Those of you in Devon will probably have seen in the local newspapers the stories of impending cuts at the Devon and North Devon Record Office:
The cuts have also been discussed on the Devon-L mailing list:
The following update has now been received courtesy of Maureen Selley, Chairman of the Devon Family History Society:
UPDATE re: Devon and North Devon Record Offices
I would like to once more thank you for your support regarding the funding cuts to the archive service in Devon and apprise you of the current situation.
I am pleased to be able to inform you that the response from Devon’s history community to Devon County Council has resulted in a significant reduction in the proposed cuts. £100,000 has been put back into the budget. We now have to address the forthcoming public consultation in which views will be formally taken on the archive service. I am hopeful that this will involve public meetings in both Exeter and Barnstaple.
The last few weeks have seen a frenetic response from groups and individuals across Devon and from far beyond. I myself have been greatly heartened by the passion with which we have all responded to the cuts. This is the first time that we have worked together in such a way and I am sure lessons should be learned.
The cuts are still higher than the regional average and I hope that Devon County councillors and officers will continue to listen. The consultation exercise will help shape the services at Exeter and
Barnstaple. We have yet to learn what changes the cuts in the budget will bring and we must continue to voice our concerns. I will keep you informed of the details of the public consultation when they are available.
Again, thank you for your support – it has helped to bring us to where we are today.
Dr Todd Gray, Chairman,
Friends of Devon’s Archives
The statement from Councillor Stuart Barker, portfolio holder for Devon County Council:
On 9 February a Cabinet meeting of Devon County Council revised the proposed cut to the
Devon Record Office budget from £289,000 to £189,000. This will have to be agreed at a full meeting of the council on 17 February. The change has been made to enable a fuller consideration of the issues around modernisation, restructure and the integration of other services at the Sowton site as well as potential income generation. The additional £100,000 will help to deliver any changes identified by the public and staff consultations. There will also be an application to the Investing in Devon fund for project funding to carry out completing the digitization of the microfiche records and other suitable documents. A public consultation exercise will take place in the weeks following 17 February, details are currently being considered and could involve public meetings in North Devon and Exeter. The Council is committed to working with users, stakeholders, staff and others to establish how best to maintain opening hours at the Devon Record Office and is committed to keeping the North Devon Record Office where the documents are held within their historical geographical context.