National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Progress Update Reviews

Progress Update Reviews

1. Introduction

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”).

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. It is hoped that the implementation of the PUR mechanism will contribute to the success of the Act and promote an improvement in records management culture across the public sector in Scotland.

2. 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 will be regularly updated to reflect the ongoing agreement of new RMPs.

Invitation Schedule (165 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 (662 KB PDF)

Each year, normally around the anniversary of the latest RMP agreement, authorities will be issued with a partially completed PUR template reflecting the information provided in the Keeper’s Assessment Report on their latest agreed RMP. The Key Contact should 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 a Draft Report which will be sent to the Key Contact. A further month will be assigned to allow the Key Contact to make representations before the PUR Report is finalised and provided to the Key Contact. The Final Report will also be published on the NRS website. The Assessment Team will also provide a letter, addressed to the Chief Executive (or equivalent) of the authority, thanking them for engaging with the PUR process and commenting, in general terms, on the findings in the report. This letter will be provided to the Key Contact to be forwarded to the Chief Executive as the Key Contact thinks appropriate. It will not normally be sent directly to the Chief Executive.

Please note that whilst the PUR mechanism provides a structured system to manage informal reviews of agreed RMPs. All authorities will continue to be legally entitled under s.5(6) of the Act to formally submit a revised RMP for the Keeper’s agreement at any time. An authority intending to take this route should contact the PRSA Team for guidance.

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