in terms of visitors. Many Archive Services were quieter during the summer months, however that was not the case for Gwent Archives and August was the busiest month in the quarter.
  • A new signing in sheet was being introduced which would allow more information to be gathered from visitors including whether it was their first time visit. If the signing in sheet showed mostly returning visitors, the Service would carry out more marketing to attract new visitors.
  • The annual survey carried out asked visitors to include their postcode, this information showed that the Service was heavily used by visitors from the Gwent Authority areas. Hourly head counts would also be introduced in each area of the building to find out more about what the service was being used for, and the busiest times and days.
  • During the last quarter the service had produced 833 documents.
  • There had been a slight decrease in remote access enquires.
  • The service would be trailing a new spreadsheet to record enquires.
  • Gwent Archives were taking part in the Archives and Records Association Distance User Survey, for those contacting the service by post and by email.   It started in September which would run until December, and would help to assess and improve the enquiry service.  The Gwent Archives Collection continued to develop and had received a large number of deposits during the last quarter. A prioritisation scheme was currently being developed for deposits and a collection manual was being written.
  • During the last quarter the Conservator undertook 2 consultancy visits, one of which led to private conservation work.
  • A Member of staff had gone to Somerset to give a customer a quote on doing some binding work.
  • Gwent Archives were pleased to have their status as an Accredited Archive Service renewed, which was very positive and the Service was particularly praised for its outreach work. There were some actions to be addressed, for example around digital preservation, which would feed into the Service Plan.
  • The Conservator attended the Archives and Records Association Annual

Conference in August which helped to inform people of the Service.

  • One of the Service’s Archive Assistants applied for a bursary to attend another conference in Birmingham in November, there were only 5 bursary’s available and she was successful in gaining one which was outstanding.


5.2       In response to questions asked the County Archivist and Senior Archivist gave the following answers:

  • The Service did not routinely take cinefilms, however the depositor had travelled from Newport to Gwent Archives so the Service took them but would be transferring them to Aberystwyth Archives as Gwent Archives did not have the conditions to store them.   There would also be more opportunity for them to be viewed at Aberystwyth Archives.
  • Films were very engaging and the General Offices has a 40 seat cinema and would be looking at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Mid-year review of Fees and Charges / Arolwg Ffïoedd a Thaliadau Canol y Flwyddyn pdf icon PDF 23 KB

Additional documents:


6.1       The County Archivist explained that she had been looking in to the Services finances and was exploring what more could be done commercially to generate more money, how to apply for funding and also looking at doing fundraising events which could prevent having to reducing the Services budget as much.


6.2       The County Archivist highlighted key areas of the report and along with the Senior Archivist made the following comments:


  • Gwent Archives generated an income from a number of sources including chargeable services to customers, there was a table of charges which was published on the website and outlined the cost of each service.
  • The current Table of Charges was approved by the Joint Committee in March 2019.
  • The Filming/Television/Broadcast charges were not included in the review in

March 2019 and have been more substantially reviewed.

  • The Service was not looking to increase the charges yet but wanted to make the document easier for customers.
  • The County Archivist recommended changing the format of the table of charges to reflect the cost plus VAT.
  • The County Archivist also proposed to make a change regarding photocopying and printing charges by post, the cost of photocopies and printing would remain the same, but the Service would introduce an additional charge for postal orders to reflect the cost of staff time and postage and packaging fees.
  • Some researchers needed certified copies of documents and it was proposed to add a fee to the table of charges to incorporate this and the additional work required.
  • The charge for self-service digital photography licenses was very cheap and Gwent Archives was the cheapest Archive Service and it was becoming more popular.
  • The County Archivist was looking to introduce additional licenses such as per month and annual group permits for organisations, staff would need to check that the organisations were using the information for the project and not personal research.
  • There was a gap in the public search service, a charge was currently made for a one-hour public search service, and it was proposed to introduce two additional options. One was a Look Up fee, for shorter enquiries and the other was an express fee for customers who wanted information quickly. The Service wanted to be able to charge less money if it took less time.
  • The charge for talks and workshop was not changing but presented by 2 hour session in order to better reflect the total cost as most talks took longer than an hour.  The County Archivist did not want to put people off but need to be mindful of the cost to the Service.
  • There had been a low take up on tours at the current charge, as it was prohibitive to groups. It was proposed to introduce a £5 per person charge and for groups charge by the hour but this would depend on the size of the group. There had to be a balance between bringing people in and using the service and being cost prohibitive.
  • The current fee for filming,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Approval of Gwent Archives Emergency Preparedness Plan / Cymeradwyo Cynllun Parodrwydd ar gyfer Argyfwng Archifau Gwent pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Additional documents:


