Request & Response
This is a Freedom of Information request: I would like to see any records relating to the transfer of Treasury records to the Public Record Office from the Public Record Office point of view, from 1992-1993. An earlier open file is PRO 84/18: Records Administration Division: liaison with departments about the management and review of their records; HM Treasury and ends in 1991.
The National Archives currently hold 32 open files concerning the transfer of records from HM Treasury to the Public Record Office between 1992 and 1993. Please visit the following web page to view a list of these records.
For details of how to access these records please see the explanatory annex at the end of this response.
The National Archives also hold the following records which fall within the scope of your request.
1. 1/RAD 146.1: Treasury (1987-1992)
2. 1/RAD 156.1: Treasury Solicitor’s Department (1987-1992)
3. 2/RAD 146.1: Treasury (1992-1999)
4. 2/RAD 146.2.1: Treasury: Civil Service Catering Organisation (1993-1999)
5. 2/RAD 146.4: Treasury: Public access to records (1992-1999)
6. 2/RAD 146.6: HM Treasury: Electronic document management system: Appraisal of records (1992-1999)
7. 2/RAD 146.9: Treasury: Preparation of records for transfer (1993-1999)
8. 2/RAD 156.1: Treasury Solicitor’s Department (1992-1999)
9. 2/RAD 156.2.3: Treasury Solicitor’s Department: The government property lawyers (1993-1999)
10. 2/RAD 156.9: Treasury Solicitor’s Department: Preparation of records for transfer (1993-1999)
Documents 1 & 2 are currently being accessioned and are a due to be released into the PRO 85 series. If you would like to access these records ahead of their official release it can be arranged for you to view the records in the invigilation room of the first floor reading room here at The National Archives in Kew. If you would be interested in this approach please let us know.
Documents 3 to 10 have been selected for permanent preservation but have yet to be accessioned. These records are due to be transferred into the PRO 85 series in 2021. Therefore, in accordance with Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act (information intended for future publication) these records are exempt from disclosure at this time. As the records have yet to be accessioned we are unable to offer you the same opportunity to view these records in the invigilation room.
For more information on the application of the section 22 exemption please see the explanatory annex at the end of this response.
Section 22: Information intended for future publication
Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) Information intended for future publication
(1) Information is exempt information if—
(a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),
(b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and
(c) it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).
Section 22 is a qualified exemption and we are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and must be release.
In the FOIA there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it
We have considered whether it would be in the public interest for us to provide you with the information ahead of publication, despite the exemption being applicable.
Arguments in favour of disclosure:
There is a general public interest in the release of information concerning the transfer of records from government departments to The National Archives.
Disclosure would improve transparency and consequently accountability in the transfer process.
Disclosure would also reinforce public confidence that government officials were making appropriate decisions in the selection and preservation of the nation’s historic legacy.
Arguments against disclosure:
It is in the public interest to adhere to the existing publication process for official records, which includes time for the records to be properly accessioned before being placed in the public domain.
The premature publication of these records would circumvent the official publication process and would set a precedent whereby the public would be able to request access to records which have not yet completed their journey through the transfer process, thereby placing undue pressure on members of TNA staff and potentially interrupting the scheduled release of other historical records.
On this occasion, we have concluded that the balance of the public interest test falls in favour of withholding this information.
Below are your options for ordering and viewing open records at The National Archives:
1. Visiting The National Archives
You are welcome to visit us – please check our website for details of our opening hours and registration requirements: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/visit/before-you-visit.htm
2. Paid search on your behalf
If a personal visit is not convenient you may wish to use our Paid Search service or employ an independent researcher. Details are on our website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/paid_research.htm
3. Ordering copies
Search for the record’s reference number (as provided above) using our catalogue: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
Then click on the “Order a copy” link and follow the instructions. Full details on how to use our copying service can be found on our website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/recordcopying/