Why are the files being released now?

Return to list

Why are the files being released now?

Following the Open Government Initiative in 1993, many departments carried out a systematic reappraisal of the closure period applied to records already transferred to The National Archives. Such a systematic review was beyond the Home Office's resources because the number of closed Home Office records runs into thousands. However, the Home Office is committed to open government and seeks to respond positively to requests for access to records which were closed under old criteria.

The Home Office has adopted a demand-led approach to reviewing closures, with further work undertaken as resources are available. Under this approach it has reviewed:

  • Blocks of files on topics identified by academic historians in response to the Open Government Initiative: this has resulted in the release of records relating to political demonstrations, sexual offences, internment during World War Two, and particular criminal cases including that of Roger Casement
  • Individual files, on application from individuals, often family history researchers seeking naturalisation papers
  • Types of record that it believes may be of interest to the public but which have not been specifically asked for, perhaps because researchers are not aware of the wealth of information to be found in them. This collection of criminal cases is the second such release by the Home Office; the first was a number of Immigration and Nationality Directorate files relating to famous individuals (HO382)