National Archives
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World leader website launched

A new website launched yesterday by The National Archives will give clearer, faster and
simpler access to legislation, from Magna Carta to the latest statutory instruments. At
www.legislation.gov.uk
 people will for the first time be able to find details of everything
on the statute book in the same place, for free.

The site will enable officials, lawyers and ordinary citizens alike to scrutinise the laws on
which their legal rights and responsibilities are based. A simple web search will quickly
find key legislation such as the Consumer Credit Act and the Data Protection Act. This
will make Government more transparent. It will also save considerable resources in time
and therefore money.

Lord McNally, Minister of State and Deputy Leader of House of Lords, said of the
website, “This is the public‟s statute book. Legislation.gov.uk presents complex
information in a clear and intuitive way. This groundbreaking work puts democracy at
the heart of legislation and makes a major contribution to the government‟s
transparency agenda.”

This new official site will show both the original version of any piece of UK legislation
covering all jurisdictions (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and details of
any amendments and updating so that those accessing it can see how the legislation
evolved. The site will show a timeline feature which will give a unique insight into how
the law has changed and help people to understand the status of what they are looking
at.

The website is a world first, letting people identify and reference legislation in a
completely new way. It clarifies the scope and scale of the statute book, making it more
accessible by introducing an interactive browse and timeline facility - now users can
easily filter down through each section to find the paragraph they are interested in. The
development of the site takes forward Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s recent call for
wider democratic involvement in the legislative process. In line with the government’s
open data policy and drive towards greater transparency, Legislation.gov.uk gives
access to legislation data for others to use, in their own applications and services, for
the first time.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, who chairs the Public Sector
Transparency Board comments: “We pledged to put transparency at the heart of
everything we do in government and have already released a series of datasets about
people, jobs and salaries that had been previously unavailable to the public. Only by
making as much information as possible freely available can people really start to hold
politicians and public bodies to account. Having 200 years worth of legislation readily
available at the touch of a button is a fantastic tool for anybody who wants to better
understand the law.”

The National Archives plays a pivotal role in ensuring government data is accessible for
all. Acting CEO of The National Archives, Oliver Morley, enthusing on the launch
said, “We‟re making a bold statement in support of transparency today. By using the
latest technology and opening up the raw data underpinning Legislation.gov.uk, The
National Archives has given global access to the nation‟s „operating system‟. I‟m proud
to say this website is the only example of its kind in the world. It provides access to an
invaluable and historical resource for anyone wanting to know what the law actually
says.”

Legislation.gov.uk replaces The Office of Public Sector Information (www.opsi.gov.uk)
and Statute Law Database (
www.statutelaw.gov.uk) websites to deliver an integrated
and responsive service and better value to the taxpayer. The new site brings together
content from both sites providing effective navigation around the documents and
between versions. Users can also link between associated legislative documents
including EU legislation on the EURLex. There also multiple options for downloading
and printing the legislation. The website is huge, consisting of 6.5 million distinct web
pages and a further 6.5 million PDF documents.

TSO, a private company has worked with The National Archives’ editorial team on the
transition of data from the existing legislation websites to deliver this state of the art
legislation publishing service.

Ahead of the website launch, The National Archives are providing media the opportunity
to preview the website. To access, please enter Username: live, Password: l1v3s00n
For further information, images or to arrange an interview, please contact The National
Archives press office on 020 8392 5277 or e-mail
press@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

 

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