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The 17th annual report and accounts for The National Archives have now been published.

We are a non-ministerial department, and the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, and for England and Wales. We are the guardians of more than 1,000 years of iconic national documents, expert advisers in information and records management, and a cultural, academic and heritage institution.

We fulfil a leadership role for the archives sector and work to secure the future of physical and digital records. Our collection is accessible to everyone all over the world.

This year’s annual report and accounts mark the first year of Archives for Everyone. Our conviction is that archives are for everyone, and that archives change lives for the better. Forged through experience, this conviction tells in our relationship with our diverse audiences and in our leadership of the nation’s archives.

Read a selection of our 2019-20 highlights and achievements by clicking through the tabs below.

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Government


We provide expert advice and scrutiny, ensuring that the record survives and thrives

● Throughout the year, we accessioned more than 72,800 government records transferred from over 36 public records bodies, including files from the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s Office covering events in 1995 and 1996.

● We continued our work to bring primary legislation on legislation.gov.uk fully up-to-date, increasing the proportion of up-to-date Acts to 99.5% by applying 63,288 amendments to the texts during the year.

● On a daily basis, we archived all key communications from the government about the coronavirus as part of the public record, through our web archiving capability, including government communications on social media.

● Working with our partners – the Houses of Parliament, Scottish Parliament, and the drafting offices for UK and Scottish legislation – we developed the first working version of a browser-based Legislation Drafting, Amending and Publishing tool.

Government

Ensuring that the record survives and thrives.

Public


We work to inspire new ways for people to use and experience our diverse collection

● Our Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed season and exhibition attracted more than 22,000 visitors to our site and featured events for all age groups, including our Time Travel Club Family programme.

● We continue to showcase our collection through our loans programme, including to exhibitions in the UK, Europe, the US and Singapore, enabling access to our collections to more than 1.25 million visitors.

● Our fourth stop motion animation project, ‘Mental Health on Record’, used a range of records from our collection to inspire a group of 16 to 19 year olds as they learned about attitudes to mental health in the past.

● In October, we were privileged to be selected as the first archive to host the annual London Heritage Volunteer awards.

Public

Archives are for everyone.

Archives sector


We are an effective leader and collaborator, and support archives of all kinds to sustain and develop their services

● In December, we launched our new Digital Capacity Building programme for the sector, Plugged In, Powered Up. The strategy sets out an ambitious plan of programmes, training and resources to support archives to meet their digital ambitions and address the gaps in vital skills.

● More than 160 archive services are now accredited under the partnership Archive Service Accreditation.

● We launched Collaborate and Innovate, our new funding which will empower archives to develop creative ideas and collaborative approaches, as well as network development, leading to outcomes that will make a real difference to archives in the UK.

● We celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC) with a programme of visits and events. This includes a symposium where guest speakers shared their insights on the legacy and future of the HMC, and a seminar on mitigating and understanding risks.

Archives sector

Securing the future of physical and digital records.

Research


We lead, enable and inspire pioneering research through fostering community, collaborative engagement, and inclusive practice. We work to generate new knowledge and drive progress for archives, the wider community and society as a whole

● We are due to begin our involvement in the second phase of Beyond 2022, the rebuilding of an open access, virtual reconstruction of the Irish Treasury destroyed in 1922.

● We joined Linked Conservation Data as a partner organisation, another AHRC-funded UK-US network project under the lead of the University of Arts London.

● We enjoyed success with two foundational projects funded through Towards a National Collection: Opening UK Heritage to the World, supported by the government-backed Strategic Priorities Fund, led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

● The seventh annual Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities conference, delivered jointly with Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and new partners Jisc, took place at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre.

Research

Generating new knowledge and driving progress.

Digital


We have made important changes to the ways we think and work, in order to become a digital archive by instinct and design

● Working closely with a supplier, we delivered Project Alpha, a working prototype for a new website. To meet our users’ high and rising expectations, we are making some significant changes to our website, to better engage our audiences and remain relevant.

● We developed our capability as a digital archive and created an alpha version of a new Transfer Digital Records service for government departments.

● We reinforced our commitment to PRONOM, our register of file format signatures, running the first PRONOM Week, to galvanise community efforts to create new signatures.

● A technical paper about the Archangel research project, which investigated using blockchain for trusted archives, won the best paper award at the prestigious CVPR 2019 Blockchain conference.

Digital

Becoming a digital archive by instinct and design.

Appendices


Core financial tables 2019-20

Download core financial tables 2019-20: Public spending and Administration budget (XLS, 66 KB).

Summary of public records transmitted to The National Archives

This report is produced annually. It provides a summary of the public records transmitted to The National Archives from various sources. It gives a brief description for each piece, including the dates covered. Download the summary of public records (PDF, 0.7 MB) transmitted to The National Archives 2019-20.

Exercise of delegated powers conferred on the Secretary of State by the Public Records Act 1958

This report is produced annually. It gives details on how The National Archives has exercised particular powers delegated to our Chief Executive and Keeper by the Secretary of State. These documents provide information on:

  • Approval given for the transfer of public records between The National Archives and places of deposit, in either direction
  • The appointment of approved places of deposit for public records with specific local relevance or particular specialist and administrative requirements, which are held outside The National Archives
  • Approval given for the presentation of public records that have not been selected for permanent preservation at The National Archives to other appropriate bodies.

Download the Exercise of delegated powers 2019-20 (PDF, 0.7 MB).

Staff engagement survey

Read the results of our staff engagement survey in the Transparency section of our website.

Accounting officer system statements

Alongside our annual report and accounts, HM Treasury ask that government departments prepare Accounting Officer System Statements. Visit GOV.UK to find out more about them.

Read The National Archives Accounting Officer System Statement (PDF, 0.8 MB).

Reports and accounts in the UK Government Web Archive

See reports and appendices from previous years: