About Us

Aims of the Health Archives and Records Group (HARG)

Activities of HARG

Joining the Health Archives and Records Group

HARG administrative papers

The aims of the Health Archives and Records Group (HARG) are to:

Our activities

The Group's activities are led by a committee, which currently consists of 8 members, including a Chair, acting membership secretary, and minutes secretary.

Current activities of the Group include:

HARG also convenes ad-hoc sub-groups to take forward work on areas of pressing concern. These are led by a committee member, but membership of them is open to all members. There are currently three such groups:

If you are interested taking part in any of the groups please contact the HARG membership secretary, Colin Gale.

Records Management sub-group
This group undertakes activities in relation to records management of corporate, administrative, and health records within health sector organisations.

HARG, then HAG, previously produced a template Records Management Policy. Now, this sub-group has brought together example documents from health organisations that can be viewed on this website, which are intended to help other public sector / non-profit organisations. Including policies, retention schedules, electronic records management, records centre, and other guidance.

Research value of health records and archives sub-group
The Research Value Sub-group exists to support, justify and promote the benefits of research using health records and archives.

It was formed in response to the concerns of HARG members about the following issues:
1)         Legislative and administrative pressures to destroy health records at the earliest opportunity.
2)         Lack of awareness of the research potential of health records and the possible benefits of research by both researchers and health    administrators.
3)         Increasing pressure to widen the user-base of health archives to non-traditional / non-academic users.

Ideas for future initiatives include:
1)         Pooling members' knowledge to map the existing research use of health archives.
2)         Collecting and sharing innovative audience development ideas.
3)         Collecting information and opinion from the research community as to how they use archives, and whether they feel the right records are being selected for permanent preservation.
4)         Producing appraisal best-practice guidance for archivists and others with responsibility for archives to help in determining long-term research potential. 

In July 2006 the Group responded on behalf of HARG to the Cooksey Review of UK Health Research.

In 2007, archival appraisal had been the main topic of discussion for the group. The current NHS Code of Practice has the bare minimum retention period with the concession that some records may have archival value. The group is hoping to create guidance for the long term retention of records. The group have created a discussion paper looking at the research purposes to balance the need for appraisal. This paper is available on request. The group is also looking at the advocacy for long term preservation.

Website sub-group
The website sub-group was established to create and scope a website for the Group and to develop content for it.

Joining the Health Archives and Records Group

Membership of HARG is free and involves no formal commitment. Members come from a wide range of backgrounds and organisations; membership is not restricted to archivists, people working in the NHS, or members of the Society of Archivists.

Benefits of membership

If you are interested in joining HARG, please contact the membership secretary, Colin Gale.

HARG administrative papers