Creating Archival Legislation in a Federal State: The Case of Flanders
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Creating Archival Legislation in a Federal State: The Case of Flanders

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Creating Archival Legislation in a Federal State: The Case of Flanders

Creating Archival Legislation in a Federal State: The Case of Flanders
Bart Severi

Archives without borders
August, 30th 2010
Peace Palace, The Hague

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Creating Archival Legislation in a Federal State: The Case of Flanders Creating Archival Legislation in a Federal State: The Case of Flanders Presentation Transcript

  • Creating Archival Legislation in a Federal State The Case of Flanders
  • Overview
    • The Need for New Archival Legislation
    • The Political Path to a Decree on Archives
    • Key Success Factors during the Lawmaking Process
    • A Creative Process of Lawmaking
    • Fundamental Choices
  • The Need for New Archival Legislation
    • Outdated Federal Law (1955)
      • inaccurate reflection of Belgian political structure
      • mandatory transfer after 100 years
      • no lifecycle of records perspective
      • no sanctioned inspection mechanism
      • general sense of confusion, e.g.:
        • tension between privacy and public access
        • diversity of access tariffs
  • The Political Path to a Decree on Archives
    • Numerous failed attempts
    • Three major phases from Flemish perspective:
      • 1970-1994: attempting to modernize the Federal Law on Archives
      • 1994-2007: consulting with the Federal Government
      • 2007-2010: taking initiative to create own legislation
  • 1970-1994: attempting to modernize the Federal Law
    • Several bills to amend the Law
      • E.g. Hugo Marsoul (1992)
      • cancelled due to insufficient political consensus
  • 1994-2007: consulting with the Federal Government
    • Change of tactics:
      • wg of Senators and MPs called for formalized cooperation between Federal and regional parliaments
      •  deemed necessary because Federal Government did no longer have sole authority to change this law
      • E.g. Hugo Marsoul (1993): draft Flemish decree:
        • focus on taking up Flemish powers
        • urge for formal cooperation with Federal Government
      • several attempts to start talks
        • but always postponed
  • 2007-2010: taking initiative to create own legislation
    • MP’s urged Flemish Govt to create own decree
    • formal cooperation with Federal Govt no longer considered prerequisite
    • 2007: Flemish Govt installs wg
      • resulting in the Decree of 9 juli 2010
    • But: Federal initiatives succeeded as well
      •  old Law was modernized
  • Key Success Factors during the Lawmaking Process
    • Federal Law:
      • government backing was crucial
      • in a Programme Law: minimal political discussion
    • Flemish Decree:
      • matured self-consciousness
      • government backing
      • vitality of the field
      • increased expertise in administration
  • A Creative Process of Lawmaking
    • Better regulation:
      • regulatory impact assessment (RIA)
    • Systematic approach:
      • context analysis: 8 problematic fields
      • roadmap: strategic options
      • preparation stage: collecting data and expertise
        • desktop research
        • original research: large-scale survey of 600 public bodies
        • expert panels
        • external methodological guidance
      • impact assessment: costs and effects of options
      • consultation of stakeholders
      • political decision
  • Fundamental Choices
    • No mandatory transfer
      • extremely common worldwide
      • seen as a guarantee for proper conservation
      •  each public body is responsible: archiefzorg (< subsidiarity ); archiefbeheer can be outsourced
  • Fundamental choices
    • No obligation to destruct records
      • appraisal and selection put under govt control
      • public bodies can choose to keep records longer
    • Form of new supporting organization
      • internal, govt-controlled
      • not: external, govt-sponsored
      •  archiefzorg is quintessential task for public bodies
  • Fundamental choices
    • No charges for access
      • but charging for services is possible
    • Publication of finding aids in a central db
    • Privileged access for researchers
      • to non-public archives
      • < 2006: open letter from the professional field
      • only ‘scientific’ purposes, no ‘commercial’ or genealogical
  • The Decree and beyond