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United Kingdom

Manage and Capture Digital Records (UK0046)



Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2013

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: The National Archives

Support Institution(s): CSOs: The International Records Management Trust

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: United Kingdom End-of-Term Report 2013-2015, United Kingdom Progress Report 2013-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



Ensuring the creation, capture and survival of essential public records is the ultimate guarantee of transparency for governments. Without good information management, there is no transparency; no records for public scrutiny and use or to provide necessary evidence to underpin data and statistics to benefit the wider public sector and the citizen.
The UK government needs to define clearly what records departments need to keep in the digital era, both in paper and digital format, and to enable them to do this efficiently and effectively. This will help to ensure that information is available and survives for scrutiny both now and in the future.
The UK government is working with archives across the public sector to help ensure that this potential is realised at both local and national levels.
On 1 January 2013, the period by which records selected for permanent preservation should be transferred to The National Archives and specialist places of deposit was reduced from 30 to 20 years. The change to a ‘20 year rule’ is being implemented over a ten-year transition period that will enable departments to transfer two years worth of records to The National Archives every year until 2023. This is estimated to have effected over three million government records. This is a key part of the UK’s transparency agenda and will see a wealth of historical material opened up to the public much earlier. The aim is to provide greater openness and accountability,
strengthening democracy through more timely public scrutiny of government policy and

Key achievements up to 2013 are:
- The National Archives worked with departments to examine existing processes and identify efficiencies. The work delivered an efficient, scalable and sustainable transfer process for paper records, which form the majority of records covered by the transition period, which delivered real cost savings to government
- during 2012, The National Archives also revised and updated its records collection policy. This defines the types of records that should be taken into its collection and that departments should identify for permanent preservation
- the Information Principles for the UK public sector were released in December 2011 under
the government’s ICT Strategy, which referenced many areas of guidance and best practice
supported by The National Archives
The National Archives has been preserving government websites for a decade. The UK Government Web Archive includes material that dates from 1996 to the present. It ensures that, through preservation and web continuity, links persist and government information published online remains fully accessible online. It also captures the websites of major public inquiries.
The key milestones for the delivery of this commitment are:
- by April 2014, The National Archives will deliver a fully operational mechanism for the accessioning and preservation of digital records – the Digital Records Infrastructure (DRI)
- by April 2015, The National Archives will have an efficient, scalable and sustainable process for the transfer of digital records to the DRI supported by publicly available guidance on its website and training for transferring departments
- by 2023, the transition to the 20 year rule will be complete; departmental compliance in transferring records to The National Archives under the Public Records Act is measured inits bi-annual Records Transfer Report, which details statistics on the status of departments’ progress


Open Government Partnership