Approved places of deposit

For the latest advice and support regarding Places of Deposit, please visit our coronavirus update webpage.

Places of Deposit for public records are appointed to hold specific record classes in agreement with their parent authority under Section 4 (1) of the Public Records Act (1958). 

The most typical reasons for such an appointment are that the records are of strong local interest and are best made available within the context of a local archive service, or that the records are retained by their creating institution as the most appropriate location for ongoing use.

In a small number of cases specialist records (in subject matter or in format) are also held within appropriate Places of Deposit.

The National Archives appoints Places of Deposit after inspection to ensure suitable arrangements are in place for the preservation of and access to the records.

Find out more about archive services that have been appointed as a Place of Deposit.

We use the Archive Service Accreditation Programme to ensure that standards are being maintained by Places of Deposit.

What is a public record?

Public records are created by:

  • government departments
  • courts of England and Wales
  • armed forces
  • non-departmental public bodies with public record status
  • committees, commissions, courts and boards of enquiry established by the above

Each organisation and its records are assessed separately as not every organisation falling within these categories creates public records.

Records can be created within the United Kingdom or overseas.

The following are not public records:

  • records presented under Section 3 (6) of the Public Records Act 1958 (the act)
  • records originating from a body that does not have public record status
  • records created by nationalised industries except where
    • public record status has been conferred
    • those industries have been placed under the control of a government body (for example the Transport Commission)
  • records of local government and associated organisations
  • records of religious denominations
  • records of parliament
  • papers from the Sovereign and Royal Household
  • publications created by a public record creating body
  • unused forms and guidance notes issued by a public record creating body for official use (although may be enclosed in a public record)

Records presented under the act (RTF, 0.54MB)

Places of deposit

Places of deposit fall into three distinct categories:

  • local record offices (usually borough or county archive services)
  • specialist (for example university or military archives)
  • government (for example research establishments or national museums)

We can appoint a repository as a place of deposit under s 4 (1) of the act, to hold certain classes of public records which are not held at The National Archives.

Public records can be transferred to a place of deposit under s 4 (3) of the act. The public record body should write to the place of deposit to confirm the transfer of records and the place of deposit should then confirm in writing with the public record body when all the records have been received.

Sometimes the transfer of records should be made using a statutory instrument. This is most common when records are transferred from one place of deposit to another.

If a place of deposit wants to hold types of public records other than those for which they have been approved, they need to contact us for approval. We ensure classes of public records are deposited with similar records so that collections develop and are easily accessible.

Presentations or gifts

Sometimes repositories receive a record as a presentation or gift. This is when a public record not selected for permanent preservation is passed to repositories under section 3 (6) of the act and the record loses its public record status. Any suitable repository can therefore receive a presentation, and not just a place of deposit.

Records deposited as presentations or gifts are described in the National Register of Archives (NRA) rather than in the place of deposit schedule. Information from the NRA has now been incorporated into Discovery, our catalogue.

Guidance for places of deposit

Access to NHS Records transferred to PoDs under Public Records Act (PDF, 0.28MB)