Headlines: July 15th, 2002

A new National Archives body is to be created through the merger of the Public Record Office (PRO) and the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC).From 1 April 2003 the combined organisations will be called the National Archives. The new body, which will report to the Lord Chancellor, will offer a service which will be better equipped to meet the needs of current and future users.

Effectively it means a single gateway for people who need to hunt down important archive information, whether held in public, or private collections.

The HMC currently discovers and disseminates information about archives held in private and institutional hands. The PRO holds the national archives of the United Kingdom and administers the UK’s public recordsm system.

The new National Archives is promised to be more efficient and offer better value for money. In particular it will mean

–    a single lead body to take forward Government Policy on Archives

–    a single gateway for inspecting archives

–    single leadership

–    improved access for users, via the internet, to information about both public and private records

–    better coordination

–    enhanced career prospects and training for staff.

Staff at HMC will be joining most of the PRO’s staff at the current Public Record Office building in Kew.