The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 (PRSA) received Royal Assent on 20 April 2011 and came into force in January 2013. It is the first new public records legislation in Scotland for over 70 years.
Hugh Hagan is Senior Public Records Officer with the National Records of Scotland – the leaders and regulators of Scottish public records legislation. He and his team won the IRMS Records Management Team of the Year in 2013.
In this discussion Hugh discusses –
- the compelling story that prompted the Act – The PRSA fulfils one of the main recommendations of the Shaw report which documented the findings of an independent review of the systems in place to protect children and keep them safe in residential care. The review was prompted by allegations of systemic child abuse, and covered the period between 1950 and 1995. The Shaw Report found that poor record keeping often created difficulties for former residents of residential schools and children’s homes, when they attempted to trace their records for identity, family or medical reasons. The Report recommended that “the government should commission a review of public records legislation which should lead to new legislation being drafted to meet records and information needs in Scotland”
- records management plans – the Act requires public authorities to submit both a records management plan, and supporting evidence that shows how they are implementing the plan. They are encouraged to publish both the plan and, where possible, the supporting evidence. These plans look set to provide an ever-growing knowledge base of good practice to organisations both public and private in Scotland and beyond. Examples already published include NHS Fife and Falkirk Council .
- the uniqueness of the legislation – the Act covers not just of the records directly managed by Scottish public authorities governed by the Act but of third party organisations delivering functions on behalf of those authorities
- the approach to implementation – including the model records management plan and the guidance prepared by the National Records of Scotland
The conversation between Heather Jack and Hugh Hagan took place in September 2013.
The podcast is 47 minutes long.
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