Personal data and inquiry records

FOI request reference: F0055974
Publication date: February 2019

Request

Please can you disclose if the National Archives has a policy, protocol, procedure or equivalent on the handling of personal data in public inquiry archives under its control? If so, please disclose the relevant policy documents.

Please advise on the procedure for members of the public who wish to access their personal data from public inquiry archives.

Outcome

Successful

Response

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000. The FOI Act gives you the right to know whether we hold the information you want, and to have it communicated to you, subject to any exemptions that may apply.

We can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request. Section 21 of the FOI Act exempts us from providing you with information if it is already reasonably accessible by other means. All of the information you have requested is available on The National Archives website, as follows.

Please can you disclose if the National Archives has a policy, protocol, procedure or equivalent on the handling of personal data in public inquiry archives under its control? If so, please disclose the relevant policy documents.

• On our website, you will find the ‘Technical guidance for Inquiries and Inquests’. This includes a section at 2.6 on sensitivity review of Inquiry records prior to their transfer to The National Archives:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/information-management/technical-guidance-for-inquiries-and-inquests.pdf

• In The National Archives’ privacy notice, you will find details of how we handle personal data in our archival collections. Refer to the ‘People in our archival collections’ section of this page:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/legal/privacy-policy/#people

Please advise on the procedure for members of the public who wish to access their personal data from public inquiry archives.

• The National Archives’ privacy policy has a section on ‘Your rights over your personal information’, which includes guidance on how a data subject can access their personal data:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/legal/privacy-policy/#yourrights

• Inquiry websites are captured directly into the UK Government Web Archive, including any personal data (such as witness statements) cleared for publication by the Inquiry. These can be accessed by searching for the particular Inquiry on the web archive portal:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/webarchive/

• Data subjects have the right to challenge open data about them in Inquiry websites or archival records, via our Takedown and Reclosure policy:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/legal/takedown-and-reclosure-policy/

Further guidance

• Additional guidance on records management and public inquiries can be found here on our website:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/manage-information/public-inquiry-guidance/

• TNA also publishes retention schedule guidance for inquiries, which you might find useful:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/information-management/retention-schedule-for-records-inquiries.pdf

• Further guidance on section 21 can be found on the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1203/information-reasonably-accessible-to-the-applicant-by-other-means-sec21.pdf