Social capital, government policy and public value: implications for archive service delivery

Sarah J. Horton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review how the role of the local authority archive service in the UK has developed, and the implications of the requirement for public sector bodies to demonstrate value in relation to concepts such as social capital, for the way in which services are promoted, evaluated and delivered. Design/methodology/approach – A range of literature (1919-2006) is synthesized to provide a perspective on archive service development, theories of social capital and public value, and government policy, as a means of identifying the implications of current government agendas for archive service delivery. The findings are presented in sections addressing: the context of archive service provision; social capital and government policy; the role of the archive service in meeting government agendas; and the need for services to demonstrate public value. Findings – Provides information about the context of archive service provision, and how services have responded to government agendas within an operational environment which has seen a renewed emphasis on the archive domain within government policy and in terms of structural development since 1997. Considers the applicability of thinking on social capital and public value to service provision. Recognises the implications of the low profile of the archive domain to the capacity of services to demonstrate public value in these terms. Research limitations/implications – Commentary focuses on the local authority context of archive service provision, within England and Wales. Originality/value – Brings together information from different sources in making explicit the need for archive services, as with libraries and museums, to respond to government priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-512
Number of pages11
JournalAslib Proceedings
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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