National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Corporate Information

Corporate Information

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Access Policy

Our Access Policy describes how National Records of Scotland makes archives publicly available using a variety of channels, including onsite services, digital services, education and learning and in partnership with other organisations. You can read it on our Research page.

Biodiversity Duty Report

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, all public bodies in Scotland are under a statutory duty to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 introduced a further statutory requirement for public bodies in Scotland to provide a publicly available report every three years. Our Biodiversity Duty report covering years 2018 – 2020 is available below:

British Sign Language (BSL) Plan

Our British Sign Language (BSL) Plan sets out how we will promote and support BSL in accordance with the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015.  Our plan follows the Scottish Government’s BSL National Plan, published in October 2017, which was developed through extensive engagement with Deaf and Deafblind BSL users and those who work with them. 

Climate Change Duties and Environmental Policy

Action to mitigate current and future effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a duty placed on all public bodies through the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. These documents set out our organisational commitment to minimise our impact on the environment, the actions we intend to take and the improvements we aim to achieve.

Customer Engagement

NRS commissioned its first large-scale customer survey in early 2019 (March to April) which was carried out by Progressive Partnership Ltd.

The online survey covered the majority of NRS public services and websites and was publicised through a range of communications channels. The survey aimed to establish a baseline of customer satisfaction levels for comparison in any future customer engagement activity.

The survey results can be found in the reports below:

Audience research – customer personas

An audience research project, undertaken by Storm ID on behalf of NRS, aimed to explore how our customers engage with us both online and face-to-face to find out more about the different types of customer we support and their needs, in order to develop a framework of customer personas.

Each persona is a fictional but realistic example of a typical NRS customer, grouped by age, location, level of interaction and what challenges and motivates their behaviour. These are grouped into type of user, from novice to expert, and cover customers of both online and face-to-face services.

The customer personas framework will be used to help us understand our audiences better and ultimately help inform future service improvements.

For further information, please see documents below:

Data Protection Policy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 regulate the processing of personal information within the UK. Our data protection policy sets out our obligations and demonstrates our commitment to compliance. We require all of our employees to comply with the data protection laws and to ensure that any personal information we collect is used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed to any person unlawfully. This applies both to the information which we create and receive in the course of administering our own business, and to the records of organisations and private individuals which are deposited with us for historical purposes.  For more information refer to our data protection page.

NRS Data Protection Policy

Employee Engagement

The Employee Survey is part of the Civil Service People Survey which covers 98 UK Departments. This is an important part of a programme of work to develop a cross government approach to employee engagement.

The purpose of the survey is to obtain employee views about various aspects of working in the Scottish Government and NRS. It looks to identify what works well and what could be improved with a particular focus on employee engagement. It provides us with information that can help us develop appropriate action to make us a more effective organisation, recognising the acknowledged benefits of having an engaged workforce.

NRS People Survey

You can find out more about the Civil Service People Survey and view results for NRS and the Civil Service as a whole by visiting the Civil Service website

Documents below contain our People Survey results:

Equality Duty

Archived Equality Schemes

Estates Review

In line with the requirement of all Government bodies and departments to ensure our estates portfolio remains fit for purpose and cost-effective we embarked on our Estates Review last year. We recognise the important role we have as the guardians of some of Scotland’s most treasured possessions and information and are committed to making sure that we do that job well at the same time as improving our services to customers.

Framework Document

This framework document sets out the broad framework within which NRS will operate and defines key roles and responsibilities which underpin the relationship between the organisation and SG. While this document does not confer any legal powers or responsibilities, it forms a key part of the accountability and governance framework and should be reviewed and updated as necessary.

Framework Document (615 KB PDF)

Health and Safety Policy Statement

The National Records of Scotland regards good standards in health and safety to be an integral element of efficient business management. To support this key objective we ensure adequate resources are made available to develop and maintain a comprehensive health and safety management system and through pursuing progressive improvements through the NRS Health and Safety Policy by:

  • Ensuring commitment of all employees to clear health and safety objectives
  • Controlling workplace hazards by the application of risk assessment methodology
  • Taking responsibility for controlling factors that could lead to ill health, injury or loss
  • Communicating appropriate health and safety information, encouraging co-operation and establishing appropriate levels of competence

We will by our actions seek to promote and develop a positive health and safety culture, and ensure that:

  • All statutory requirements are observed and are treated as the minimum standards to be applied to all our activities;
  • Employees are made aware of potential hazards and the precautions to be adopted, by providing information, instruction, training and supervision;
  • Steps are taken to identify the immediate and underlying causes of work related injuries and ill health and implement any preventive action necessary;
  • Employees are actively encouraged to participate in health and safety arrangements and in conjunction with their local health and safety representatives submit ideas and suggestions for improving standards;
  • Access to professional and knowledgeable advice on health and safety matters will be made a vailable;
  • That health and safety is developed and improved in an active partnership arrangement with recognized Trade Union Representatives, and NRS managers and staff;
  • There are effective arrangements in place to maintain safety in activities that involve the general public and work conducted by our contractors;
  • There is an ongoing process of policy development and implementation to meet new and existing legislation;
  • There is a formal periodic review of performance and management system arrangements.

Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 Annual Reporting

Open Data

Open Data is data that can be used and shared by anyone, for any purpose, without restriction and for free.  Routinely publishing Open Data increases transparency, helps the public to access data and helps to deliver excellent online public services.  Open Data is not commercially sensitive and contains no personal information which could be used to identify individuals. 

The Scottish Government has an ‘ambition for all data by 2017 to be published in a format of 3* or above.’  All of NRS’s data relating to official statistics is currently compliant with this standard.

The Scottish Government’s Open Data Strategy, published in February 2015, states:

Organisational Open Data publication plans will realise the vision of a Scotland which makes its public data open, we need all organisations to develop and implement their own Open Data publication plans. Organisations should identify core data which they plan to make open (this includes one off data sets and time series data sets which will be published on a recurring basis).

Following on from the Scottish Government Strategy, NRS have developed our own Open Data publishing plan.

The Plan published below contains a list of our core statistical data sets and how we measure ourselves against Open Data standards. The Plan is a living document and will constantly evolve and we will continue to add other information / data to the plan as appropriate.

All data contained in this publication plan are covered by the Open Government licence, which makes it easy to reuse the data subject to a few conditions. Should you have any questions around any data sets included please contact: - statistics customer services.

Open Data Publishing Plan (197 KB PDF)

NRS Publication Scheme

Freedom of Information: National Records of Scotland Guide to Information - Covering the Responsibilities of both the Registrar General for Scotland and the Keeper of the Records of Scotland

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the Act) requires Scottish public authorities to produce and maintain a publication scheme. Authorities are under a legal obligation to:

  • publish the classes of information that they make routinely available
  • tell the public how to access the information and what it might cost.

National Records of Scotland has adopted the 'Model Publication Scheme ' produced by the Scottish Information Commissioner. You can see this scheme on the Scottish Information Commissioner's website.

The purpose of this Guide to Information is to:

  • allow the public to see what information is available (and what is not available) in relation to each class (A class is a group of information having one or more common characteristics such as subject or origin.)
  • state what charges may be applied
  • explain how to find the information easily
  • provide contact details for enquiries and to get help with accessing the information
  • explain how to request information we hold that has not been published.

A copy of our Guide to Information can be found at:

Records Management Plan

The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 obliges named public authorities to prepare and implement a Records Management Plan (RMP) setting out proper arrangements for the management of their corporate records. The offices of Keeper of the Records of Scotland and Registrar General for Scotland are named as separate authorities in the schedule of the Act. As both offices are currently held by the Chief Executive of National Records of Scotland, a joint RMP is maintained. A first RMP was agreed by the Keeper in 2013 and a revised RMP was agreed in January 2021. 

You can download the current version of the NRS Records Management Plan that was agreed by the Keeper below:

Download the NRS Records Management Plan – September 2020 (694 KB PDF)

You can read the Keeper’s assessment reports on the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 pages of our website. 

Records Management Policy

The systematic management of our own administrative records is essential in order to protect and preserve them as evidence of actions, support future activities and business decisions and ensure accountability to present and future stakeholders and customers. The Records Management Policy sets out the procedures and practices needed to control and manage our own records efficiently and effectively.

Re-use of Information

NRS encourages the re-use of the information we produce, hold and disseminate in fulfilment of our public task. For more information about the categories of information which can be re-used and the terms on which they are available please read our Re-use of Public Sector Information Statement. (179 KB PDF)

Social Impact Pledge

The Social Impact Pledge challenges public sector bodies to increase the positive impact we make on our local communities by committing to do at least three things in the next six months that we don’t already do.

Download the Social Impact Pledge (272 KB PDF)

Statement of Public Task

Our Statement of Public Task (147 KB PDF) sets out the functions carried out by National Records of Scotland that are within our public task under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015. The Regulations require public authorities to provide details about the information, created in fulfilment of its public task, which can be re-used. National Records of Scotland encourages the re-use of the information we produce, hold and disseminate. Our Re-use of Public Sector Information Statement (179 KB PDF) explains the categories of information which can be re-used and the terms on which they are available.

Whistleblowing and Raising a Concern

Our Whistleblowing and Raising a Concern Procedure outlines the process that employees should follow when reporting a perceived wrongdoing within our organisation, including something they believe goes against the core values in the Civil Service Code (the Code) i.e. integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality.

This procedure has been written in accordance with the process set out in the Code and in the Civil Service Management Code. Under the Code, civil servants have a right and a responsibility to speak up and report behaviour that contravenes the Code’s values.