B.1 Managing the HER#
Although there are variations in local arrangements, each HER provides an information management service within a larger organization. Every HER has information assets, in its databases and references collections, and each provides services to users. All HERs have resources in their staff, equipment and the finances that support information services. These all need good management, particularly as resources are scarce and HER managers are increasingly being asked to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of their services in competition with others.
Managing an HER is like running a small business in which HER managers are asked to promote the value of their services and prioritise the allocation of scarce resources to meet competing demands. Time will always be limited and the purpose of this section of the manual is to provide guidelines on planning and management issues common to all HERs, which are described below.
Policy and Planning#Policy and planning documents help HER managers to get the most out of limited resources and provide a framework for making decisions in a rapidly changing world. The importance of such documents is recognised by their use as measures of HER performance in Historic Environment Records: Benchmarks for Good Practice (Chitty 2002). The policy documents defined in this document as 1st stage performance indicators are:-
- Information services policy (1.1 - 1.2). This explains why the record is maintained, who it aims to serve and how users can access the data.
- Information policy (2.1 - 2.3). This outlines the scope, geographical coverage and content of the information available and a disposals policy for transfer of primary archives.
- Recording Manual (3.1 - 3.4). This explains how data is captured and how it is recorded to provide quality assurance and includes guides and an index to supporting reference collections.
- Security policy (3.5, 3.8). This deals with strategies for appropriate archiving of digital and non-digital material as well as the preparation of a risk assessment and disaster plan.
- Forward Plan (3.6, 3.7). An ongoing assessment of the quality of data and a prioritised programme of update and enhancement requirements.