Documents in an archival box

Under the Public Records Act 1958, those responsible for public records must make arrangements for the selection of those records which ought to be permanently preserved. Selection is a decision making process which encompasses initial appraisal judgements and determines which records will be transferred to The National Archives or appropriate place of deposit. This applies to records in all formats and media.

The process of selecting your records is primarily focused on determining which records hold a historical value to an organisation or wider society. These records are likely to document the history, structure and functions of an organisation, or provide research material on persons, places and subjects. It is the responsibility of public record bodies to identify those records of historical value, and to make selection decisions under the supervision of The National Archives.

Our records collection policy below outlines the key types of records which should be selected for permanent preservation. In order to help apply these themes to departmental holdings, and to justify selection decisions, The National Archives' has produced generic selection criteria.

The selection process should be done in a way that most efficiently and effectively allows for records of historical value to be identified. There are different methodologies for doing this work, depending on the nature and arrangement of departmental record holdings. For more information on how to approach selecting your records, please read the best practice guide below.

Further guidance on selection      

Records collection policy (PDF, 0.12Mb)

Best practice guide for appraising and selecting records for The National Archives (PDF, 0.28Mb)

Series Level Appraisal Questionnaire (PDF, 0.02Mb)

Operational Selection Policies

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