National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Public Records (Scotland) Act Comes into Force

Public Records (Scotland) Act Comes into Force

Monday, 21 Jan 2013
Keeper’s Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 Annual Report-Image

The Hogmanay bells not only celebrated the New Year but the coming into force of The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (the Act) on 1 Jan 2013. The first new public records legislation for more than 70 years sets out a scheme for improving record-keeping across the Scottish public sector. The new law is aimed at improving public record-keeping in Scotland, and follows extensive consultation with the Scottish public sector and the records management community.

The Act will affect many public-sector organisations including local authorities, NHS, police and courts, as well as the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament. They are now obliged to prepare and implement a records management plan, to be agreed with the Keeper of the Records of Scotland (the Keeper), and which should be regularly reviewed. The Act also affects National Records of Scotland (NRS) who will be the first body invited to submit a records management plan for the Keeper's approval.

Plans submitted for the Keeper's agreement must detail the functions of each authority and the types of records that are created. They should show the policies in place for appropriate storage, retention, disposal, archiving and security of those records. They should also contain a statement, or records policy, that acknowledges the responsibility of the authority to properly care for the public records they create.

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that records created by public bodies are managed in an appropriate way. Implementation of plans will help develop a culture that promotes public records as a vital business asset that must be properly managed and protected. As well as increasing business efficiency, good records management will help authorities meet their statutory obligations and respond better to their users needs.

For more information about the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 see our dedicated web pages on the NRS(NAS) website