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FoI Guidance on Deposited Public Records

Date added: 22 December 2004

On 29 December The National Archives (TNA) will publish its guidance on Freedom of Information (FOI) and deposited public records. This guidance will be relevant to places of deposit, which hold deposited public records on behalf of the Lord Chancellor, and to public records bodies, which transfer public records to places of deposit. The guidance will be available from 29 December as a pdf document on TNA's website at the following address: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/policy/foi/.

Under the FOI Act the Lord Chancellor has issued two Codes of Practice which deal with a) the management of records, including (in Part 2 of the s.46 Code) the review and transfer of public records and b) with handling requests for information held in public records (the s.45 Code). The two Codes provide a framework of good practice in these areas. TNA's guidance publication sets out in greater detail the procedures and principles which public records bodies and places of deposit should seek to follow within that good practice framework. Public records bodies and places of deposit should be equally aware of both sections of this guidance, as it is in both parties' interests that the business of reviewing, transferring, and managing deposited public records is carried out efficiently and to mutual agreement.

The guidance has been prepared by TNA in collaboration with a working group consisting of representatives of places of deposit and public records bodies. Please note that the publication does not attempt to provide guidance on the application of specific exemptions in relation to requests for information: the appropriate sources of detailed information on the application of exemptions are those published by the Department for Constitutional Affairs and by the Information Commissioner. Also please note that although feedback from our consultation exercise in June suggests that many aspects of the guidance are applicable to non-public records, TNA's guidance is intended at this stage to relate only to public records.

The guidance will be reviewed periodically, beginning with a meeting of the working group in February 2005, and further editions may be issued as a result. TNA will publish any further editions on its website in the first instance.

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