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Friday, 25 November 2016

Self-financing Essex Record Office? The President writes to Essex County Council

The Essex Society for Archaeology & History 

Cllr. David Finch, Leader, 
Essex County Council, 
County Hall, 

16th November 2016. 

Dear David, 

Many of our members have read with interest the following report by Stephen Dixon, Archive Service Manager at the Essex Record Office (ERO), in the autumn issue of the Newsletter of the Friends of Historic Essex: 

'We are credited with achieving an extra £100,000 income in the first year of the implementation stage of our business case but this year's target is much higher and we now know we are to become self-financing by about 2020' 

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History (ESAH) of which I am President, represents many users of the ERO who will be interested in hearing from ECC about what plans are in place to become 'self-financing', a position that I suspect other County Record Offices have not attempted. 

Following on from the reduction in opening hours that took place in the last few years, the local and family history community are naturally interested in what future plans there are for the ERO and any further restrictions on access to non-digitised historic archive material. Your 'business case' will be of interest at our next ESAH Council Meeting in January 2017, when this matter will be discussed. 

Initial questions that spring to mind are: 1. Current running costs 2. Current income 3. What was this year's (2016-2017) target and what is now the new target? What has changed? 4. Plans and implications on the service for how to achieve this year's target? 5. Projected 2020 running costs and plans for how to become self- financing 6. Implications on the service of the current and future income targets (for example, current and projected staffing levels and opening hours) 7. Will there be an opportunity for public consultation on plans? I look forward to receiving your detailed reply to the questions raised in this letter together with a copy of the business plan please. Thank you. 

Yours sincerely,

Adrian Corder-Birch, President, Essex Society for Archaeology and History 

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