On 1 January 2015, the second phase of the government's move towards releasing records selected for permanent preservation when they are 20 years old, instead of 30, came into effect.

The second phase

The second transition order was signed and laid in Parliament by Simon Hughes, the Minister responsible. This secondary legislation reduces the point at which public records created by specified creating bodies are transferred to local places of deposit from 30 to 20 years.

The National Archives will continue to work with government departments to speed up the process of transferring records. The records for two years will be due for transfer each year over a ten-year transition period. This means that during 2015 local places of deposit should receive records from 1985 and 1986. Then, two further years' worth of records of local interest will be transferred each year until 2025 when records from 2005 will have be received.

The Ministry of Justice will provide funding of £7.1m over ten years to offset the new burden's implications to local authorities. £6.6m of this will be routed through The National Archives and will be apportioned in relation to the scale of the public records' acquisitions taken in by places of deposit in the previous year, beginning in 2016. The remaining £0.5m will be transferred to local authorities in relation to coroners courts which also fall under new burdens payments.

Training sessions

In support of the new arrangements, creating bodies will be provided with training and guidance. The National Archives will be running a series of training sessions across England and Wales for staff in the creating bodies from the end of January 2015, on the standards expected  for the transfer of records. Staff from local Places of Deposit will be present at the training, and we have developed a directory which maps creating bodies to place of deposit, and vice versa. Training sessions will be run - in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Cambridge, Exeter, Birmingham, Aberystwyth and Cardiff - between January and April 2015.

Read more about the 20-year rule and our training programme here.

What this change means for you

This change requires The National Archives, other government departments and certain public bodies, to process two years of records each year for ten years until the new rule is reached in 2023. This change will also affect those bodies that act as places of deposit for their own organisaion, including some non-departmental public bodies and similar arms-length bodies. For local places of deposit there will be a similar ten year transition, from 1 January 2015.

What we are doing

Under the new arrangements, creating bodies will be provided with training and guidance on the standards expected in advance of the transfer of records. The National Archives will be running a series of training sessions across England and Wales for staff in the creating bodies from the end of this month, and we are developing e-learning modules which will be made available to the creating bodies over the course of 2015. We are inviting staff from local places of deposit to present at the training, and we have developed a directory which maps creating bodies to places of deposit, and vice versa.

We are also drafting guidelines on selection and transfer procedures to streamline these processes.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to find out more at: asd@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

Useful links:

20-year rule FAQs (PDF, 0.19MB)

A brief guide to transferring Records of Local Interest (PDF, 0.29MB)

Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (2010): 20 year rule: records of local interest (PDF, 0.13MB)

You can find out more about the 20-year rule and how it is implemented across government departments on the following pages:

20-year rule

20-year rule: Record transfer report

NHS information governance toolkit

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