News In Focus
January start for new public records law
20 September 2012
Stronger duties on public authorities in relation to record keeping will come into force in January 2013, the Scottish Government Culture Secretary confirmed yesterday.
Under the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011, named public authorities including the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, local authorities, the Scottish courts, the NHS and others, will be required to produce and implement a records management plan to be agreed with the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.
The legislation was passed in response to one of the main recommendations of the Historical Abuse Systemic Review (the Shaw Report of 2007). It found that poor record keeping often created difficulties for former residents of residential schools and children's homes, when they attempted in adulthood to trace their records for identity, family or medical reasons.
Since royal assent the Keeper of the Records of Scotland and his officials have been working with interested parties to develop a model records management plan and guidance, which was published last month, following a consultation.
Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said on announcing the commencement: “The Act is the first passed in Scotland on public records in over 70 years. It aims to improve the way public authorities deal with records. It seeks to ensure that we as public servants work to safeguard people’s rights, protect their identity and secure our collective memory.”
She added: "It is my sincere hope that, with this legislation in place, people who have been in care will never again experience the grief and frustration of discovering that records about their earlier lives are incomplete, inaccurate - or simply not there.”