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Ulster Historical Foundation

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 25 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much funding has been provided to the Ulster Historical Foundation in each financial year since 2000-01; what consultation was carried out on the level of funding; and whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of all documents relating to any such consultation. [HL3185]

Funding provided to the Ulster Historical Foundation by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure was: £125,000 in 2000-01; £137,000 in 2001-02; £90,000 in 2002-03; £33,000 in 2003-04; £62,000 in 2004-05; £38,000 in 2005-06; £38,000 in 2006-07.

The DCAL museums budget is included in the annual priorities and budget consultation process. Information on this can be accessed at www.pfgbudgetni.gov.uk.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they propose to take to develop relations between the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Ulster Historical Foundation. [HL3188]

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is committed to working in partnership with others where there are opportunities to help deliver an improved service both on and off-site which PRONI is currently exploring. A wide range of genealogical research organisations of a commercial and non-commercial nature exist both within Northern Ireland and elsewhere with which PRONI might collaborate.

As a division of a government department, PRONI cannot be seen to develop close relations with any one commercial genealogy research organisation such as the Ulster Historical Foundation, or to give one commercial organisation a potential advantage over another. Any proposals to commercial organisations are on the basis of open competition and any proposals from commercial organisations are judged on merit as to what benefits would accrue to PRONI.

Currently, PRONI advertises the services of all commercial genealogy organisations, including the Ulster Historical Foundation, by means of a leaflet which is available within PRONI and which is sent to all enquirers who want a comprehensive genealogy service which PRONI cannot provide. This information is also available on the PRONI website. The Ulster Historical Foundation, like any other commercial genealogy organisation which chooses to use this service, benefits from free publicity through PRONI. Also, each year PRONI supports the annual conference of the Ulster Historical Foundation by providing one or two speakers and is host to delegates who attend. In terms of promoting genealogy, PRONI and the Ulster Historical Foundation are working together, for example at the Smithsonian Festival in Washington this summer.

It should be noted that PRONI's counterparts in the National Archives in London and the National Archives of Scotland have no formal relations with commercial research bodies such as the Ulster Historical Foundation for exploiting and promoting their resources.