Ministerial subordination at The National Archives

FOI request reference: F0058718
Publication date: September 2019




Request and Response

The ministerial subordination of the National Archives has changed over the years. I wonder that at the time of its establishment in 2003, was the TNA already a government department and executive agency of the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs?

On 1 April 2003, a new Royal Warrant appointed the Keeper of Public Records as the sole Historical Manuscripts Commissioner. This enabled the Public Record Office (PRO) and the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC) to join together to form a new body, The National Archives.

The National Archives administers the public records system of the United Kingdom under the Public Records Acts of 1958 and 1967 and exercises the powers accorded to the Historical Manuscripts Commission by the Royal Warrant of 1959. lt advises government on public record issues and related information matters.

The National Archives is a government department in its own right and the Chief Executive, the Keeper of Public Records and sole Historical Manuscripts Commissioner, reports directly to the Lord Chancellor.
(Resource accounts 2003/2004, The National Archives, Foreword to the accounts for the year ended 31 March 2004)

Further information regarding the Lord Chancellor’s department can be found via the following link –


However, did the archive have a different legal status when it was created?

The National Archives is a Crown body, as was its predecessor the Public Records Office.


In 2007, the TNA came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, and since 2015 of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport?

Correct – further details on the Ministry of Justice and its predecessor the Department for Constitutional Affairs can be found via this link –

Notice of the transfer of jurisdiction from the MoJ to DCMS can be found via the following link –