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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Governance and policy

Information about the legislation, management and policies that govern the archive service at Durham County Record Office.

Mission statement

Durham County Record Office collects, conserves, secures and makes accessible historical records relating to County Durham and Darlington to enable learning and education, business operations, local accountability, and personal enrichment.


Durham County Record Office is part of the Resources Service Grouping at Durham County Council.

Management of the Record Office transferred from the former Adults, Wellbeing and Health service to the Assistant Chief Executive's Office (ACE) in 2012. ACE was renamed Transformation and Partnerships (TAP) in June 2016. Under the realignment of TAP services in December 2019 the archive service transferred to Resources. 

For more information see the Council structure page on the Durham County Council website.


Durham County Record Office provides the official archive service for Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council under a number of pieces of legislation, including:

Public Records Act 1958

Durham County Record Office is appointed as a place of deposit for public records and is inspected by The National Archives to ensure compliance.

Local Government (Records) Act 1962

This Act confers discretionary powers for local authorities to provide an archives service.

Local Government Act 1972

This Act requires local authorities to 'make proper arrangements with respect to any documents that belong to or are in the custody of the Council or any of their officers'. In 1999, the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions issued guidance as to what was meant by 'proper arrangements'.

Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978

This measure governs the inspection and care of parish records. The Diocese of Durham has appointed Durham County Record Office as the place of deposit for parish records.

An inspection of all parishes in the Diocese of Durham is carried out every five years under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978.

Archive Service Accreditation 

Archive Accreditation logo
Durham County Record Office is an Accredited Archive Service.

Accredited Status was awarded by The National Archives in July 2018 (accreditation number 2018-21).

About Archive Service Accreditation


These policies describe how we manage our archive collections, our organisational responsibilities and our commitment to archive service users.

Access policy

How we provide access to our archive collections.

Access Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 223kb)

Agreement for the deposit of records

About the conditions of loan, storage, access and use of records deposited in the archives.

Durham County Record Office agreement for the deposit of records (PDF, 159kb)

Appraisal policy

How we ensure that we preserve permanently as archives only records of evidential and historical value to County Durham and Darlington, and what criteria and standards we use.

Appraisal Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 220kb)

Collecting policy

About the records we collect and the conditions, legislation and guidance for their acceptance.

Collecting Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 220kb)

Collections care and conservation policy

About the strategic approach to caring for and conserving our archive collections, and the principles guiding conservation activities necessary for long-term preservation and security.

Collections Care and Conservation Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 272kb)

Collections development policy

How we liaise with existing archive owners and donors, external organisations and communities to ensure that existing collections grow, and we acquire new collections that are representative and worth preserving.

Collections Development Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 232kb)

Collections information policy

About our accession register, cataloguing, finding aids and document locations information.

Collections Information Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 225kb)

Collections management policy

How and why we acquire, preserve, develop and facilitate access to the collections in our care.

Collections Management Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 211kb) 

Copying policy

About the principles guiding permission to copy and permission to publish archives in our collections.

Copying Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 203kb)

Customer care standards

What to expect when you visit us, contact us, visit our website, ask us to do research for you, order copies, attend one of our events or ask us to participate in an event run by you.

Customer Care Standards 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 238kb)

Deaccessioning policy

How we appraise and dispose of unwanted records.

Deaccessioning Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 215kb)

Digital preservation policy

How we ensure that our born-digital archives remain authentic and accessible in the medium and long-term.

Digital Preservation Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 276kb)

Digitisation policy

How our digitisation programme helps to preserve archives, widen access, especially online, enhance our learning offer and, where possible and appropriate, generate income to help care for the archives. 

Digitisation Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 202kb)

Learning and outreach policy

How we aim to provide innovative and effective learning and outreach activities for a wide and diverse audience, onsite, off-site and online, supporting schools and communities and forming effective partnerships.

Learning and Outreach Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 217kb)

Volunteering policy

How we work with volunteers.

Volunteering Policy 2021 to 2024 (PDF, 210kb)