A Framework for Person-Centred Recordkeeping Drawn through the Lens of Out-of-Home Child-Care Contexts

  • Elizabeth Lomas
  • Elizabeth Shepherd
  • Victoria Hoyle
  • Anna Sexton
  • Andrew Flinn


This article examines the concept of co-created and person-centred recordkeeping and the needs for this in out-of-home child-care contexts, drawing out a recordkeeping framework. The article uses the research of the UK MIRRA (Memory – Identity – Rights in Records – Access) project as its critical evidence base. MIRRA is a participatory research project, hosted at the Department of Information Studies at University College London (UCL) since 2017, which places Care Leavers as co-researchers at the heart of the work. The study has gathered evidence from care-experienced people, social workers, archivists, records managers, and researchers. The case context of care-experienced people provides a powerful focus for shifting views of records creation and ownership. Care-experienced people across the globe are situated within organizational systems that act as surrogate parents, but where the children or young people are often powerless to co-create and store their own memories, which would enable them to forge positive identities and revisit these through time. Positive and holistic life story narratives are rarely found. In addition, children’s care records are often accessible to care-experienced people only through legislative processes and without critical support. This research reframes the recordkeeping model, placing the care-experienced person at the heart of the process in order to ensure the co-creation of records and the maintenance of identity through time. The research acknowledges the complex and sometimes conflicting needs of diverse actors in children’s recordkeeping, including social workers, archivists, records managers, and researchers. It rethinks the actors’ relationships and responsibilities around the records and systems, drawing out a framework that makes explicit the value of active person-centred recordkeeping.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Lomas

Elizabeth Lomas is an associate professor in information governance in the Department of Information Studies at University College London (UCL). She is Chair of the UK and Ireland Forum for Archives and Records Management Education and Research. Her research interests focus on shifting perspectives on information rights and delivering empowered recordkeeping processes. She is the policy lead on the MIRRA project. In addition, she is currently working on a number of funded international information change projects. She is a co-editor of the international Records Management Journal and a member of the ISO standards records management and privacy technologies committees.

Elizabeth Shepherd

Elizabeth Shepherd is a professor of archives and records management in the Department of Information Studies at UCL and Head of Department. Her research interests are in rights in records, links between records management and information policy compliance, and government administrative data including the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded project with care-experienced co-researchers, MIRRA. She serves on editorial boards for key journals and served on the UK national research assessment panels for Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008, Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, and REF 2021. She has published numerous articles and (with Geoffrey Yeo) the best-selling book Managing Records: A Handbook of Principles and Practice (Facet Publishing, 2003).

Victoria Hoyle

Victoria Hoyle is a lecturer in public history and Director of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past at York University. Her research engages with 20th- and 21st-century histories of health and social care using participatory and co-productive action methodologies. She was the Research Associate on the MIRRA project at UCL from 2017 to 2019. Her current project explores the ways in which histories of child sexual abuse have been constructed and presented in the context of transitional justice processes in Britain and Ireland. Her book The Remaking of Archival Values will be published by Routledge in 2022.

Anna Sexton

Anna Sexton is Programme Director for the MA in Archives and Records Management at UCL, leading on introducing the students to recordkeeping theory that draws on interdisciplinary perspectives. Her PhD research was in the documentation of lived experience of mental health, and her broader research interests include participatory approaches, friendship as research method, and social justice–oriented recordkeeping, particularly in health and social care contexts. She was previously Head of Research at The National Archives, UK. She is currently a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded MIRRA+ project and Deputy Director of the AHRC London Arts & Humanities Partnership.

Andrew Flinn

Andrew Flinn is an archival and oral history reader at UCL. He is a trustee of the British Library’s National Life Stories, vice-chair of the UK Community Archives and Heritage Group, a member of International Council on Archives’ Archival Education Steering Committee, and co-leader of the Archives Gothenburg/UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studies. His research interests include independent and community-based archival practices, archival activism and social justice, and participatory approaches to knowledge production aiming at social change and transformation. Recent publications include (with Wendy M. Duff, Renée Saucier, and David A. Wallace) Archives, Recordkeeping and Social Justice and (with Jeannette A. Bastian) Community Archives, Community Spaces: Heritage, Memory and Identity.

How to Cite
Lomas, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Shepherd, Victoria Hoyle, Anna Sexton, and Andrew Flinn. 2022. “A Framework for Person-Centred Recordkeeping Drawn through the Lens of Out-of-Home Child-Care Contexts”. Archivaria 94 (December), 64-93. https://archivaria.ca/index.php/archivaria/article/view/13865.