Introduction – Access to public records at The National Archives and other places of deposit
The aim of the guidance linked below is to supplement regarding the transfer of public records to The National Archives and other places of deposit. It should be used as a reference tool by those involved in the sensitivity review of records and the transfer of closed records. The guidance is intended primarily for the transfer of public records held by government departments to The National Archives or other places of deposit, but the principles and examples may also be relevant to the transfer of non-public records.
Records are transferred to The National Archives and other places of deposit under the Public Records Act 1958 (PRA).
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) governs public access to public records, and these are transferred ‘open on transfer’ unless alternatives are in place. When the information in those records is environmental information, as defined in the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, public access is governed by those regulations, which are similar but not identical to the FOIA. For simplicity, FOIA is used throughout, with Environmental Information Regulations specified only when provisions differ.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issues guidance on FOIA exemptions (the reasons to withhold information). The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) issues guidance on the Environmental Information Regulations. Part 2 of the code of practice on the management of records under section 46 of the FOIA sets out how records should be transferred to archives services.
For more information please contact the Access Team: email@example.com or for advice and guidance on digital records closures please consult the Digital Transfer Team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are public records, and who is responsible for them (PDF, 0.18 MB)
Freedom of Information exemptions (PDF, 0.16 MB)
Data Protection and personal information (PDF, 0.12 MB)
Procedures for closure on transfer (PDF, 0.12 MB)
Retention (PDF, 0.18 MB)
Redaction considerations (PDF, 0.1 MB)
Retention applications for legacy records – for use when completing templates for applications and update forms (PDF, 0.37 MB)
Closure at transfer application (DOC, 0.1 MB)
Closure at transfer application (XLS, 0.04 MB)
Template for application to retain legacy records – for use when submitting applications to The Advisory Council on National Records and Archives (DOC, 0.04 MB)
Template for update on retention of legacy records – for use when updating The Advisory Council on National Records and Archives (DOC, 0.04 MB)