National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Articles from 2012

Articles from 2012

23 November 2012
During September 2012, a series of five surgeries were run by the Public Record (Scotland) Act implementation team. Surgeries took place in Edinburgh, Dumfries, Perth, Inverness and Glasgow. A sixth event was also held at the Archivists of Scottish Local Authorities Working Group (ASLAWG) meeting in Haddington.

Surgeries were open to any representatives from named Scottish public authorities. At each event the team invited comments and questions about any aspect of the Public Record (Scotland) Act and its implementation. They explored issues or concerns raised by delegates about the practicalities of implementation and the respective responsibilities of the Keeper and public authorities. Each event highlighted new issues and brought forward fresh ideas and solutions. Some were specific to particular sectors but many were common to a number of authorities and there were several recurring themes. Those included information about how to deal with electronic records; publication of a proposed timetable or timeline by the Keeper; and the process for invitation to an authority to submit a records management plan.

The implementation team has now considered all of the issues raised and we are publishing a FAQ document in response. We hope that you find this useful.

[Read the FAQ document - Rich Text Format, 618 KB, new window]
[Read the FAQ document - Acrobat Reader, 42 KB, new window]

For those who did not have an opportunity to attend one of the surgeries, a copy of the presentation given at each event is also available for you to consult and download.

[Read the script of the presentation - Rich Text Format, 5.7 MB, new window]
[Read the script of the presentation - Acrobat Reader, 336 KB, new window]

Initial feedback suggests that the opportunity to talk face-to-face with members of the implementation team was very valuable and appreciated by delegates. They have indicated that it helped to de-mystify the process. We are therefore planning a further programme of events for the spring of 2013. Details will follow in the new year.

Should you wish to consider attending those events, please contact the implementation team at public_records@nrscotland.gov.uk.

10th August 2012
Today sees the launch of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland's Model Plan and the accompanying Guidance Document.

These documents have been developed in collaboration with colleagues from across the Scottish records management and archive community, including colleagues from Scottish public authorities and non-public organisations. The final versions take into account the responses to the public consultation that was carried out earlier this year.

Those who have been following the development of the Model Plan and Guidance will recognise the many changes from the first draft. Crucially, the Keeper has responded to comments received during the recent public consultation exercise. He has, for example, included more guidance on what might be regarded as acceptable evidence, reworded Element 11 (Audit Trail) in response to comments that the element did not articulate clearly enough what it was asking authorities to do, and has provided clarity regarding which elements are compulsory because they are specifically mentioned under the Act.

All links and samples of records management solutions in the Guidance Document will be kept up-to-date by NRS on a regular basis.

As well as the Model Plan and Guidance, the implementation team are launching two further documents today:

1) The Executive Summary – This document was specifically requested by Stakeholders. It takes the form of an address to CEOs of scheduled public authorities reminding them of their obligations under the Act. This document can be used by records managers to help emphasise the importance of the Act, and reinforce to their boards the duty of all named authorities to comply. It is, for example, succinct enough that it could be inserted in the agenda of a public authority board meeting.

2) The FAQs – Again suggested by Stakeholders, this document summarises some issues that were raised regularly during the consultation and explains the Keeper's position on each. Hopefully this document will clarify details of the implementation and what is expected of a submitted records management plan.

Please contact the implementation team if you need further help at any stage in this process: public_records@nrscotland.gov.uk

10 August 2012
The public consultation on the Keeper of the Records of Scotland's (the Keeper) Model Records Management Plan and Guidance Document ran from 27 Feb - 18 May 2012 and is now closed.

To remind you, the Keeper was obliged to publish a model plan (and guidance to that plan) under the terms of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (PRSA). The public consultation was a vital part of the process necessary for the creation of robust documents appropriate to the full implementation of PRSA in 2013.

The Keeper would like to thank all those individuals and institutions who responded to the consultation. His report on the issues raised by these responses, and the steps he intends to take in light of these responses.

[Read the Consultation Report - Rich Text Format, 813 KB, new window]
[Read the Consultation Report - Acrobat Reader, 108 KB, new window]

Full consultation responses, where specifically allowed by respondents, will be published in the Scottish Government Library. You can make arrangements to view responses by contacting the SG Library on 0131 244 4552. Responses can be copied and sent to you, but a charge may be made for this service.

31 May 2012

A meeting of the Stakeholder Forum took place on 31 May 2012.

[Read a summary of the Stakeholder Forum meeting of 31 May 2012 (RTF version) - Rich Text Format 175KB, new window].

[Read a summary of the Stakeholder Forum meeting of 31 May 2012 (PDF version) - Acrobat PDF 70.5 KB, new window].

18 May 2012

Close of public consultation

The public consultation on the Keeper of the Records of Scotland's (the Keeper) Model Records Management Plan and Guidance Document ran from 27 Feb - 18 May 2012 and is now closed.

To remind you, the Keeper is obliged to publish a model plan (and guidance to that plan) under the terms of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (PRSA). The public consultation is a vital part of the process necessary for the creation of robust documents appropriate to the full implementation of PRSA in 2013.

