Archives & Records Management Policy

1) Introduction

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art recognizes that its records are an essential business resource; and that their efficient management is necessary to support its core functions, to comply with its legal and regulatory obligations and to contribute to the effective overall management of the institution. This paper sets out the policy with regard to all records created and managed by the Centre as part of its everyday business.

2) Definitions

A record is a document in any format that has been generated or received by the Paul Mellon Centre in the course of its activities and has been, or may be, used by the Centre as evidence of its actions and decisions, or because of its information content. Records can be held in any format including paper documents, photographs, e-mails, videos, slides, audio recordings, databases or any multimedia formats. 

Records Management
is the strategic and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposal or preservation of records.

Institutional Archives comprise the records created by the Centre in the course of its everyday business that have been selected for permanent preservation as part of the Centre’s institutional memory, and as a resource for research.

Collected Archives comprise the records created by external sources (such as art historians, curators, dealers etc.) and acquired by the Centre because of their long-term historical and research value with regard, in particular, to the study of British Art.

3) Scope & Purpose

The aim of this policy is to provide a framework for managing the Centre's records; to support the introduction of better records management; and to ensure that records of long-term historical and research value are captured, maintained and remain accessible as part of the Institutional Archive for the interest of future generations. 

This policy applies to all records created, received and maintained by the staff and employees of the Paul Mellon Centre in the course of their work. 

This includes individuals contracted on a freelance basis (including photographers employed to take images for publications, archive cataloguers, researchers etc.), Yale-in-London teaching staff, Paul Mellon Centre fellows, and individuals contracted to work on special projects.

This policy is complementary to the Centre’s IT and Data Protection policies.

This policy does not encompass the records belonging to the Collected Archives held at the Centre. 

4) Legal Basis

The records of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art are subject to, and therefore will be managed in accordance with, the following legislation:

  • The Data Protection Act, 1998 and from 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
    The Companies Act, 2006
  • The Charities Act, 2011
  • The Requirements of HM Revenue & Customs (including the Financial Services Act, 1986; Value Added Tax Act, 1994; Civil Evidence Act, 1996)

Until issues relating to the management and long-term accessibility of electronic records have been addressed, the current policy is for electronic records identified for permanent preservation in the Institutional Archive to be printed and stored in paper files. 

5) Statement of Principles


  • The Paul Mellon Centre is committed to creating, keeping and managing its records in a manner that accurately documents its principal activities.
  • It is committed to a culture of openness and access to information wherever possible and in compliance with the provisions of the GDPR.
  • It fully supports a centralized and Centre-wide Records Management programme that is based on national and international standards in the field (e.g. BSI ISO 15489:2001).
  • It fully supports an Institutional Archive to which records will be continually added, in line with approved retention schedules, and made accessible to interested researchers.
  • It fully supports use of the shared drive as the means by which all staff should file and manage the electronic records they create and receive in the course of their work for the Centre.

Ownership of Records

  • All records created and received by the Paul Mellon Centre in the course of its business are owned by the Paul Mellon Centre, and not by the individuals, or teams that create the records.
  • Records must not be permanently removed from the offices of the Paul Mellon Centre or used for any activity or purpose other than the Centre’s official business.

Purpose of Records Management

Records Management will help ensure that the Centre:

  • Achieves its objectives to support and promote the study of British art and architecture and to act as a research centre for scholars working in this field.
  • Creates and captures authentic and reliable records to demonstrate evidence, accountability and information about its decisions, activities and collections.
  • Operates efficiently with all staff being able to find, retrieve and file with ease the records they need to carry out their day to day work
  • Maintains securely, and preserves access to, those records as long as they are required to support Centre operations, including audit purposes.
  • Identifies and preserves securely those records deemed worthy of permanent preservation, thus protecting the Centre’s historical memory
  • Destroys other records once they are no longer required, thus ensuring the efficient use of physical and virtual storage at the Centre.

6) Responsibilities

Effective Records Management is a shared responsibility.

The Director & Senior Management Team are responsible for approving and promoting better Records Management throughout the Centre, and supporting the maintenance and development of a comprehensive Institutional Archive.

The Archivist & Records Manager is responsible for delivering the operational activities of a Records Management programme, for facilitating the maintenance and development of an Institutional Archive and for the development and implementation of all related procedures and guidance.

Individual members of staff are responsible for creating, filing, managing and deleting in accordance with best practice, records that accurately document the business activities in which they are involved. 

7) Procedures

Relevant best practice procedures are currently being developed and will be made available on the Centre’s shared drive. For advice on specific issues staff should contact the Archivist & Records Manager.

8) Review

This policy will be reviewed every six years.

Next review: April 2024.

9) Date of Approval

Approved by the Senior Management Team in April 2018. 

10) Updates

Published 26 June 2018.