Consultation on Heritage Services

November 1, 20182:44 pmLeave a Comment

This week Surrey County Council has launched five consultations on a range of services. The Council wishes to hear the views of as many residents, partners, voluntary and community groups as possible by Friday 4 January 2019 to help it to shape those services for the future and set a sustainable budget. The consultations cover:

• Family resilience – children’s centres
• Special educational needs and disabilities
Libraries and cultural services
• Concessionary bus travel
• Community recycling centres

To get more details on what the Council is proposing, you can find the consultations online at: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/consultations

The Libraries and cultural services survey includes the work done by Surrey Heritage. As someone who is interested in the services and opportunities that Heritage provides and values the unique historical collections in the care of Surrey History Centre, your views are vitally important in determining the future direction of our service. We would be extremely grateful if you would complete the short survey form, https://www.surreysays.co.uk/legal-and-democratic-services/libraries/.

The context for the survey can be found in the Cabinet papers which can be viewed on Surrey County Council’s website and which set out the Council’s plans, vision and the financial challenges it faces. At present the proposal is to reduce the Council’s net expenditure on its Cultural Services (covering Libraries, Heritage, Surrey Arts, Adult Learning and Registration) from £8.7 million to £4 million over two years. More about the Council’s suggested principles and future vision for Cultural Services can be found in its Transforming Libraries and Cultural Services in Surrey Strategy(pdf).

Please read the survey questions carefully; they provide you with an opportunity to say what you value about Heritage and the other parts of Surrey’s Cultural Services. We would particularly draw your attention to questions 2.1 and 4.3 in the survey where there is space for you to express your views more fully on the county’s heritage service and its future shape and role in meeting the Council’s priorities.

Have your say in all five surveys and spread the word to others, so that they can also give their views. In addition to the online consultations, the Council will be engaging with groups and interested parties to help inform and shape the outcomes of the consultations.

Thank you for your support with this.

Written by ESP Admin

4 thoughts on “Consultation on Heritage Services”

  1. Ken Burningham says:

    The heritage centre is a very important part of Surrey history keeping, As a family historian I would find it very sad if this extremely well run facility was to reduce the the number of hours it was open to the public.

    1. ESP Admin says:

      Dear Ken

      Many thanks for your support.

  2. Brian Dalton says:

    Sadly, the priority for expenditure has to be the well being and security of individuals. This extends to social inclusion, particularly of the elderly and younger folk who, in my view are being lost to our community.
    For that reason our priority should be to protect the future of our archiving for the use of others who come later. the housing and maintenance of this must continue to be provided in as cheap and accessible way possible.
    A scheme to engross the archive electronically and store copies in “The Cloud”, whatever that is, should be a priority. The originals can be safely stored in cheap facilities which are inaccessible for people and only available upon payment.
    Meetings are important, but it is the meeting and not some grandiose edifice that we need to preserve.

    1. Michael Page says:

      Dear Brian

      Thank you for your comment. We agree that ensuring the amazing archive at Surrey History Centre is protected for future generations to enjoy should be a priority but sadly it would not be economical to digitise all the many millions of documents we hold on the six miles of shelving in Surrey History Centre. Some time ago we did a very rough calculation of what it would cost to create digital images of everything and a conservative estimate put the cost at around £20 million. On top of that we would have to factor in the costs of creating adequate metadata so the digital records could be accessed by researchers and the costs associated with storing and migrating the data periodically so that it remained secure and accessible. Digital information management is a rapidly changing world and we must always be alert to potential systems and software obsolescence.

      We also believe that, though digitisation has a vital role to play in making records accessible and protecting more vulnerable documents, there is a very real benefit to people to be able to consult the original documents and through that encounter get closer to the rich past of their community, county, and the people who lived there. Our on-going work with many community groups, schools, colleges, and residents of all age groups has shown that archives help to enhance people’s lives and promote wellbeing through the many benefits of education, collaboration and shared experiences.

      Michael Page
      County Archivist
      Surrey History Centre

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