Records management: National Records of Scotland report November 2019

27 Nov 2019 11:57 AM

Assessment of records management in the Scottish Government and 16 other public authorities.

Dear Ms Fraser,

Progress Update Review (PUR) Final Report: Scottish Government

As you will know, Scottish Government is responsible for maintaining a joint records management plan for itself and 16 other named public authorities under the Public Records Scotland Act. Recently, Scottish Government submitted a Progress Update Review (PUR) for assessment and comment by the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 Assessment Team and I am writing to thank you for that submission and inform you of the publication of the final report on this PUR.

We commend participation by authorities in undertaking, and reporting on, regular selfassessments and reviews of their records management arrangements. We anticipate that through uptake of the PUR tool, a stronger sense of collaboration and mutual support will be achieved between authorities and the Assessment Team. This will continue to enhance the culture of records management across Scotland’s public authorities. 

Records management NRS letter to Lesley Fraser 1 page PDF, 185.4 kB

Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011

The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (the Act) received Royal Assent on 20 April 2011. It is the first new public records legislation in Scotland since 1937 and came into force on 1 January 2013. Its primary aim is to promote efficient and accountable record keeping by named Scottish public authorities.

The Act has its origins in The Historical Abuse Systemic Review: Residential Schools and Children’s Homes in Scotland 1950-1995 (The Shaw Report) published in 2007. The Shaw Report recorded how its investigations were hampered by poor recordkeeping and found that thousands of records had been created, but were then lost due to an inadequate legislative framework and poor records management. Crucially, it demonstrated how former residents of children’s homes were denied access to information about their formative years. The Shaw Report demonstrated that management of records in all formats (paper and electronic) is not just a bureaucratic process, but central to good governance and should not be ignored. A follow-up review of public records legislation by the Keeper of the Records of Scotland (the Keeper) found further evidence of poor records management across the public sector. This resulted in the passage of the Act by the Scottish Parliament in March 2011.

The Act requires a named authority to prepare and implement a records management plan (RMP) which must set out proper arrangements for the management of its records. A plan must clearly describe the way the authority cares for the records that it creates, in any format, whilst carrying out its business activities. The RMP must be agreed with the Keeper and regularly reviewed. 

Records management NRS final report 2019 19 page PDF, 568.4 kB