National Records of Scotland

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Scottish Cabinet Papers from the Year 2000 Opened to the Public

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Scottish Cabinet Papers from the Year 2000 Opened to the Public

Friday, 1 Jan 2016
Sculpture of Donald Dewar

From 1 January 2016, Scottish Cabinet papers and other government records opened for the first time at National Records of Scotland (NRS) show details about the first full year of operation of the newly-established Scottish Executive, now the Scottish Government.

A central event in the year 2000 was the death of Donald Dewar, Scotland’s first First Minister. The Scottish Cabinet minutes show the impact his death had on Government and Parliamentary business. The files include details of the Cabinet meeting Mr Dewar chaired the day before he died (10 October 2000). Following this meeting, an accident occurred on the steps of Bute House as he was leaving the building which led to his death.  A minute of an extraordinary Cabinet meeting held the following day is a sombre but historic note recording the death of the First Minister.

Other matters of interest considered by Cabinet include student tuition fees and a fuel shortage in Scotland following the impact of a blockade of the Grangemouth oil refinery.

These files form part of the annual release of archived information by the Scottish Government. Since 2009 the Scottish Government has proactively opened over 13,000 files at 15 years. This adds to a considerable amount of information from the year 2000 which is already publicly available at NRS, due to the Scottish Government’s policy of proactive release. That includes files on areas as diverse as proposals for a Borders Rail Link and land reform legislation.

In welcoming the latest file releases, Tim Ellis, Chief Executive of NRS and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said  ‘The annual release of Scottish Government information is always much anticipated and of interest to many people, including historians, researchers and the wider public. Last year saw the release of the first Cabinet Papers and minutes of the then new Scottish Executive, shedding light on the earliest days of the first administration.  This year’s release – including the first full year of Scottish Cabinet information – continues this process and I hope generates a similar level of interest.’

Also welcoming this latest release of information, Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Parliamentary Business, said ‘I look forward to the latest release of Scottish Government information by National Records of Scotland.  As with last year’s first release of Scottish Cabinet information, I anticipate those files now being made public will make fascinating reading.

‘Information made available at National Records of Scotland as well as the wealth of information proactively made available on the Scottish Government’s website demonstrates this Government’s ongoing commitment to openness and transparency.’ 

Following the New Year public holiday, the newly opened files will be available to view in our public search room from Tuesday 5 January.  The Cabinet files will be available in digital format. Many of the other paper files will be available in January without the need to pre-order, though some are held off-site and require to be ordered in advance. Details are found in the file lists below.

The full list of files released in 2016 can be viewed in either PDF or Rich Text Format.  Also published is a list of the government files from the year 2000 already available. The open records complement many of those on the end year release list.

Please note that you will need a current reader’s ticket to see files in our search room. See how to obtain a reader’s ticket, and what preparations to make, in the preparing to visit page of our website.

Files Release List (PDF 220KB)
Files Release List (RTF 1.83MB)

Year 2000 Files Opened Prior to January 2016 (PDF 114KB)
Year 2000 Files Opened Prior to January 2016 (RTF 1.25MB)