In 2013 the government began its move towards releasing records when they are 20 years old, instead of 30. The introduction of a 20-year rule is a key part of the government's transparency agenda and The National Archives is helping to manage the earlier release of the public record.

In November 2013, 86 government bodies that transfer records to The National Archives provided data on the volume and transfer status of the records they hold that date from up to 1985. The transition to a 20-year rule will take ten years and this type of data will be collected throughout that time and published on our website. Read more about the data contained in the record transfer report.

Access the record transfer report

The file shows the data provided by those 21 bodies that transfer 90% of the records sent to The National Archives each year, in A-Z order. The data from the remaining 63 bodies that are included in the report are then also listed alphabetically.

Record transfer report Autumn 2013 (CSV, 0.02Mb)

Record transfer report Autumn 2013 (XLS, 0.09Mb)

To aid understanding, a visualisation of the data provided by those 21 government departments that transfer a high volume of records to The National Archives has been produced.

  • LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Cabinet Office
  • Department comment: With expected projected resources, we anticipate being able to transfer approximately 120 legacy cases by 31 December 2014.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Crown Prosecution Service
  • Department comment: The figures reflect the reduction of the review team to two part-time staff from April 2013.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for Communities and Local Government
  • The figures given are for those files where the dates are known. There are 85,000 files of unknown dates, for which a review plan is being developed.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for Culture Media & Sport
  • Department comment: 114 Department of Education and Science records for 1983/84 have already been transferred to The National Archives, no further DES records are held for 1983/84.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for Education
  • Department comment: Defra's estate rationalisation programme resulted in a significant number of files being added to the archive. Intake from Defra's Arms Length Bodies has also increased the pre 1983 total. A number of records selected, but not yet transferred, were inherited from other Departments.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Department comment: DFID operated on a three year file period during years in question. Records relating to the file period 82/84 have already been transferred or included under the section on Legacy. Therefore, the section for 83/84 records is N/A.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for International Development
  • Department comment: This return has been completed by DCLG as part of the shared Review service that DCLG provides to DfT, and has been approved by DfT.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for Transport
  • Department comment: For 2013 we have 1,614 left to transfer of which 1,429 are currently awaiting scoping – they will not be transferred by end of 2013. For 2014 we have yet to determine the number of records to be kept/destroyed.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department for Work and Pensions
  • Department comment: Figures are estimates including 25 RSA files selected for retention from 1,222 transferred to BIS in April 2013. Only the 25 records selected have been added back to the return, 171 records remain, now legacy from 2013. All other files were reviewed and destroyed.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Department of Health
  • Department comment: 1983-1986 total file counts corrected to include all records held rather than estimated number of records which will be selected. FCO retains around 600,000 legacy records under a Lord Chancellor's Instrument and a plan for their release is being implemented.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Department comment: HSE has worked through a large amount of files against disposal schedules not previously applied. Some 22,000 files have now been actioned, now reflected in the statistics in this submission.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Health and Safety Executive
  • Department comment: The figures provided are estimations only. HMRC may have considerably more records which we are unable to identify at present.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for HM Revenue and Customs
  • Department comment: Project instigated and selection is underway to accelerate transfer.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for HM Treasury
  • Department comment: Please see Home Office website for further details.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Home Office
  • Department comment: Return excludes reporting from Atomic Weapons Establishment, UK Hydrographic Office and Defence Geographic Centre who have submitted their own reports.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Ministry Of Defence
  • Department comment: Due to many types of records some figures are based on estimated meterage. After selection, one large set of legacy records has been found to contain many duplicates; these will be removed before transfer, meaning that the actual number transferred will be considerably reduced from our estimated figure. All records 1984 and earlier expected to be transferred by December 2014.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Ministry of Justice
  • We anticipate transferring records from 1983 and 1984 in 2014, from 1985 and 1986 in 2015. Please note a difference of -409 between Records Selected for Transfer and Total of Records Held. The former includes LCIs, the latter does not.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Northern Ireland Office
  • Department comment: In 2009 the records department started a mass transfer of records to The National Archives and other UK deposit libraries as part of our relocation to new offices. As part of the move we identified a significant number of records, we initiated a rapid review and selection procedure and it is a matter of processing and delivery to the The National Archives. This is included in this year's submission and and estimate of numbers for next. Over the next few years this will drop to a very small number which is our normal level of transfer.
    LegacyCurrentForecast Record transfer data for Ordnance Survey

Note about the data

In November 2013, 86 government bodies that transfer records to The National Archives provided data on the volume of records they hold in the following categories:
  • legacy - records dating from 1982 or earlier that were due for transfer or destruction prior to 2013
  • current - records dating from 1983 and 1984 that were due for transfer or destruction in 2013
  • forecast - records dating from 1985 and 1986 that are due for transfer or destruction in 2014

Data was also provided on the transfer status of the records held within each of these categories. The volume of records identified as being of potential historical value is shown within the record transfer report as 'records currently selected for transfer'. The volume ready to be transferred for permanent preservation is the 'planned total for year end transfer' figure given in the report and the visualisation.

The 'still to process' figure given in the report and the visualisation includes files which either have not yet been appraised for permanent preservation, or are awaiting disposal. This 'still to process' figure was derived by taking the 'total number of records held' and subtracting the 'number of records currently selected for transfer'.

An explanatory note to the data has been included where one has been provided by the organisation.

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Useful links

See previous record transfer reports:

Access a summary of the public records transferred to The National Archives each year.

Read more about the 20-year rule.

Find out how the records transfer process works.

Read about the legislation that shapes how the government record is managed.

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