The Keeper would like to thank all those individuals and institutions who responded to the consultation. His report on the issues raised by these responses, and the steps he intends to take in light of these responses, will be issued shortly and published on this site. Full consultation responses, where specifically allowed by respondents, will be published in the Scottish Government Library. You can make arrangements to view responses by contacting the SG Library on 0131 244 4552. Responses can be copied and sent to you, but a charge may be made for this service.

12 March 2012

Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 - Consultation on the Keeper of Records of Scotland's draft Model Records Management Plan and Guidance Document

Introduction

The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 reached a crucial milestone when the Keeper of the Records of Scotland (the Keeper) launched a public consultation on the draft Model Records Management Plan (the model plan) and accompanying Guidance document. The consultation can be accessed via the Scottish Government website.

The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (the Act) received Royal Assent on 20 April 2011. The Act is designed to improve the quality of record keeping in Scottish Public Authorities. It can be viewed via the UK legislation page.

Part one of the Act requires named Scottish public authorities to submit a records management plan (RMP), approved by their senior officers, for consideration and agreement by the Keeper. The schedule listing the named public authorities affected by the Act can be viewed at the UK legislation page.

The Act also requires the Keeper to assist this process by issuing a model plan and guidance on the form and content of the plan. An authority must have regard to the model plan when preparing its own RMP prior to submitting it to the Keeper.

Before publishing the model plan and guidance, the Act requires the Keeper to consult with a range of bodies that will be affected by the Act. To develop the two documents, the Keeper therefore set up a Stakeholder Forum in June 2011, on which over 40 bodies were represented. The Forum ran for about 6 months, advising the Keeper on the form and content of the model plan. The resulting products of the Forum, the draft model plan and Guidance, are what is currently being consulted on.

What is the consultation about?

The draft model plan describes 14 standard records management best practice elements that the Forum agreed should be considered by an authority when creating its own RMP. Whilst it is not compulsory for an authority to slavishly copy the model plan, certain key elements are required under the Act. Where an authority chooses not to use an element, some explanation for this decision will be required by the Keeper.

The consultation gives all interested bodies the opportunity to consider the 14 elements and comment on their suitability.

Crucial to interpreting the model plan is the Guidance which explains in more detail each of the elements. It also provides sample documents as submitted by Forum members that are currently used by their own authorities.

Throughout the whole process, the principle of not re-inventing the wheel was seen as important to the success of the Act. In these difficult economic times, it made sense for public authorities to use work already done by their peers, rather than expend resources starting from scratch. The Keeper was therefore keen to emphasise the benefits of employing records management solutions already in place within similar authorities.

The Guidance document provides links to best-practice guidelines that are currently freely available. The Guidance will be dynamic and subject to continuous change to ensure that it reflects the most up to date best practice in records management. It will be regularly updated to reflect the changes and current thinking in this specialist field, ensuring that it always remains fit for purpose.

The consultation gives all interested parties the opportunity to examine the Guidance document, comment on its clarity and the usefulness of the sample documents provided.

What should you do?

Consider the draft Model Plan and Guidance and complete the short respondent information and response form. This form is opened from the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 - Consultation home page via the Scottish Government website.

As well as specific questions about the draft model plan and Guidance, the response form offers space to provide further comments.

What's next?

The public consultation on the draft model plan and Guidance remains open until 18th May 2012. Once closed, the Keeper will consider the responses received and analyse them. Depending on the comments, further discussion with the Stakeholder Forum may be arranged. A final version of the model plan and guidance will then be published.

Where respondents give permission for their response to be made public these will be made available in the Scottish Government Library and on the Scottish Government consultation web. We will check all responses where agreement to publish has been given for any potentially defamatory material before logging them in the library or placing them on the website. You can make arrangements to view responses by contacting the Scottish Government Library on 0131 244 4552. Responses can be copied and sent to you, but a charge may be made for this service.

The Keeper is working towards full implementation of the Act by January 2013 and is currently considering a timetable for inviting sectoral submission of RMPs. The timetable will be published during the latter part of 2012.

All interested parties, whether representing scheduled authorities or not, are encouraged to submit their comments through the formal on-line response procedure. However, the Public Records (Scotland) Act implementation team also welcomes direct correspondence in any format:

Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 - Implementation Team
National Records of Scotland
HM General Register House
2 Princes Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3YY
public_records@nrscotland.gov.uk

To keep up-to-date on the progress of the implementation of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 follow the Latest Developments on this page.

Hugh Hagan
Implementation Team Lead
0131 535 1409
hugh.hagan@nrscotland.gov.uk

Pete Wadley
Public Records Officer
0131 535 1408
pete.wadley@nrscotland.gov.uk

Robert Fotheringham
Public Records Officer
0131 535 1430
robert.fotheringham@nrscotland.gov.uk

Andy Wells
Public Records Assistant
0131 535 1418
andrea.wells@nrscotland.gov.uk