IR files with closed descriptions

FOI request reference: CAS-67086-S5G4K5
Publication date: March 2021

Request
I am seeking information regarding the number of TNA files originating from the Inland Revenue that have “closed” descriptions. Please could you send me information regarding the overall number of IR files with closed descriptions; the number of closed description IR files with start dates before 1919, between 1919 and 1939, between 1940 and 1960; and after 1960; and the number of closed IR files with end dates before 1919, between 1919 and 1939, between 1940 and 1960, and after 1960.

Outcome
Information withheld.

Response
I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request.

This information is covered by section 21 of the FOI Act. Section 21 does not oblige a public authority to provide information if it is already reasonably accessible by other means. In this case the exemption applies because the information is already available on Discovery, The National Archives’ online catalogue.

In the interests of providing advice and assistance under section 16 of the FOI Act please find below instructions on how to utilise Discovery to extract the requested information.

There are a number of ways in which you can search for records by closed/open description on Discovery using the search tools.

In line with The National Archives’ cataloguing guidance, sensitive parts of a record’s description are identified and replaced with indicators such as “name withheld” or “information withheld”. Records with closed descriptions will therefore appear in Discovery searches that include such key words. It is also possible to search for a record’s closure status by selecting the “retained document” and “closed document” options in the record closure status section when completing an advanced search.

Search results can then be exported into an Excel document (if fewer than 10,000 entries) and filtered using the “closure status” column to ensure that only records with closed descriptions are shown.

  1. Enter the Advanced Search feature of Discovery
  2. Insert the phrases ‘Name Withheld’ and ‘Information Withheld’ in the boxes titled Any of these words in the Find words section
  3. Select the required date range in the Date section
  4. Select ‘Search The National Archives’ in the Held by section
  5. Select ‘All records’ in the Records available for download section
  6. Click Search
  7. On the left hand side of the page in the Collection section click the tick box next to ‘IR – Boards of Stamps, Taxes, Excise, Stamps and Taxes and Inland Revenue’ and click refine
  8. In the centre of the page click export results and click download
  9. The number of entries will equal the number of records featuring a closed description for the given date range

Further guidance on searching Discovery can be found here.

EXPLANATORY ANNEX
Exemptions applied.
Section 21: Information readily available to the applicant by other means
Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) does not oblige a public authority to provide information if it is already reasonably accessible by other means.
In this case the exemption applies because the information is already available on Discovery using the advanced search tools.
Further guidance can be found at:
http://ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/information-reasonably-accessible-to-the-applicant-by-other-means-sec21.pdf