Private office considerations

Private office

This section assumes that records are managed in accordance with The National Archives and Cabinet Office guidance on managing private office records.

Documents produced by Ministers in the course of their official ministerial responsibilities are public records and are subject to Crown copyright protection. It is important therefore that any such documents should not be retained by a Minister who is moving to the receiving organisation. Private Office staff will need to arrange for the immediate handover of records and information relating to the functions being transferred to another Minister or organisation.

Arrange a handover session to brief the new Private Secretary. Care should be taken to extract any personal material relating to the Minister (such as private diary engagements, or financial records, for example of mobile phone bills) before official material is transferred or destroyed.

The following steps should be taken:

Ministers’ diaries and notebooks

  • official engagements relating to a transferred function should be extracted from Ministers’ diaries so that details can be passed to the Minister taking over responsibility for that function

Cabinet papers

  • Cabinet documents relating to past meetings in the areas being transferred should be returned to the Cabinet Office

Official submissions and records

  • copies of submissions relating to transferred functions can be destroyed
  • copies of records of Ministers’ meetings and telephone conversations in which policy officials have been involved can also be destroyed
  • records of meetings and telephone calls that did not involve policy officials should be filed on a diary file or attached to the diary entry and passed to the Departmental Records Officer in the transferring organisation

Personal material

  • if the Minister is moving to the new Department, any purely personal material should be packed securely and sent to him/her or if unimportant it should be destroyed
  • personal digital information should be deleted unless the Minister requires a copy