Public Records Act

Find out about the legislation on public records access and its history.

Until 2000, the Public Records Act 1958 had been substantially amended once (by the Public Records Act 1967) and in detail many times by other statutes and statutory instruments. Most of these minor changes brought bodies within the scope of the Act.

In 2000, however, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 introduced very significant changes, which came into force in January 2005.

The text of the Public Records Act given here is as amended by the Freedom of Information Act in 2005.

A Concordat between the Welsh Government and the National Archives has been recently updated to formalise the arrangement by which The National Archives carries out its statutory functions in regard to Welsh public records, in accordance with the Public Records Acts 1958.

As the national archive for England, Wales and the United Kingdom, The National Archives houses records from across the UK central government and, in smaller numbers, from the central courts.

The Public Record Office Act was passed in 1838 to 'keep safely the public records'.

Find answers to common questions about the Public Records Act (PRA).