Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement

The aim of Gwynedd Archives Service is to protect the archival heritage of the county by collecting, preserving, giving access and promoting the use of the archives to offer experiences that will enrich, inspire, educate as well as enjoy.


Collections Development Policy Aims

The main aims of the policy is to convey how we meet the Service’s purpose of collecting and preserving archives and therefore protecting the county’s archival heritage.  The policy should be read and used alongside the Service’s Forward Plan and other relevant policies.


Statutory and Legal Status of the Service

Gwynedd Archives Service collects in accordance with the powers given under the Local Government Acts 1962 and 1972, and Section 60 of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994.

In accordance with the Scheme made under Section 60 of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 the Service has transferred collections proved to belong to Conwy with the agreement of their depositors.  Such transfer is subject to the overriding principles that the integrity of the archival groups should be preserved as far as possible and practicable.

Gwynedd Archives Service’s Record Offices have been appointed as places of deposit by the Lord Chancellor as repositories for local public records under the Public Records Act 1958.

Gwynedd Archives Service is recognised as a repository for parochial records by the Representative Body of the Church in Wales and to acquire records within the area as defined by its agreement with the Service.

Gwynedd Archives Service is recognised by the Master of the Rolls as an official repository for manorial and tithe records under the Law of Property Act, 1922, the Law of Property (Amendment) Act, 1924 and the Tithe Act, 1936.

Gwynedd Archives Service abides by current archives legislation including:

  • Public Records Act 1958
  • Local Government Act 1962
  • Local Government Act (Wales) 1994
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Environmental Regulations 2004



Scope of collecting

Gwynedd Archives Service will acquire items towards its core collection only if they relate to the historic counties of Caernarfon and Meirionnydd, except for items from outside the area which have a close association with the area or enhance our understanding of Gwynedd.

Documents are defined as hand-written evidence, records in printed form, maps, plans, topographical drawings, photographs, oral evidence, computer generated records, sound, video tapes and films.  Gwynedd Archives Service will collect archives in all these formats that relate to the county of Gwynedd that are deemed as unique and of long term historical value.

The Service will therefore acquire:

  • Gwynedd Council’s own records and those of its predecessors, and any consecutive body.
  • Records of other local authorities and statutory bodies operating within Gwynedd
  • Public Records as offered to the Service under the terms of the Public Records Act
  • Records of organisations, businesses, individuals, and other activities that are relevant to the history of Gwynedd.
  • Ecclesiastical records designated by the Bishops of Bangor and St. Asaph.
  • Records of all other religious denominations operating within Gwynedd.


The Service will not acquire:

  • Records that relate to areas outside of the area as defined above unless:-
    • Such records form an integral part of the collection
    • Where the material adds to specific collections already held
    • Or in exceptional circumstances upon the wishes of the owner and in consultation with any other repository.
    • Duplicate material, unless it is deemed of advantage to the collections held.
    • Photocopies or copy material unless the original no longer exists.
    • Printed or published material unless it complements the collections held.  
    • Artefacts will be directed to the Museums Service, or if received with archival items will be transferred to the Museums Service.


Development of Collections

The Service will not seek to represent any particular historical, sectarian or other viewpoints in its acquisition of records, but to reflect as objectively as possible all aspects of the county’s past and present.

The current collections held have many strengths in particular with regard to industrial, estate and quarter sessions collections. Collections are developed through:

  • Contacting institutions that deposit public records;
  • Contacting incumbents that deposit parochial records;
  • Maintaining contact with existing depositors;
  • Conducting collections surveys that identify gaps within our collections;
  • Contacting local groups and individuals within areas that are under-represented within our collections;
  • Raising awareness through our outreach and education work of gaps within our collections;
  • Collaborate with the Council’s Information Management Unit

Weaknesses to our collections have been identified and the following areas have currently been prioritised:

  • Specific geographical areas are under-represented and we continue to make contacts within these areas in order to receive new acquisitions.
  • Hospital records are under-represented and therefore we have contacted relevant Officers within the NHS and are collaborating to identify material for deposit.
  • The stories of individuals and communities from the 1960’s onwards are under-represented.  Documents and oral histories from this period have been identified as an area where the Service should develop.


Acquisition of Collections

Gwynedd Archives Service will acquire documents by gift, purchase, and on deposit according to the general conditions of the Service’s Condition of Deposit, with any additional conditions negotiated with depositors individually.  The Service will also acquire documents through transfer from the Information Management Unit of Gwynedd Council.


Appraisal and accessioning

All collections are appraised according to the Service’s Appraisal Policy by qualified archival staff prior to being accessioned manually and electronically.



Collections will be catalogued according to the Service’s cataloguing priorities and relevant legislation before being made available for public consultation subject to any requirements of confidentiality and / or the wishes of the depositor. 

Access restrictions on collections or items by private depositors shall be negotiated at the point of deposit in order to ensure that material is publically accessible within a reasonable period of time.



The Service shall adhere to its Appraisal Policy and Conditions of Deposit and will therefore:

  • Evaluate and select for return or destruction any documents not deemed to be worthy of permanent preservation in accordance with the wishes and requirements of depositors.
  • Transfer groups of archives to a more suitable repository if it is felt that the documents and the users of those documents would benefit from their re-location.