§ Lord Donoughue
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the detailed minutes taken by Cabinet Office officials at meetings of the Cabinet (but not published or distributed) are destroyed or retained; if they are destroyed, after how many years they are destroyed; and if they are retained, after how many years they become open to scrutiny.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Wakeham)
The detailed minutes taken by the Secretary of the Cabinet are in notebooks which are retained in the Cabinet Office with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, under section 3(4) of the Public Records Act. The notebooks containing minutes taken by other members of the Cabinet Office Secretariat are destroyed when no longer required for preparing the official record of the discussion.
The question of the release of Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks has recently been considered in accordance with a recommendation in the Wilson Committee's 104WA Report on Modem Public Records (Cmnd 8204). The Lord Chancellor has approved the continued retention of the notebooks. A further review will take place in 10 years' time.