The SAA Council approved on September 18 creation of a new Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy to “provide strategic information and advice to the SAA Council to enhance SAA’s capacity to address public policy issues and concerns affecting archivists, archives, the archival profession, and its stakeholders.”
“The new committee provides for both a broader scope of interest and activity (i.e., beyond government affairs to include public policy issues and concerns) and broader participation by members in SAA’s advocacy infrastructure,” said SAA President Danna Bell. CAPP replaces the Government Affairs Working Group, which was disbanded with thanks.
The scope and description for the new committee was developed based on the original Government Affairs Working Group’s charge, a scan of other professional associations’ public policy committee descriptions, and an iterative review by the group of individuals who drafted the charge. Chaired by SAA Vice President/President-Elect Kathleen Roe, the group comprised Frank Boles and Barbara Teague (members of the Government Affairs Working Group, Jeremy Brett (chair of the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable), Debbie Davendonis-Todd (a representative of the Congressional Papers Roundtable), and Council member Tanya Zanish-Belcher.
Creation of the group supports SAA’s ambitious new Strategic Plan, which includes in Goal 1: “Educate and influence decision makers about the importance of archives and archivists.” Among other responsibilities, CAPP will recommend public policy priorities on which SAA should focus its attention and resources (see SAA’s Advocacy Agenda), draft position papers and issue briefs, and track public policy issues.
Roe will be appointing individuals to serve on CAPP. To volunteer, watch for the Call for Volunteers on the SAA website in mid-October.
The Committee’s purpose is to provide strategic information and advice to the SAA Council to enhance SAA’s capacity to address public policy issues and concerns affecting archivists, archives, the archival profession, and its stakeholders. The Committee recommends to the SAA Council the public policy priorities on which SAA should focus its attention and resources, within the context of the Society’s mission and strategic plan. Although the Committee's purview is broad, its overarching priorities are issues related to the preservation of and access to records of enduring value that affect archivists, archival institutions, and users of the archival record.
II. Committee Selection, Size, and Length of Term:
The Committee consists of eight members. Six members are appointed by the SAA Vice President for staggered three-year terms; a vice chair and chair serve one-year terms.
The SAA Vice President appoints a vice chair from among the Committee members serving in their third year. That individual serves a fourth year as vice chair and accedes to chair in the fifth year. Individuals may be reappointed to the Committee.
III. Duties and Responsibilities
The Committee has the following duties and responsibilities:
A. Acting proactively, the Committee:
- Periodically reviews and suggests (for Council approval) revisions to SAA’s Advocacy Agenda.
- Prepares drafts, for Executive Committee or Council approval, of position papers, statements, issue briefs, and other documents related to public policy issues, seeking input from members and experts (including component groups) as appropriate and feasible.
- Tracks legislative, regulatory, and other public policy issues that are of concern to archivists so that the Council is prepared to address the issues in a knowledgeable manner.
- Brings to the Council's attention areas in which collaboration with other organizations may advance the Society's public policy interests and, under Council direction or with its approval, cooperates with such organizations in furthering SAA's interests.
B. Acting in response to requests or events, the Committee:
- Responds in a timely fashion to requests from the President (acting on behalf of the Council) or the Executive Director for background information and recommendations on matters related to public policy issues.
- Develops and coordinates strategies for the Council and SAA to use in responding rapidly and appropriately to public policy issues or situations that require SAA comment and/or action.
- Prepares position statements and issue briefs on high-priority topics for approval by the Council.
- Collaborates with SAA component groups to ensure that the Committee and the Council are aware of and responsive to the advocacy and public policy issues that are of concern to members.
The Committee works closely with the President, its Council Liaison, and the Executive Director to ensure that it is responsive to the Council's needs and is working in coordination with the staff office. In certain cases, when time is of the essence, Committee communications with the President and Executive Director may be discussed and acted upon solely by the Executive Committee.
Approved by the SAA Council: September 18, 2013