Role of the Advisory Council

The Advisory Council has several roles:

  • advises the Secretary of State on issues relating to public records that are over 20 years old (historical public records), including public access to them, at the point of transfer to The National Archives
  • advises the Secretary of State on requests from Government departments to retain historical public records under the Public Records Act
  • acts for the Secretary of State in deciding on requests from departments for historical public records to remain closed under certain Freedom of Information Act exemptions and challenges departments to provide evidence to justify such requests
  • advises the Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives on matters relating to his duties as Historical Manuscripts Commissioner under the Royal Warrant through the Council’s sub-committee, the Forum on Historical Manuscripts and Academic Research

It also supports government departments and The National Archives by providing independent advice and scrutiny on issues relating to records management and archives.

The outcome of the triennial review of the Advisory Council was announced on 20 March 2014. Read the full report.

The Advisory Council has also published some FAQs (PDF, 0.38 MB).

In addition, its status, structure, roles and responsibilities are set out in more detail in this document (PDF, 0.17 MB).

If you have any questions about the Advisory Council or would like to make a Freedom of Information request, please contact:

The Secretary
Advisory Council on National Records and Archives
The National Archives
Surrey TW9 4DU

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8392 5248

Email the Advisory Council Secretary

For any media enquiries about the Advisory Council, please contact The National Archives’ media team.