National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Local Government Records Legislation

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Local Government Records Legislation

Legislation falls into two categories – primary and secondary legislation. Primary legislation comprises Acts of Parliament. Acts often make provision for related, but more detailed, regulations to be issued by means of statutory instruments. These statutory instruments are known as secondary legislation. In Scotland, the same relationship exists between Acts of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Statutory Instruments.

Several local government acts include provisions affecting records. In most cases, only one or two sections of these acts are relevant. These sections, together with a short introduction to the acts they come from, are given below.

Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 introduced a two-tier system of local government comprising 9 regional authorities (divided into 53 district councils) and 3 unitary island councils. This arrangement came into effect in 1974 and survived until 1995. The Act also includes several sections with a bearing on the recording and publication of information and on rights of access to records. However, Section 200, which governed the transfer of records between the old and new authorities and required the new authorities to make 'proper arrangements' for their records, was repealed by the Environment Act 1995.

We have produced a copy of the relevant parts of the 1973 Act, incorporating amendments made by subsequent legislation.

Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985

As the title suggests, this Act is largely concerned with setting out the rights of access to information held by local authorities.

We have produced a copy of the relevant parts of the 1985 Act, incorporating amendments made by subsequent legislation.

Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994

This Act replaced the two-tier system of Scottish local government with 29 unitary authorities, coming into effect in 1995. It also provided for the transfer of property, including records, between the old and new authorities and obliges local authorities to make 'proper arrangements' for their records after consulting the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.

We have produced a copy of the relevant parts of the 1994 Act , incorporating amendments made by subsequent legislation.