Transfer of MOD personnel records

FOI request reference: CAS-66323-T0Y4K1
Publication date: January 2021

Request
Please disclose all recorded information you hold, created since January 1st 2016, concerning the transfer of Army records detailed in the MoD’s 2008 paper (attached), or any other subset or superset of these records.

Outcome
Information withheld.

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

We are unable to provide you with the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 12 of the FOI Act, which exempts information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for central government departments like The National Archives, is set at £600. For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory Annex at the end of this letter.

The Ministry of Defence collection of service personnel records consists of approximately 9.6 million records in 74 collations, totalling 33 linear kilometres. This material includes records for Officers and Other Ranks of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force with a discharge date up to 31 December 1963 (marking the end of National Service). The collations are not identified under the headings that you identified in your original request so we are unable to provide you with further information relating to these particular records.

The service personnel records are selected public records, currently retained by the Ministry of Defence under Section 3(4) of the Public Records Act. The National Archives does not comment on records that haven’t yet transferred to our holdings so whilst we continue to work with MoD towards the transfer of the service personnel records, we are unable to provide further information regarding matters that are outside of our control.

Please note that the Ministry of Defence may hold relevant information in a more accessible format, we therefore recommend that you redirect your enquiry to the MOD’s Freedom of Information Team. Please find their contact details below:

MOD Information Rights Team
Ground floor, zone D
Main Building
Whitehall
London SW1A 2HB
United Kingdom

Email: cio-foi@mod.gov.uk

EXPLANATORY ANNEX
Exemptions applied.

Section 12 – Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit
Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for central government departments like The National Archives, is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending just over three working days determining whether the department holds the information, as well as locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

We estimate that it will take us in excess of this to identify the appropriate information, and locate, retrieve and extract it in response to your request because it is so wide ranging. Therefore your request will not be processed further. You may wish to consider refining your request. Further guidance can be found at:http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/costs_of_compliance_exceeds_appropriate_limit.pdf

We are unable to guarantee that any refined requests would fall within the cost limit.