The Parliamentary Ombudsman visits the National Archives of Malta

The Parliamentary Ombudsman, Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon, made an informative and significant visit to the National Archives of Malta in Rabat.

The Ombudsman was greeted by Dr Charles J. Farrugia, the National Archivist, who guided Judge Zammit McKeon through the impressive and extensive archival collections with documents dating back to the 1530s up to the present day.

As part of the tour, Dr Farrugia explained the integral role and responsibilities of the National Archives in safeguarding the collective memory of the Maltese nation.

He highlighted the Archives’ duty to preserve and make accessible public records, maintain the National Register of Archives, inspect recordkeeping practices within public offices, acquire private records of national significance, and promote professional training for archivists and records managers.

Dr Farrugia also addressed the challenges faced by the National Archives, primarily the need for a centralised location outfitted with modern preservation technologies and the pressing need to shift perceptions towards the recognition of public records as citizens’ records.

Currently, the National Archives operates from four locations, including the Head Office in Rabat, the Court Tribunals Section in Mdina, the Gozo Section in Vajringa Street Victoria, and the Notarial Registers Archive in Valletta

Following the tour, the Ombudsman expressed his gratitude to Dr Farrugia and his team for their work, professionalism and dedication to protecting the National Archives for the future generations as a vital part of the cultural heritage country. He emphasised the role of the National Archives as a democratic institution.  He highlighted the importance of the preservation and access of public service documents to ensure transparency, accountability, and respect for the rights of all.

The visit was concluded with the signing by the Ombudsman and the National Archivist of a Retention Policy for the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The document will ensure that the records of the Office of the Ombudsman are appraised correctly and that historically significant documents are transferred to the National Archives for long-term preservation.

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