National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Model Plan Guidance to Element 7

Model Plan Guidance to Element 7

As a result of changes to the Keeper’s Model Plan, this guidance is currently being reviewed. We hope to have this completed by the end of 2021. In the meantime, if you have any queries about the guidance, please contact the Assessment team.

Archiving and transfer arrangements

This is the mechanism by which an authority transfers records of enduring value to an appropriate archive repository, specifying the timing of transfers and other terms and conditions.
This is a compulsory element under the terms of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 Section 1 2(b)(iii)

In line with the Keeper of the Records of Scotland's (The Keeper) obligations under the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (the Act) the following guidance is issued regarding an authority's archiving policy and transfer arrangements.

A small proportion of records created by a public authority will be earmarked for permanent retention. These records will normally be removed from operational systems and transferred to an archive. This applies to records in all formats, although the procedure for transfer will vary (for example electronic records allow for records to remain 'live' until the successful transfer of the archive copy has been confirmed).

It is a fundamental part of a records management plan that procedures for facilitating such transfers are in place and are followed.

The Keeper will expect to see evidence of the processes in place as part of an authority's RMP. Such evidence might include memoranda of understanding between an authority and an archive repository, an internal schedule of preservation or an explanation of how automated systems archive electronic records and details of how metadata transfers with those records.

The Keeper does not wish to dictate what records an authority chooses to preserve, but it is a requirement of a robust RMP that a formal process for transferring records for permanent preservation exists. The nature and content of the records being selected for permanent preservation within the system is a matter for the authority and archive repository to consider.

Current best practice guidance, such as that from the National Archives advises that:

Once you have decided what information you want to keep and for how long, it is essential that you design processes to enable the schedules to be implemented. [In the case of electronic records] This requires close collaboration with IT and the Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO). [footnote 1]


Potential evidence of compliance would include a formal policy, approved by the senior accountable officer; a memorandum of understanding or deposit agreement with an archive repository or receipts from such a repository as evidence of records deposited over time and by agreement.

Archiving arrangements are specifically mentioned in the Act (1(2)(b)(iii)). Therefore, the inclusion of evidence that appropriate processes are in place must be submitted to the Keeper.

Sample Documents regarding transferring public records to a permanent repository

The following documents might give you an idea what such a document should include and how it might be styled.

Examples of memoranda of understanding between an archive and a public authority:
Keeper and Met. Office (254 KB PDF)
Keeper and OSCAR (254KB PDF)

Guidance Specific to permanent retention

Edinburgh University offers guidance on transferring records to an in-house archive:
Edinburgh University Transferring Records to the University Archives guidance (300 KB PDF)

It may be that you are considering archiving paper records in-house. The Information and Records Management Society offers this guidance:
IRMS guidance to managing paper records section 3 (255 KB PDF)

Although the Keeper does not require you to list what records you choose to transfer to an archive, Glasgow Life and Scottish Borders Council have supplied the following which offers some suggestions you might find useful when making these decisions:
Glasgow Life Appraisal and Disposal Policy (290 KB PDF)

Scottish Borders Council guidance on permanent retention

Complete Guidance Documents

See Guidance to Element 7 (571 KB PDF)

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Return to Model Plan

Return to Model Plan or read the complete guidance to Model Action Plan.



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