Critically Endangered small

Records of independent agencies and contractors that act on behalf of the state in the delivery of public services, and which may be present in many diverse forms, but for which the NGO or contractors may lack the capacity to meet the complex digital preservation requirements that arise, or may have a business motive to minimize or ignore requirements for the maintenance of the record

Group: Public Records

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Towards Greater Risk

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples: Born digital records of small and medium-sized agencies; fasting-changing internal manuals, advice or policies shared on intranets or EDRMS; records of care services; historic guidelines and manuals which evidence 'best practice at the time'; Documentation supporting long-lived contractual relations like Public Finance Initiatives; Organizational Slack channels; network drives; EDRMS; Email

‘’Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of preservation infrastructure; conflation of backup with preservation; loss of authenticity or integrity; Long-lived business processes; poor storage; churn of staff; significant volumes or diversity of data; poorly developed digitization specifications; ill-informed records management; poorly developed migration or normalizations specifications; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials; encryption; political instability; lack of sustained funding; denial of responsibility; failure to include archives within contract from commissioning agency.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Well managed data infrastructure; preservation enabled at the point of creation; carefully managed authenticity; use of persistent identifiers; finding aids; well managed records management processes; application of records management standards; recognition of preservation requirements at highest levels; strategic investment in digital preservation; transfer protocols to public archive; participation in digital preservation community.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a subset of a previous entry for ‘Records of long duration from Local Government or Other Government Agencies’.  The split was intended to allow greater concentration on the challenges that these different types of agency face. Non-governmental organizations typically operates across a broad range of digital formats and services acting on behalf of public sector. The 2020 Jury noted the trend towards greater risk based on 2020 being a year of significant political and economic upheaval, putting additional strain on NGOs in these circumstances already vulnerable records are likely to be at greater risk. The 2021 Jury similarly agree with the continuation of this trend over the last year. They additionally noted examples like Grenfell to demonstrate the precarity of records of non-governmental agencies, especially when these risks overlap with those of local government, resulting significance and impact of loss, impetus for action and call to governing frameworks where failing in enforcement for these agencies (e.g. examining current recordkeeping regimes keeping them accountable).

Additional Jury Comments

Case Studies or Examples:

  • The Grenfell Tower fire and Grenfell Tower Inquiry illustrate the precarity of local government records, especially when third-party contractors are involved. Not only does it show the potential impact of aggravating conditions for Records of Local Government, but it also applies to those of Records of Non-Governmental Agencies. See: https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/

  • There can be some grey areas depending on the legislative context. The Public Records Scotland Act 2011, for example, covers government agencies and any non-government org contracted to do work on behalf of government agencies, online at https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/record-keeping/public-records-scotland-act-2011


Scroll to top