National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future



The Assessment Team continued to work from home throughout 2021 but were able to develop online stakeholder engagement and participate in a number of online conferences, talks and events. 

In early 2021, due to the impact of Covid-19, the Assessment Team paused the invitation process for the submission of reviewed records management plans (RMPs). These are invitations to authorities who have already submitted and have an agreed plan in place, but which were agreed by the Keeper over 5 years ago. Under Section 5(2) of the Act the Keeper cannot revisit a public authority’s RMP for five years after it has been agreed. Section 5(1)(a) of the Act states that RMPs must be regularly reviewed to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of public authorities. That said, under Section 5(6) of the Act, an authority can voluntarily submit a reviewed plan at any time they wish. The invitation process for the submission of reviewed records management plans recommenced in December. Throughout the year invitations continued to be issued to authorities to submit their first RMP, and to participate in the PUR process.

The Assessment Team held the first online PRSA surgeries using Microsoft Teams in March. One to one meetings with authorities also continued remotely throughout the year. We held nine online surgeries over the course of 2021. The Team, and our stakeholders, adapted to this new way of working. Online engagement allowed us to capitalise on the ability to accommodate larger numbers of attendees at events and draw on a broader range of speakers. This was exemplified by the M365 surgery which attracted over 180 attendees and hosted a panel of five speakers, including an international expert on the subject from Australia. 

The following online surgeries were held over 2021:

General Surgeries - 8th & 16th March; 22nd & 27th April
Newcomers Surgeries –29th June; and 29th July
Special Surgery Element 15 – 31st August
General Surgery –27th September
Special Surgery Microsoft 365 – 26th October

As always, our Scottish public authority colleagues and others kindly contributed to the above events by presenting papers. In 2021 we were joined by speakers from Government Records at NRS; West Lothian Council; Historic Environment Scotland; Seamab School; East Lothian Council; NHS Education for Scotland; Fife Council; Police Scotland; and Andrew Warland Consulting. 

The Guidance to the Keeper’s Model Plan continued to be updated and guidance specific to Element 15 (public records created or held by third parties) was added and published in February.