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Monday, 16 October 2017

ESAH Asks Questions about the Essex Record Office

The Society's Council met on Saturday 14 October 2017, requesting the inclusion of the following correspondence on its news blog.

To: Councillor Susan Barker
From: Adrian Corder-Birch, President Essex Society for Archaeology and History
Sent: 18 September 2017 17:16
Subject: Essex Record Office

Dear Cllr. Barker,
I refer to our meeting at County Hall on 18th July 2017 with David Adlington, Stan Newens and Martin Stuchfield.  As some two months has now elapsed we should appreciate an update regarding the following matters please?
1.  A copy of Mr. Adlington’s minutes of our meeting.
2. Has your Consultant’s Report from Future Gov been received?  If so will you please send us a copy.
3.  Will you please advise the result of your communications with Chelmsford City Council regarding the use of the gravel area adjacent to the ERO for car parking for ERO staff, volunteers and visitors.  According to the Friends of Historic Essex AGM held last year on 9th July 2016, Stephen Dixon stated that parking arrangements were then being looked into consequent upon the loss of Wharf Road Car Park.  The gravel area adjacent to the ERO would make an excellent parking area and would no doubt help to increase visitor numbers and make the building more attractive to users, particularly for room hire.   You kindly agreed to contact the City Council to expedite negotiations and the outcome would be much appreciated please.
4.  Why was the last ECC Superfast Broadband meeting on 25th July 2017 held at Anglia Ruskin University and not the ERO where previous meetings took place?  As you know we are all keen that ECC should use the ERO for meetings where possible.
5.  Has the ERO Collecting Policy been revised and if so may we have a copy please?
6.  The Business Case for 2017 was expected to be available for review this summer.  Is it available and if so may we have a copy please?
7.  Consequent upon the appointment of Susannah Shaw as the ECC Officer responsible for technology countywide, has any progress been made to replace the computers in the ERO?  The existing computers, which are very old, sometimes break down and are not the easiest to use. 
The next Council meeting of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History will take place on 14th October 2017 and therefore if you are able to reply to this message prior to that date it would be much appreciated please.
Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Adrian Corder-Birch,
President,
Essex Society for Archaeology and History.

To: Councillor Susan Barker
From: Adrian Corder-Birch
Sent: 01 October 2017 11:00
Subject: FW: Essex Record Office

Dear Cllr. Barker,
I refer to my email of 18th September, which for your convenience I am forwarding below.  As we are now in October, I look forward to receiving your reply please particularly as the next Council Meeting of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History is now less than two weeks away. 
I have recently perused expenditure on the ECC website and it would appear that since the beginning of the present financial year, ECC has paid in excess of £200,000.00 (Two hundred thousand pounds) to Future Gov for Consultants fees and reports.  I fully appreciate that this is probably across several services, but I shall be obliged if you will please let me know exactly how much of this expenditure (if any) applies to the ERO.   If any of this expenditure is applicable to the ERO then presumably ECC has received a report from Future Gov and if so will you please disclose a copy? 
I look forward to hearing from you please.
Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Adrian Corder-Birch,
President
Essex Society for Archaeology and History


To: Adrian Corder-Birch
From: Cllr Susan Barker, Member CC
Sent: 13 October 2017 11:28
Subject: FW: Essex Record Office

Dear Mr Corder Birch

Thank you for your email and I apologise for the delay. I’d like to answer your questions individually below

1.         A copy of Mr. Adlington’s minutes of our meeting.

We did not plan to produce detailed minutes from the July meeting, and indeed your recent email follows up on the main points that were discussed.

2.         Has your Consultant’s Report from Future Gov been received?  If so will you please send us a copy.

While Phase 1 is complete, we need to review the implications and conduct further analysis of potential future models, and this is work in progress and not shareable at the current time.

You also asked how much money we paid for this, in your follow-up email. It was £40,000.

3.         Will you please advise the result of your communications with Chelmsford City Council regarding the use of the gravel area adjacent to the ERO for car parking for ERO staff, volunteers and visitors.  According to the Friends of Historic Essex AGM held last year on 9th July 2016, Stephen Dixon stated that parking arrangements were then being looked into consequent upon the loss of Wharf Road Car Park.  The gravel area adjacent to the ERO would make an excellent parking area and would no doubt help to increase visitor numbers and make the building more attractive to users, particularly for room hire.   You kindly agreed to contact the City Council to expedite negotiations and the outcome would be much appreciated please.

I agree that the gravel area adjacent to the ERO would make an excellent parking area as an alternative to the main Wharf Road car park that has been sold to Taylor Wimpey. We are in discussions with Chelmsford City Council about this, but those discussions have not reached a conclusion yet.

4.         Why was the last ECC Superfast Broadband meeting on 25th July 2017 held at Anglia Ruskin University and not the ERO where previous meetings took place?  As you know we are all keen that ECC should use the ERO for meetings where possible.

I am told by ERO officers that we are not party to individual decisions by other ECC Service Areas as to their choice of venues for external events. However, ECC event bookers are encouraged to use ECC venues (whether that is ERO or elsewhere) whenever possible, and we have conducted an extensive internal marketing campaign over the last 3 months to promote this.

5.         Has the ERO Collecting Policy been revised and if so may we have a copy please?

ERO is currently updating its Collecting Policy, scheduled for the end of 2017.


6.         The Business Case for 2017 was expected to be available for review this summer.  Is it available and if so may we have a copy please?

The ERO business review is ongoing and is subject to periodic internal review, and a major update now scheduled for December 2017. Part of that process will be to consult with each of our partner/interest groups such as ESAH, which we began to do via the meeting with several such groups in July, and which we plan to follow up with each of them during the autumn.

7.         Consequent upon the appointment of Susannah Shaw as the ECC Officer responsible for technology countywide, has any progress been made to replace the computers in the ERO?  The existing computers, which are very old, sometimes break down and are not the easiest to use.

It is true that the computers in the Searchroom have experienced some usability issues, which we are working through systematically with IS. The issues which we regarded as a particularly high concern are due to be resolved during October.

Please let me  know if you require further information.

Kind regards

Susan

Cllr Susan Barker

Essex Cabinet Member Culture, Communities and Customer
Chairman Essex Pension Fund
Chairman Stansted Airport Community Trust
Deputy Leader Uttlesford District Council                       .

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