May 2012

Request:

Please could you provide the following information regarding the number of Subject Access Requests you have and are currently processing?
 
1. What are the annual number of SARs you process for the last three financial years (2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12)?
2. What are the annual totals (number of SARs) processed that were responded to beyond the 40 calendar day deadline?
3. In the last financial year (2011/12), what is the average number of days you have taken to prepare your response to an SAR (within the 40 calendar day deadline)?
4. In the last financial year (2011/12), what is the average number of days you have taken to complete the SAR response cycle e.g. from receipt of first SAR to conclusion of the enquiry?
5. In the last financial year (2011/12), what was the duration of the longest response to a single SAR (within the 40 calendar day deadline)?
6. In the last financial year (2011/12), what was the duration of the longest completion time for a single SAR e.g. from receipt of first SAR to conclusion of the enquiry?
7. What is the total number of current SARs you are processing?
8. Of the total number currently being processed, what is the number that is outside the 40 calendar day deadline?
9. How many full-time equivalent staff are processing SAR requests?
10. What is the nature of the requests?

Outcome:

Successful

Response:

1. 2009-10       68
    2010-11      136
    2011-12       61

2. During the last three financial years (2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12), one SAR was partially responded to beyond the 40 calendar day deadline. Although the response to this SAR was sent within the time limit, a total of three emails relating to the request were discovered and communicated to the enquirer beyond the statutory deadline.

3. In the last financial year (2011/12), the average number of days taken to prepare our response to a SAR (within the 40 calendar day deadline) was 6.5 days. Since our computer system records working time in hours, this figure was reached by dividing the average time spent preparing a response to a SAR in hours by 7.12 hours, which equates to a standard working day at The National Archives.

4. In the last financial year (2011/12), the average number of days taken to complete the SAR response cycle (e.g. from receipt of first SAR to conclusion of the enquiry) was 6.5 days.

5. In the last financial year (2011/12), the duration of the longest response to a single SAR (within the 40 calendar day deadline) was 19 days.

6. In the last financial year (2011/12), the duration of the longest completion time for a single SAR (e.g. from receipt of first SAR to conclusion of the enquiry) was 19 days.

7. There are no SARs currently being processed at The National Archives. This figure is correct as of 24 April 2012 when the response to your Freedom of Information request was initiated. Please note, as stated in the explanatory notes that precede this response that this figure relates only to the information we store and can therefore provide for analysis - 'business as usual' cases are not included.

8. There are no SARs currently being processed outside of the 40 calendar day deadline.

9. No member of staff at The National Archives is exclusively responsible for the processing of SAR requests - it is not possible to disaggregate time spent processing SARs from general FOI request handling. However, there are 9 full-time equivalent staff at The National Archives who respond to SARs - when required - as part of their wider responsibilities. Alongside this team exists a Naturalisation Enquiries Team, who are responsible for processing naturalisation-related SARs, however, as previously explained, these are treated as 'business as usual' cases. As such this information is not stored by us and cannot therefore be used for analytical purposes. The Naturalisations Enquiries Team is a shared duty drawn from staff across the department who work on a rota system. There are currently about 13 members of staff in the pool from which one person will be deployed for a two hour search duty each day between Tuesday and Saturday. This forms part of their general duties.

10. We hold two different categories of information at the National Archives:

Information within our own business records and systems. This includes personal data relating to staff, members of the public with whom we have dealings, and various other individuals, just like any other government body.

Information within records transferred from other government bodies. Some of the information in these records is personal data, for example the service records of merchant navy seamen in what are called the 'seamen's pouches', duplicate certificates of naturalisation, and change of name deed poll registers.  

The SARs we receive relate mostly to the latter, or archival, category, with the majority of these SARs concerning naturalisation certificates or applications, Merchant Navy records, and Special Operations Executive personnel files.