Topic: Independent Record Centres & Office Centralisations - LRERC
The Leicestershire & Rutland Environmental Records Centre (LRERC) is an operational unit of Leicestershire County Council based at a sub-office away from County Hall at Holly Hayes in Birstall. LRERC works typically as many other record centres in their own grounds with recorders and visitors being able to visit freely. Recorders can also access paper records instantly at our offices.
The County Council is considering whether to close Holly Hayes some time next year. The closure would save money. The late Edith Murphy and the Edith Murphy Foundation have very generously leased Holly Hayes to the County Council free of charge for 16 years, but the Council has to cover the running costs and maintenance of the building and grounds. In a building of this age, these costs are high. If Holly Hayes closed, all the staff currently working in the Environmental Records Centre would move to County Hall. This would bring some advantages; for example it would be helpful to have all the staff in the Historic and Natural Environment Team under one roof. It would also make it easier for us to liaise with colleagues in other parts of the County Council, such as Countryside, Highways and Property Services. Despite this, all the staff based at Holly Hayes would be very sad to leave Holly Hayes, which is a lovely place to work and is an ideal location for the Environmental Records Centre. In particular we feel that it has helped us to stay in touch with the many voluntary groups, naturalists, heritage wardens etc. who have visited us, supported our work, and used the meeting room and facilities. If we do move to County Hall, we want to do all we can to maintain this informal contact, which we believe is of mutual benefit to both parties. We realise that closing Holly Hayes will have repercussions for the work that we do. Are their any other record centres that are subject to this type of centralisation and what impact will this have on the way in which local record centres operate?
As part of the upcoming cuts, LRERC is looking at being an arm's length unit or independent trust. This obviously has certain implications and we are keen to find anyone who has experience of tackling such an operation or anyone who would simply be able to help. Whether this is something other records centres are thinking about or currently experiencing, it would be interesting to find out.