A Framework for Biological Recording in Norfolk (January 2016)

In order to clarify the roles and responsibilities of those involved in biological recording in Norfolk, the Society’s Research Committee has drawn up a framework. The Society welcomes comment on this framework or any other matter relating to biological recording in the County.
Roles and responsibilities of County Recorders
As well as making their own observations, County Recorders should:

  • Receive records from others.
  • Validate these records where possible.
  • Submit records to both NBIS and the appropriate national databases.
  • Publish county records as appropriate.

In addition to the above, many recorders are happy to offer a limited ‘advice service’ (e.g. help with identifications of scarce or difficult species) and to encourage and support those collecting records.
These principles are best presented as a Code of Conduct, and we will be asking all County Recorders to sign up to it.

Code of Conduct for County Recorders

Records must be kept securely.
Records should be maintained in an orderly and structured fashion.
Provision should be made for their transfer to a suitable recipient in the event of the recorder ceasing to be the recorder through ill-heath, death or change of circumstances.
That records received from others must be acknowledged promptly to confirm their safe receipt.

Data Sharing
Recorders will share the data with both local and national bodies (e.g. NBIS, NBN and any relevant national schemes) through appropriate pathways.
Recorders will handle sensitive records with due care and will ensure that such records are flagged accordingly when passed to other national and local bodies.
Where appropriate, information about the status of species within the county should be made available to planners and conservation bodies upon request (although it is envisaged that, if the framework develops as intended, such requests would be made through NBIS or NBN).

Roles and responsibilities of NBIS

NBIS has a key role to play in the proposed framework and is expected to:

  • Provide secure storage of biological records received from County Recorders.
  • Encourage observers to submit records through the County Recorder Network.
  • Host a regular forum for County Recorders.
  • Support and advise County Recorders on IT matters.
  • Operate a Recorders’ Fund to provide support for recording in the County.
  • Offer training for new Recorders.
  • Pass on to Recorders any records received directly from observers, these records to be marked provisional until validated by the County Recorder.

Roles and responsibilities of the Society
The Society will:

  • Provide practical support to County Recorders by, for example, providing printed materials and seeking opportunities to promote biological recording.
  • Help to develop relationships between County Recorders and NBIS.
  • Support and facilitate applications to funding sources for financial support of recorders’ activities.
  • Encourage its members to submit biological records through the County Recorder Network.
  • Seek and appoint new recorders for taxonomic groups currently without an active County Recorder.

To ensure that there are no misunderstandings about roles or responsibilities, written agreements between individual County Recorders and NBIS will be used to clarify expectations. Such agreements would be similar for all recorders but might differ in detail depending on the species group and whether or not a national society is involved. For example, they might address issues such as:

  • How to deal with sensitive and confidential records.
  • The flow of records from third parties to recorders via NBIS.
  • The validation and verification of such records.
  • Supply of records to the NBN Atlas and the control of access.
  • Limiting the number of records supplied in a batch to third parties
  • Loss of income currently received from supplying records to contractors.