National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Progress Update Reviews

Progress Update Reviews


The continuing success of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (“the Act”) in enhancing awareness of the need for appropriate records management provision is widely acknowledged to be the result of regular and meaningful communication between the Keeper of the Records of Scotland (“the Keeper”), the Public Records (Scotland) Act Assessment Team (“the Assessment Team”), and public authorities. Following a series of consultations with stakeholders, the Progress Update Review (“PUR”) mechanism was announced in the Keeper’s 2016 Annual Report as a means of facilitating this on-going dialogue. The PUR mechanism is designed chiefly to provide a platform through which authorities can receive constructive feedback and advice from the Assessment Team following any internal self-assessment of their agreed Records Management Plan (“RMP”). It also provides a window corresponding to the PUR invitation schedule, within which authorities can, if they so choose, submit revised RMPs for assessment and agreement by the Keeper.

Regardless of whether an authority has achieved their intended goals or continues to work towards them, taking advantage of the PUR process will enable Key Contacts to report on, and be credited for, the initiatives they are implementing and the progress they are effecting. Regular communication between the Assessment Team and Key Contacts will help to ensure that the Assessment Team remains up-to-date on an authority’s progress and that application of the agreed records management provisions remains a priority within authorities. It is anticipated that through encouraging the regular submission of updates, a strong sense of mutual support will be achieved between authorities and the National Records of Scotland (“NRS”). It is hoped that the implementation of the PUR mechanism will contribute to the success of the Act and promote a change of records management culture across the public sector in Scotland.

PUR Assessment Process

The Assessment Team will operate a rolling programme of invitations to named public authorities inviting them to voluntarily submit a PUR. The Team would expect to receive submissions from authorities within three months of the receipt of an invitation.

The Invitation Schedule lists when authorities can expect to receive an invitation from the Assessment Team. This Schedule shall be regularly updated to reflect the ongoing agreement of new RMPs.

Invitation Schedule (168 KB PDF)

 A Guidance Document has been prepared by the Assessment Team in collaboration with the Keeper’s Key Contacts and others from across the public sector. Whether authorities are seeking feedback following a self-assessment of an agreed RMP, or requesting the Keeper’s agreement of a revised RMP, they should refer to the Guidance Document.

Guidance Document (442 KB PDF)

 Authorities seeking feedback on self-assessments of their agreed RMPs will be issued with a partially completed PUR template reflecting the information provided in the original Keeper’s Assessment Report on their agreed RMP. The Key Contact is required to only provide details on subsequent updates and adjustments in the column titled ‘Self-Assessment Update as Submitted by the Authority Since <Date>’. The template should then be returned to the Assessment Team for comment.

The Assessment Team will aim to provide feedback within two months of a submission through an Interim Report which shall be delivered to the Key Contact. A further month will be assigned to allow the Key Contact to make representations before the PUR Final Report is delivered to an authority’s Key Contact and CEO or Senior Manager. The Final Report will also be published on the NRS website.

 Authorities wishing to submit revised RMPs for agreement by the Keeper should include, alongside the completed PUR template, the revised RMP accompanied by a covering letter signed by the senior officer named at Element 1 of the Plan. Revised RMPs will be formally assessed by the Keeper in the manner prescribed by the Act. The Final Report on revised RMPs will likewise be published on the NRS website.  

Please note that whilst the PUR mechanism provides a structured system to manage ad hoc submissions of revised RMPs by offering authorities a designated time each year in which to submit them, each authority will continue to be legally entitled under s.5(6) of the Act to submit a revised RMP for the Keeper’s agreement at any time.

The PUR mechanism, alongside the Guidance Document and Invitation Schedule, will be kept under review by the Assessment Team in the initial stages of the PUR’s roll-out. During this period these documents will be subject to amendment and modification.

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