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close this bookArchives and Records Management for Decision Makers: a RAMP study (UNESCO; 1990; 79 pages)
View the documentPreface
View the document1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Origins of records and archives
Open this folder and view contents3. Records and archives in decision making
Open this folder and view contents4. Records management
Open this folder and view contents5. Archives
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning for archives
Open this folder and view contents7. Legislative authority
close this folder8. Staffing
View the document8.1. Staffing Levels
Open this folder and view contents9. Conclusion
View the documentAppendix 1 - List of national archival institutions that responded
View the documentAppendix 2 - List of respondents to second questionnaire
View the documentAppendix 3 - Staffing levels in relation to population
 

8.1. Staffing Levels

The question of staffing affects most of the institutions and an analysis of the responses shows the extent of the problems.

8.1.1 Only twelve institutions were able to report adequate staffing levels:

Scottish Record Office - United Kingdom
National Archives - United Arab Emirates
Archives Records Management of New South Wales - Australia
Archive Nacional - Ecuador
National Archives - Indonesia
Karnataka State Archives - India
Landesarchiv Saarbrucken - Federal Republic of Germany
Public Record Office - United Kingdom
Australian Archives - Australia
Kenya National Archives - Kenya
National Archives of Malaysia - Malaysia
General Department on Archives at the Council of Ministers - Bulgaria
Ku Husminister des Landes Nordrhein - Westfallen Landesarchiv - Federal Republic of Germany

8.1.2 The remaining institutions (62) all indicated that they did not have sufficient staff.

8.1.3 Twenty one institutions indicated that while the budget allocation was favourable the staff was inadequate.

8.1.4 Only two institutions, the Archivo Nacional Ecuador and the Archivo Historico de Macua were able to say that they had a top budget priority as well as adequate staff.

8.1.5 Twenty three institutions said that while they had a reasonable budget priority nevertheless they had inadequate staff.

When one examines the levels of staffing however it is clear that most archival institutions are battling with hopelessly inadequate staff, and this explains why they have to restrict their activities.

The size of a country' s population has a bearing on the amount and quantity of archives generated. The size of the population will determine the quantity of birth and marriage certificates issued, the number of schools required to educate the children, the number of hospitals in existence and the number of civil servants who are there to service the governmental machine. While there is no direct relationship between the population and the size of the bureaucracy In so far as there can be overstaffing, understaffing or an inadequate provision of the necessary services, nevertheless the size of population has an impact on the quantity of records and archives created. comparative schedule of the staffing position and population size of the respondents will thus demonstrate clearly the extent of the understaffing. An examination of Appendix shows that in relation to population the staffing levels of most institutions are hopelessly inadequate.

8.1.5.1 Natural archival institutions in ten countries have a total staffing less than ten including Chile, with a population of 12.1 million.

8.1.5.2 National archival institutions in thirty one countries have a staff of less than fifty.

8.1.5.3 Only six national archival institutions have a staff in excess of five hundred.

An archival institution however is not much different from other institutions in today' s world. As with other institutions it has to compete for scarce financial and material resources. It has to design programmes, and justify them to receive support. It has to control and account for expenditure. It has to recruit, motivate and control staff just like any other enterprise. In most institutions the support staff outnumbers the archivally trained and expert staff and to this extent therefore requires to be managed even more so according to recognised theories and practices of personnel management. Like all other institutions the archival institutions have stocks that they control and account for requiring mechanisms for the receiving, storage and issuing. Like other institutions, they must identify suppliers of certain goods, place and progress orders and receive and pay for the goods. For archival institutions to be adequately managed therefore further training or additional skills are required beyond basic archival training. Training in archives administration should be no more than a basic grounding to which modern business managerial skills should be added. And yet the responses to the first questionnaire indicated a different situation.

8.2.1 Asked if the institutions employed staff with the specific designations the responses were as follows:

DESIGNATION

YES

NO

Personnel/training/human resources manager/officer

21

32

Marketing manager/officer

5

47

Public Relations Manager/Officer

13

38

Procurement Officer/Buyer

12

42

It was clear that while many institutions did not have such specifically designated staff they nevertheless had staff who spent some of their time doing this work. It may be asked if the giving of specific designations has any relevance when the work is still being done. The answer is yet, it is important. The having of specifically designated staff reflects the importance which an institution attaches to the activity. It is one thing to have an archivist undertake public relations duties. it is another to have Public Relations Officer. The question of post designation is linked to the training given to the staff.

8.2.2 In most countries, different training courses are available at different levels. In government, there are often institutions charged with the responsibility of training civil servants, including archivists, in various areas. While it would be easy to assume that archival institutions avail themselves from time to time of such opportunities the actual situation shows that only a tiny proportion of archivists receive specific training in these areas.

 

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