Governance and staffing policy

Aim of Policy

To produce an integrated policy for the governance and management of the Churchill Archives Centre, and to identify and link to all related procedures.

The objectives of the Governance and Staffing policy are:

  • to provide a clear statement on how the Archives Centre is governed and staffed
  • to ensure that the relevant Committees, Trusts and staff act in accordance with their terms of reference and do not exceed their authority
  • to provide accurate information to depositors, donors and other stakeholders

This policy is subordinate to the Churchill Archives Centre Mission Statement which can be viewed on-line at Mission Statement – Churchill Archives Centre (

1. Background

Churchill College started collecting modern personal papers in the late 1960s with a view to founding a research institute on site.  The Churchill Archives Centre was established in 1973 as a repository within Churchill College, Cambridge, for the preservation of and provision of access to the personal papers of Sir Winston Churchill and other prominent figures of the Churchill era, which quickly became “the Churchill era and beyond”. The collecting policy and a summary of the history of the Churchill Archives Centre can be viewed on the Centre’s website. At the Governing Body meeting of 15 March 2013, the College formally approved the following explicit statement of support:

Churchill College, in the University of Cambridge, views the Churchill Archives Centre as an integral part of the College and guarantees the long term future of the Archives Centre and its unique collections. The College maintains the buildings and fabric of the Churchill Archives Centre to the appropriate standards, and will continue to protect and invest dedicated endowment funds so that they can be used to underwrite the activities of the Centre.

2. Governance

The Churchill Archives Centre is part of Churchill College, Cambridge, itself part of the University of Cambridge and a registered charity (no: 1137476), regulated by the Charity Commission. The Director of the Archives Centre is appointed by the College, is ex-officio a Fellow of the College, and makes a report annually to the Governing Body of Churchill College. The Director also reports on a termly basis to the College’s Archives Committee, of which he is ex-officio a member. Archives Committee is an appointed sub committee of College Council (the Council acts as the trustee body for Churchill College for the purposes of its charitable status). The committee plays the role of both a board of scrutiny and an expert advisory board for the Archives Centre, and complex decisions regarding the running of the Centre and the management of its collections can be referred to the committee for adjudication and ratification, and thence upwards to College Council in the event of non agreement. The Churchill Papers collection is administered for the nation by the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust, while parts of the Margaret Thatcher archive remain in the ownership of the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust. Decisions relating to these papers need to be taken by these Trusts (see section 4 below).

The Director and senior professional team of the Archives Centre are responsible for producing and updating and implementing a strategy which is approved by the Archives Committee.

The day to day running of the Archives Centre is delegated by the College, through Governing Body, College Council and the Archives Committee, to the Director and senior professional staff of the Churchill Archives Centre. The Director and the senior professional team are responsible for running the Centre in accordance with its approved policies, procedures and practices.

3. Funding

The Archives Centre is funded primarily by its own endowments but also receives support from Churchill College, directly by grant, and indirectly by assistance from College computing, housekeeping and maintenance services. Funds for its core activities and staffing are protected within the College accounts where the Centre has its own endowment and discretionary funds. The Centre receives an annual grant from the Churchill College Archives Trust (an independent charity, no: 273633), which exists purely to administer an endowment fund, and also receives support from the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust and the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust, at the discretion of the relevant trustees (see section 4 below). The Director liaises with the Bursar of Churchill College over the annual budget, which is then approved by the Finance Committee as part of the College budget, and a summary of the Centre’s finances is reported to the Archives Committee and the Governing Body as part of the Centre’s annual report. The Director is responsible for overseeing major fundraising for the Archives Centre and for grant applications, and liaises closely with the Master, Bursar and Development Officer of Churchill College, and with the relevant University offices and officers.

The Archives Centre has an Advisory board, an informal network of Patrons and a Friends appeal. Financial donors to the Archives Centre do not have a formal role in the governance of the Archives Centre, other than in the case of the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust and Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust (as specified below), though they will routinely be consulted about the allocation of their funds, and where funds have been accepted for a specific purpose the Archives Centre will administer and account for the money separately, and meet any agreed reporting requirements. Large or controversial requests for funding will be referred to the College’s ethics committee, and the Archives Centre is committed to following ethical guidelines introduced by Churchill College and the University of Cambridge.

4. Ownership of Collections

The personal papers of Sir Winston Churchill are owned by the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust (an independent charity, no: 1045646) and deposited by agreement with the University and the College. Some of the personal papers of Baroness Thatcher are owned by the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust (an independent charity, no: 1061822) and deposited by agreement with the College. In both cases the trustees approve, monitor and advise on work programmes for the owned collection, which are carried out by the staff of the Archives Centre. Most of the remaining collections are either owned by, or on long term loan to, Churchill College.

The Archives Centre currently hosts the British Diplomatic Oral History Programme (BDOHP), a programme run with the approval of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to interview retiring senior diplomats and to make their interviews available on-line. The programme has an external Director, and the interviews are conducted, transcribed and vetted by the BDOHP team but the staff of the Churchill Archives Centre administer the programme and publish the final transcripts.

The Archives Centre has offered occasional storage to other organisations on a temporary basis. Such arrangements are governed by the terms of the specific agreements in place between the College and the particular partner.

5. Staffing

The staffing levels and structure of the Archives Centre are set by the Director, subject to the approval of the Bursar and confirmation of the available financial resources. The College is committed to maintaining a professional team capable of meeting the preservation and cataloguing needs of the collections in its care (to the standards set out in the Conservation and Preservation, Cataloguing and Collection Processing, and Access Policy and Service Delivery Charter ). This means employing professional archivists and conservators, who have achieved a relevant and recognised postgraduate qualification. All staff of the Churchill Archives Centre are employees of Churchill College, and subject to the terms and conditions, benefits, policies and procedures set out in their individual contracts of employment, and in the Staff Handbook.

The Churchill Archives Centre has a commitment to supporting professional development and training, subject always to available resources and to the constraints of the particular job. This is monitored on an annual individual basis through the College appraisal process, which sets work and training objectives.

The Centre has defined procedures for recording and administering the presence of contractors and volunteers on site.

The Churchill Archives Centre has a commitment to providing a safe working environment for all staff, contractors and volunteers.

Reviewed by: Allen Packwood
Date: September 2023
Date of next review: October 2024