Documents subject to LCI and ‘closed document, closed description’ status

FOI request reference: F0047204
Publication date: November 2016

Title: Documents subject to LCI and ‘closed document, closed description’ status

FOI request reference: F0047204

Response sent: November 2016

Outcome: Successful

Request:

Also, are you able to tell me:

  1. How many documents in total are subject to an LCI?
  2. How many of these have ‘closed document, closed description? status currently. (The Telegraph reported in 2004 that there were 11,811 files with that status at that time.)

Kind regards,

Response:

Thank you for your enquiry of 14 October 2016, in which you asked for the following information about information held at The National Archives;

  • How many documents in total are subject to an LCI?
  • How many of these currently have ‘closed document, closed description’ status?

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000. The FOI Act gives you the right to know whether we hold the information you want and to have it communicated to you, subject to any exemptions which may apply.

I can confirm that we hold some information relevant to your request.

As background information, records are closed in two ways.  Firstly, pre 2005 via entry on a schedule attached to a Lord Chancellor’s Instrument (LCI). Secondly, since this time records have been closed by entry on a Freedom of Information Schedule.

Records can also be retained under section 3(4) of the Public Records Act.  This is done with individual entries on a Lord Chancellor’s Instrument, or under a ‘blanket’ authorisation.  Since December 2015 authorisation for retention is signed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, this is however still referred to as LCIs on Discovery (our on-line catalogue).

To explain, retained records are not transferred to The National Archives, but are rather held by the relevant governmental department for a variety of reasons. Further details relating to information retained by transferring governmental department’s is available in our access guidance; Information Management: Retention.

The National Archives runs a monthly report of records held by The National Archives on our online catalogue, Discovery.  This produces figures of the numbers of pieces (main files), and items (usually extracts from main files), which are closed or retained.

  • How many documents in total are subject to an LCI?

As of 3 October 2016 (the date our systems where reviewed in light of this information request)

Pieces Items Total
Closed 151,406 35,099 186,505
Retained 24,331

Retained items are not displayed on Discovery, although a few legacy entries are present.

Unfortunately due the nature of our systems the figures given in this report cannot be split between records closed under Lord Chancellor’s Instrument or Freedom of Information exemptions. Therefore we are not able to confirm the specific number of files (pieces and items) which are closed specifically through Lord Chancellor’s Instruments.

  • How many of these currently have ‘closed document, closed description’ status?

As of 3 October 2016 there are 3,198 pieces and 2,823 items (6,021 in total) on our catalogue with ‘Closed document, closed description’ as the closure status.

I hope this information is of some use to you and I wish you all the best with your research.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request or the decision which has been reached, you have the right to ask for an internal review.  Internal review requests must be submitted within two months of the date of this response and should be addressed to:

Quality Manager
Public Services Development Unit
The National Archives
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU

complaints@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Please mark your complaint clearly.  You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to investigate any aspect of your complaint.  However, please note that the ICO is likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted before beginning his investigation.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Researcher
Freedom of Information Centre
Transfer and Access Department