UFO Files

FOI request reference: F0042780
Publication date: August 2015

Outcome:

Partially Successful

Request:

Can you specify when the decision to release the upcoming batch of Dec 1980 Rendlesham forest ufo related files was made?

Can you specify why the decision was made, following an announcement from the MOD that all its ufo related files had been released to the national archives already?

Was the decision to release made in light of financial settlements reached between former serving personnal and UK or foreign governments or outside agencies?

Can you specify if there are any further ufo related files pending release that have the same stipulations or caveats as those associated with the 1980 Rendlesham forest ufo documents/files?

And finally, Can you specify any of the MOD’s concerns/comments, if any, following the recent enquiries in the legitature regarding the release of the Rendlesham files?

Response:

Can you specify when the decision to release the upcoming batch of Dec 1980 Rendlesham forest ufo related files was made?

Can you specify why the decision was made, following an announcement from the MOD that all its ufo related files had been released to the national archives already?

TNA holds the following information in an email dated 27 June 2014 about the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) decision to transfer further UFO files:

‘After conducting a final search of MOD archives a further 13 UFO files have been identified. Noting the continued interest in the topic of UFOs by the general public, the MOD has decided to publish these files to TNA as well. Both the outstanding files you refer to and the 13 UFO files recently identified are being prepared in the usual manner for onward release to TNA at the very earliest by the autumn. This programme is considerably ahead of the 30 year point, which is when most MOD material is usually transferred to TNA.’

Further email communications from 2014 indicate that a total of 18 files were eventually identified. These files are still in the process of being prepared for transfer.  At present, The National Archives does not hold any information confirming a date of transfer nor can we confirm to what extent these files relate to Rendlesham Forest. I can tell you that these files will be transferred into the MOD series starting with the reference DEFE 24.

For further information about when and why the decision was made to transfer further UFO files to The National Archives, you will need to contact the MOD directly, using the following contact information:

MOD Information Rights Team
1st floor, Zone N
Main Building
Whitehall
London
SW1A 2HB

Email: CIO-FOI@mod.uk

I have provided some general information about the selection and transfer of files to The National Archives below.

Selection and transfer of records

In terms of the process of making a selection decision and how this decision is arrived at, our best practice guide for appraising and selecting records explains that:

Under the Public Records Act 1958:

  • Public records bodies are responsible for the selection of records of archival value and for the safekeeping of these records
  • The National Archives is responsible for coordinating and supervising this process by providing guidance and support

What this means in practice is that:

  • Departments (specifically the departmental records officer or equivalent and their team) plan, manage, carry out appraisal and selection of their records and document the process in line with The National Archives’ Records Collection Policy and supporting guidance
  • The National Archives (specifically through the information management consultants) monitors this process, provides advice, guidance and training to support departments and signs off selected records

The best practice guide to appraising and selecting records for The National Archives can be found on our website here:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/information-management/best-practice-guide-appraising-and-selecting.pdf

Selection forms just one part of the transfer process, following this stage records also have to be sensitivity reviewed, physically prepared, transfer arranged and finally accessioned within our collections. The full steps for this are explained on our website:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/manage-information/selection-and-transfer/

You may also find the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the management of records useful for understanding the selection and transfer process. Section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires the Lord Chancellor to issue a Code of Practice on the management of records. First published in November 2002, the code was revised and re-issued in July 2009.

The code is in two parts:

  • Part I sets out good practice in records management and applies to all public authorities covered by the Act, and also to bodies that are not FOI authorities but are bodies subject to the Public Records Act 1958 or the Public Records Act (Northern Ireland) 1923
  • Part II sets out how public records (records subject to the two Public Records Acts) are to be reviewed and transferred to The National Archives, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland or another place of deposit for public records

Further information on the Section 46 Code of Practice can be found here:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130128112038/http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/information-access-rights/foi/foi-section-46-code-of-practice.pdf

Was the decision to release made in light of financial settlements reached between former serving personnal and UK or foreign governments or outside agencies?

Can you specify if there are any further ufo related files pending release that have the same stipulations or caveats as those associated with the 1980 Rendlesham forest ufo documents/files?

And finally, Can you specify any of the MOD’s concerns/comments, if any, following the recent enquiries in the legitature regarding the release of the Rendlesham files?

Unfortunately we do not hold the information you are looking for in these questions. For this information you will need to contact the MOD directly, using the MOD contact information provided earlier in this response.

For general research into UFO related files held at The National Archives you may find the following links useful:

UFO Research Guide

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/ufo-research-guide-2013.pdf

A selection of UFO files from The National Archives

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos/existing-files.htm

How to look for records of UFOs at The National Archives

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/ufos/