Record transfers at The National Archives

FOI request reference: F0048520
Publication date: April 2017

Request

1) Who monitors State compliance with Section 3 (1) of the Public Records Act 1958?
2) Is there available, a breakdown by department of those 1990 files which were exempt under section 3(4)?
3) Is there a breakdown by department of those 1990 files which were subject to query by the Advisory Council?
4) How often, in the last three years has the Secretary of State declined to follow the advice of the Advisory Council?
5) Re the Security Service – how many files were sent to Kew under Section 3(1) of the Act and for how many was exemption claimed under Section 3(4)?
6) I refer to the article written by Ian Cobain of the Guardian in October 2013. How many files relating to Northern Ireland are still at Swadlincote? When will the files relating to 1989 and 1990 be processed?
7) How many files have been transferred to PRONI pursuant to Section 12 of the 1958 Act?
8) I would like to engage in correspondence with Kew and with the Advisory Council about documents which might assist my research. To whom do I write?

Outcome

Successful

Response

1) Who monitors State compliance with Section 3 (1) of the Public Records Act 1958?

State compliance with Section 3(1) of the Public Records Act 1958 is monitored by The National Archives.

The National Archives has published compliance data, supplied by departments that transfer records to us, on the volume and transfer status of the records they hold.

This data is contained within our Record Transfer Reports. Please use the following link to access these reports.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/our-role/transparency/record-transfer-report/

2) Is there available, a breakdown by department of those 1990 files which were exempt under section 3(4)?

After searching our online catalogue, Discovery, we have identified some retained records with covering dates which include 1990 which have been retained under section 3(4) of the Public Records Act 1958.

Please use the following link to access this information.

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_aq=%2A&_col=0&_dss=date&_sd=1990&_ro=any&_hb=tna&_cs=R&_st=adv

Further information which The National Archives holds within our business records pertaining to government records which have been retained under section 3(4) of the act is not searchable via individual years. Applications for these records are filed under department name and record reference. To perform a manual search in order to identify retained records from 1990 files would exceed the cost limit provision under section 12 of the Act.  For more information on section 12 please see the explanatory annex.

Information pertaining to 1990 files which have been retained under section 3(4) will be held by the transferring government departments. We will not be forwarding your request so you will need to contact them directly.

3) Is there a breakdown by department of those 1990 files which were subject to query by the Advisory Council?

Information which The National Archives holds pertaining to records which have been queried by the Advisory Council is not searchable via individual years. This information is filed according to the specific Advisory Council quarterly meeting in which the closure application was heard. This information also includes details of retention applications and subsequent queries which the Council processed in such meetings. Queries relating to 1990 records could have been received as far back as 1991.

To perform a manual search in order to identify queried records from 1990 files would entail searching records created from 104 meetings of the Advisory Council spanning 26 years. Such a search would exceed the cost limit provision under section 12 of the Act.  For more information on section 12 please see the explanatory annex.

The Advisory Council publishes annual reports which provide an overview of the queries it raised during the year. PPlease use the following link to access these reports.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/our-role/advisory-council/

4) How often, in the last three years has the Secretary of State declined to follow the advice of the Advisory Council?

In the past three calendar years (2014-2016), on no occasion has the Secretary of State declined to follow the advice of the Advisory Council.

5) Re the Security Service – how many files were sent to Kew under Section 3(1) of the Act and for how many was exemption claimed under Section 3(4)?

I can confirm that the Security Service transfers records of historical value to The National Archives, in line with section 3.1 of the Public Records Act. The records that are transferred to TNA from the Security Service go into the KV letter code on our catalogue – Discovery – link below:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C280

There are over 5,500 pieces on Discovery in the various KV series.

All records of the Security Service are covered by the Security and Intelligence Instrument – see link below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/signed-instrument-for-the-retention-of-public-records

The Instrument authorises the Security Service to retain its records for longer than 30-years. 30-years being the period by which records of historical value should be transferred to The National Archives (the 30-year rule is in the process of being phased down to 20-years over a 10-year period). This is in line with section 3(4) of the Public Records Act 1958.

The Instrument gives the Security Service the legal authority to retain all of its records. It therefore does not need to apply on an individual basis for records that it wishes to retain. Owing to this, The National Archives does not hold statistics on the number of records that the Security Service retain under section 3(4) of the Act.

6) I refer to the article written by Ian Cobain of the Guardian in October 2013. How many files relating to Northern Ireland are still at Swadlincote? When will the files relating to 1989 and 1990 be processed?

This information is not held by The National Archives. Please redirect your query to the Ministry of Defence. We will not be forwarding your request so you will need to contact them directly at.

MOD Information Rights Team
Ground floor, zone D
Main Building
Whitehall
London SW1A 2HB

Email: cio-foi@mod.uk

7) How many files have been transferred to PRONI pursuant to Section 12 of the 1958 Act?
Section 12 of the Public Records Act 1958 makes it legal for creating departments to send public records to the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) rather than The National Archives or an alternative place of deposit.  We are currently not aware of any transfers made under Section 12 to PRONI.

However, you may wish to redirect your query to the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. We will not be forwarding your request so you will need to contact them directly at.

2 Titanic Boulevard
Titanic Quarter
Belfast
BT3 9HQ

Email: proni@communities-ni.gov.uk

8) I would like to engage in correspondence with Kew and with the Advisory Council about documents which might assist my research. To whom do I write?

Please visit the following webpage in order to identify the most relevant point of contact at The National Archives.

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact-us/

Please address any correspondence for the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives to the following address:

The Secretary
Advisory Council on National Records and Archives
c/o The National Archives
Kew, Richmond
Surrey TW9 4DU
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8392 5337

Email: advisorycouncilsecretary@nationalarchives.gov.uk