TNA seeks key hire to help it become a digital archive “by instinct and design”
The National Archives set out its two-year digital strategy earlier this year Credit Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
The National Archives (TNA) is on the lookout for a new head of digital services, with the successful candidate expected to help oversee a “wider digital culture change” right across the organisation.
TNA is the official archive of the UK government, overseen by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and home to official records dating back hundreds of years.
Earlier this year, the TNA launched its two-year Digital Strategy, which set out steps to address the challenges faced by both the organisation and the wider archives sector.
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The Strategy pledged to make TNA “digital by instinct and design”, including by widening the types of digital record the organisation can preserve; engaging more extensively with the software industry and developers; and developing a new storage cost model to help TNA better understand how much data it can afford to keep.
The new head of digital services – who can expect to command a salary of £65,000 a year – will play a leading role in putting the Digital Strategy in place, according to a job specification posted online.
“As a senior leader in the organisation you will also foster a wider cultural change, so we become a digital archive ‘by instinct and design’,” it says.
The successful candidate will be part of TNA’s senior leadership team, responsible for ensuring that the the organisation’s digital services meet GDS Service Standards. They will also be expected to drive the implementation of agile working practices across TNA, “facilitating a wider digital culture change” in the organisation.
The job specification also stresses the need for existing experience as a digital leader, preferably in the public sector or an “archival context or setting”, and says the winning candidate will need a strong “track record of delivering digital services that demonstrably meet user’s needs” and the ability to hold their own at a senior level.
This year’s TNA Digital Strategy outlines some of the issues the new head of digital services will be grappling with in the role, including tackling the ongoing lack of a viable long-term storage solution for digitised records, and plugging digital skills gaps in a hot labour market.
In an interview with PublicTechnology‘s sister site Civil Service World earlier this year, TNA director Carol Tullo said that while the fundamentals of information management in the public sector had remained the same over recent decades, the advent of a digital-first approach presented fresh challenges.
“Yes we communicate in lots of different ways, but if you’re a civil servant you take on a responsibility and a commitment to operate with integrity, and also you have a responsibility to ensure that your decisions and your advice are recorded,” she said.
“We may do that in lots of different ways but we have not seen here in The National Archives any feeling that material is not being recorded. If anything it’s the other end of that spectrum – it’s so easy to keep everything that there’s an awful lot of dross and there’s an enormous amount of material in that digital space. The question is how you curate that and ensure you can search that in the future.”
Candidates for the head of digital post have until July 5th to put themselves forward for the Grade 6 role.