About the Records at Risk Fund

What is the Records at Risk Fund?

The objective of the Records at Risk Fund is to provide support for urgent, short-notice interventions to secure the acquisition of vulnerable historical records, in both physical and digital formats, that face immediate peril across the United Kingdom. The fund focuses on categories of records unprotected by legislation such as the archives of businesses, charities and private individuals, acknowledging that archive services and custodians may have limited resources to respond to collections at immediate risk.

What do we mean by archives at risk?

These are records of historical value whose future preservation, accessibility and security is made uncertain by urgent reasons. These can include:

  • the impact of physical threats such as environmental issues or damage from flood, fire, pests or sudden loss of storage.
  • the closure of an organisation or an individual’s death. This especially relates to records held outside a recognised heritage organisation or service.

The fund does not exclude records at risk where the organisation or current custodian does not have the capacity to sustainably preserve them in the future.

What will the fund pay for?

The fund can pay for urgent activities to enable the acquisition of the records by an appropriate collecting heritage organisation or service. This can involve securing additional expertise, resources and time to successfully transfer the vulnerable material to safe custody, including:

  • onsite appraisal and survey of records at risk
  • transport costs
  • temporary storage costs
  • conservation and packaging materials
  • emergency conservation work, such as decontamination of damaged records
  • freelance consultant fees

How is the fund financed and managed?

The Records at Risk Fund is financed by contributions from The National Archives, the Archives and Records Association and the British Records Association. The fund is held by the British Records Association and is managed in partnership with The National Archives. A panel of representatives drawn from the archives, heritage and research communities also supports the assessment of applications to the fund.