Security policy


Wirral Council’s Records Management and Archives services are committed to ensuring the physical security of all records in their care.

The services will undertake all reasonable measures necessary to ensure the records are protected from loss, destruction or damage and that the facility is protected from unauthorised entry.

The services have the following procedures in place in order to manage any potential risk and ensure the security of the records in care:

1. Access

1.1 The Records Management and Archives Facility, based on the Lower Ground Floor of the Cheshire Lines Building in Birkenhead, is protected by 24 hour onsite security. The building is supervised by the onsite Facilities Management staff and designated Complex Manager between the hours of 6am and 10pm. Outside of these hours, Wirral Community Patrol Team staff monitor the security of the building from within the onsite Control Room.

1.2 The public Search Room of Wirral Archives is open to visitors from Monday to Friday, from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The entrance to the Lower Ground Floor is reached from Shore Road through the staff car park, or from Canning Street by the descending the metal steps.

1.3 Access to the two Strong Rooms, the Search Room and the Office of the Records Management and Wirral Archives are restricted to Records Management and Wirral Archives staff. Access is by an electronic swipe-card system. The designated Facilities Manager is also a key holder, and can access the facility in the event of an out-of-hours emergency.

1.4 All entrances and exits to the Records Management and Archives facility are covered by CCTV. The main entrance and public Search Room are monitored by Archives and Records Management staff and all footage is recorded. CCTV on all other entrances and exits are recorded.

2. Environmental monitoring and control

2.1 In order to ensure the long term preservation of all records in its care, the environmental conditions within the Records Management and Archives facility are 2 closely monitored and recorded by a digital system (‘Trend’). Designated staff have the responsibility to monitor these recordings and alert the Records Manager or Archivist to any unusual fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

2.2 The Corporate Records Management and Archives Facility aims to meet the recommendations outlined in BS4971 (2017).

3. Fire detection and suppressant systems

3.1 The Cheshire Lines Building is protected by an automatic fire alarm system with three inter-connected fire panels. The Records Management and Archives facility has Very Early Smoke Detection Alarms (VESDA) and co-incidence detectors linked to the building’s main fire alarm system, which are engineered to trigger the Inergen gas fire suppressant systems (Hygood i3 Advantage) throughout the Records Management and Archives facility. The areas covered include: the staff Office; public Search Room; Technical Services and Archives Service shared store room; Archives strong room (Hall 2); Records Management strong room (Hall 3); and the ceiling void above each of the aforementioned areas.

3.2 The VESDA system has been transferred to a service contract with a minimum service every 12 months.

3.3 The Hygood i3 Advantage system has been transferred to a service contract with a minimum service every 12 months.

3.4 The Facility is visited by the Fire Safety Officer and representative from the local Fire Brigade annually in order to ensure that the systems are in full working order and that the facility meets all fire protection requirements.

3.5 The Records Management and Archives facility is located over a basement, with drainage outlets into the basement area below. If water is introduced into the area (for example, firemen’s hoses on the upper floors), the chances of water damage due to flooding are negligible.

4. Visitors and contractors

4.1 All visitors to Wirral Archives must report to the staff reception in the Search Room on arrival. They will be required to sign the Visitors’ Book if necessary provide a form of identification if they wish to consult items held within the archive collections. They must sign out of the Visitors’ Book when leaving.

4.2 Visitors are required to lock away all bags in the lockers provided.

4.3 All staff, volunteers or contractors working in Archives or Records Management must sign in and out of the appropriate signing-in book, in the Archives Search Room or the Records Management office.

4.4 All visitors to the storage areas or contractors working within the facility must be accompanied by a member of the Archives or Records Management staff at all times.

4.5 Further information relating to the use of Wirral Archives by visitors can be found in the Access Policy and Search Room Policy.

5. Archives and Records Management staff

5.1 All staff working within the Records Management and Archives facility must ensure their ID cards are visible at all times.

5.2 If lone working within the facility, staff should work within the Office and Search Room only.

5.3 If staff are onsite between any of the following hours, they must inform a member of the Facilities Management or Control Room staff:

  • Weekdays - 6:30pm to 8am
  • Saturday to Sunday - 3pm to 8am
  • Sunday to Monday - 8am to 8am

6. Review and monitoring

6.1 This policy will be reviewed by the Records Manager and Archivist every two years, in order to take into consideration any changes in Service.

6.2 Any recommendations for improvement of these policies and procedures will be discussed with the relevant council officers and implemented at the earliest possible opportunity.