A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the findings of the survey of distance users which we participated in earlier this year. I also promised to provide more information about the forthcoming PSQG (Public Sector Quality Group) Survey of Visitors to British Archives.
The PSQG Survey of Visitors to British Archives is carried out approximately every 18 months. It provides a detailed insight into the views of users about our service provision and the value of archives generally. It also provides a base to benchmark against other similar services, as the survey is carried out on a national basis.
The BPMA will be participating in the survey from 29 October-10 November inclusive. During this time all visitors to our Search Room will be asked to complete a survey. Participation is completely voluntary but all responses help us assess where we are doing well, and how we can continue to improve the services we offer to you. All responses are anonymous and a box will be provided to enable completed surveys to be returned discretely.
The last PSQG Survey of Visitors to British Archives was conducted in March 2011 and responses were generally very positive. At that time 100% of users rated our overall service as very good or good.
Areas highlighted for improvement in 2011 included the website, visitor facilities, catalogues and guides, onsite computer facilities, copy services, and pre visit information. Since then we have launched a new website which has received very positive feedback. The new website includes more detailed information to assist users with preparing for their visits, as well as a number of completely new pages. We have also introduced public wifi access in our Search Room, and have upgraded our public computer terminals. We have invested in a new book scanner which produces high quality images which can be saved, avoiding the need to scan the material again. In July 2011 our appointment records went online with www.ancestry.co.uk, improving access to the collection and enabling users to confirm their ancestor’s employment with the Post Office before visiting. We have also continued our programme of cataloguing both the archive and museum collections.
Visitor facilities are an area where we always have slightly lower scores. We are aware that many of our users would like more refreshment facilities. Unfortunately in our current location we simply do not have sufficient space or footfall to accommodate these facilities. However we have taken this feedback on board and hope to incorporate improved refreshment facilities in our new centre.
Having worked hard over the past 18 months to respond to your feedback last time round, we are now keen to know if you like the changes we have made, and what else you would like to see improved. If you do visit our Search Room during the survey period (29 October-10 November) please do take the time to complete one of our surveys. If you are unable to visit during this period, but have any feedback please do feel free to use the feedback option on our website.
Helen Dafter – Archivist