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Digital History and Government Recordkeeping

On the 21 June History & Policy organised a special online round table discussion on Digital History and Government Recordkeeping. An expert panel considered a range of questions including: 
 

  1. What opportunities do digital history techniques - from tailored search interfaces to data visualisations - offer historians interested in government records?   
  2. To what extent are digital recordkeeping practices - such as the guidance from the National Archives and the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice – informing recordkeeping and shaping the archives of the future? 
  3. How far can automation and AI be relied upon to identify, file and preserve public records more effectively than human members of staff? 
  4. Will the shift towards the born-digital and ephemeral in the materials generated by the government change the ways in which official histories are researched and written? 
  5. How might public access to government records be transformed by digital humanities techniques?  
  6. What are the security, data protection and Freedom of Information implications of the shift to digital records in contemporary government, and how might this affect the work of historians?


Speakers:

  • Prof Ulrich Tiedau (Professor of European History and Associate Director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities)
  • Tom Storrar (Head of Web Archiving at the National Archives)
  • Jason Webber (Web Archive Engagement Manager at the British Library and the UK Web Archive)
  • Prof Jane Winters (Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of the Digital Humanities Research Hub at the School of Advanced Study)
  • Sir Alex Allen (Advisory board member at the Oxford Internet Institute, formerly served as the first UK Government e-Envoy) 


Chair: Philip Murphy (Director of History & Policy)


Panel 4: The rivals of Charles Trevelyan in C19th administrative reform

  • Professor Lauren Goodlad (Rutgers University) 
  • Professor Stuart Jones (University of Manchester) 
  • Dr Ian Cawood (University of Stirling)
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Panel 2 - A view from within public service: standards, civil servants and Ministers

Part of the conference held at the University of Sussex on April 8th, 2022: 'Ethics and the Civil Service- Past, Present, and Future'.  

The event brought together historians, political scientists, civil servants, lobbyists and politicians to investigate the factors that lay behind the revelations of poor standards of ethical conduct among senior civil servants in Whitehall in recent scandals such as the Greensill Affair and the ongoing 'Partygate'. The symposium also sought to challenge the persistent myth that traditionally high standards of professional conduct among UK Civil Servants have their roots in the 1854 Northcote-Trevelyan Report and to emphasise that it was the 'modern' Civil Service which administered the British Empire in its final century.

Facilitator:

  • Professor David-Barrett (University of Sussex)

Speakers:

  • Baroness (Gisela) Stuart of Edgbaston - First Commissioner of the UK Civil Service Commission
  • Sir Philip Rutnam (Former Permanent Secretary to the Home Office)
  • Jill Rutter (Institute for Government & King's College, London) Facilitator: Professor David-Barrett (University of Sussex)
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Consulting employees: past, present and future

Consulting employees: past, present and future- Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations: 20 years on (2002-22)

It’s 20 years since the European Union adopted its Directive* on informing and consulting employees across the member states. It became law in the UK in 2005 through the Information and Consultation (ICE) of Employees Regulations, and was phased in to cover all companies with 50 or more workers from 2008, amounting to around 75% of the total workforce.
 
The seminar opens with a brief examination of the role of works councils across Europe, against which the aims of the Directive must be understood. It then explains trade union expectations of the Directive at the time and the current situation across Europe, before leading into more detailed analyses of its implementation and impact in Ireland and the UK. There will be ample time for observations and discussion at the end. 

Speakers:

  • Michael Gold, Chair, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Employment Relations (RHUL)  Origins and significance of the ICE Directive 
  • Aline Conchon, Senior Policy Advisor (industriAll Europe) Union expectations of the ICE Directive and where we are today 
  • Brian McGann, Head of Organisational Development (Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union, SIPTU)  Implementation of the ICE Directive in Ireland 
  • Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary (Unite the Union) Implementation of the ICE Directive in the UK 


*Directive 2002/14/EC of 11 March 2002 on establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community. 

Further reading: Hall, M. and Purcell, J. (2012) Consultation at Work. Regulation and Practice (OUP)

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Above the Law, parliament and public standards

Part of the conference held at the University of Sussex on April 8th, 2022: 'Ethics and the Civil Service- Past, Present, and Future'.

The event brought together historians, political scientists, civil servants, lobbyists and politicians to investigate the factors that lay behind the revelations of poor standards of ethical conduct among senior civil servants in Whitehall in recent scandals such as the Greensill Affair and the ongoing 'Partygate'. The symposium also sought to challenge the persistent myth that traditionally high standards of professional conduct among UK Civil Servants have their roots in the 1854 Northcote-Trevelyan Report and to emphasise that it was the 'modern' Civil Service which administered the British Empire in its final century.

Speaker:

Professor Miles Taylor (Professor of British History & Society, Centre for British Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

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