7.1       The County Archivist informed the Joint Committee that with a new plan it was good practice to review it annually. However there have been a number of changes in personnel so the plan has been changed. She added that it was always useful to have new set of eyes to look at the plan, and being new to the Service and building she was able to make a number of suggestions to make it more detailed for the emergency services. A lot of work was carried out to ensure that the plan was never needed to be used. The plan set out clearly everyone’s role in the event of an emergency, how to raise the alarm, templates to fill out detailing the issues and what treatment was needed after the event.


7.2       The following responses were given by the County Archivist to questions asked by the Joint Committee:

  • A standard Emergency template for Archive Services was used and adapted for Gwent Archives.
  • The County Archivist agreed to check whether vandalism was covered within the plan.
  • The next steps would be to carry out detailed training for those involved, which would be carried out next month.


7.3       The Joint Committee commended the Officers who worked on the plan.


7.4       The Joint Committee agreed to approve the Emergency Preparedness Plan


Request for One Off Funding from Reserve / Cais am Gyllid Unwaith ac am Byth o'r Gronfa Wrth Gefn pdf icon PDF 110 KB


8.1       The County Archivist presented the report which requested approval from the Joint Committee to access one off funding from Reserve. The Service had some high shelving which was above head height and was not safe to access. The one off funding would be used to purchase a piece of equipment to enable the shelves to be accessed safely. The shelves could be offered out for commercial storage when accessible. 


8.2       In response to questions asked the County Archivist gave the following replies:

  • It was a mechanical device which was an encaged platform.
  • The maintenance of the device would form part of the maintenance schedule of all equipment in the building.
  • Any use of funds from Reserves required Joint Committee approval.


8.3       The Joint Committee agreed to approve the use of £4,000 from the reserves to fund health and safety equipment for the strongrooms.



Any Other Business/Aelodau Cyfetholedig y Cydbwyllgor


9.1       Mr Evans apologised for missing a number of meetings due to ill health, however he was now better and willing to do a variety of talks and bring accompanying materials for Gwent Archives.



Date of Next Meeting - 13/12/2019 / Dyddiad y cfarfod nesaf - 13/12/2019


10.1    The Committee were informed that the next meeting would take place on Friday 13th December 2019.


Exclusion of Press and Public / Gwahardd y Wasg a'r Cyhoedd

To agree the exclusion of the press and public from the meeting as the report is not for publication because in accordance with Paragraph 14 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the report contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.


Cytuno ar eithrio'r wasg a'r cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod gan nad yw'r adroddiad i'w gyhoeddi oherwydd, yn unol â Pharagraff 14, Atodlen 12A,  Deddf Llywodraeth Leol 1972 (fel y'i diwygiwyd) mae'r adroddiad yn cynnwys gwybodaeth sy'n ymwneud â materion ariannol neu fusnes unrhyw berson penodol (gan gynnwys yr awdurdod sy'n dal y wybodaeth honno) a bod budd y cyhoedd wrth gynnal yr eithriad yn gorbwyso budd y cyhoedd petai'r wybodaeth yn cael ei datgelu.



11.1    The Joint Committee agreed to exclude the press and public from the meeting as the report was not for publication because in accordance with Paragraph 14 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the report contained information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.


Making Electoral Registers available online / Gwneud Cofrestri Etholiadol ar gael Arlein


12.1    The Joint Committee considered the report and agreed with the recommendation outlined in the exempt report.