§ Mr. Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage and how many documents in 1996 she estimates were(a) passed on to the Public Record Office intact, (b) passed on to the Public Record Office in censored form, (c) retained by his Department in full, (d) retained by his Department in part, (e) destroyed, (f) otherwise disposed of and (g) otherwise unaccounted for. 141W
§ Mr. Ingram
[holding answer 11 June 1997]: No Northern Ireland Office records were passed to the Public Record Office in 1996. The earliest Northern Ireland Office documents will be due for transfer to the Public Record Offices when they become 30 years old in the year 2002. The suitability of those documents for permanent preservation will be reviewed under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958 and/or the Public Records Act (NI) 1923. Neither Act requires statistics to be kept in the form requested. The Chief Executive of the Public Records Office for Northern Ireland has written to you with such information as he has as he has available. To comply with their duties under the Acts the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Departments make arrangements for the safe keeping of their records, with a view to their eventual release to the public. The general arrangements for extended closure or retention of public records as set out in Chapter 9 of the White Paper Open Government of July 1993 (Cm 2290) apply in Northern Ireland.
Letter from A.P.W. Malcomson to Mr. Norman Baker, dated 10 June 1997:The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your recently tabled Parliamentary Question about the percentage and number of documents which in 1996 were (a) passed on to the Public Record Office intact, (b) passed on to the Public Record Office in censored form, (c) retained by her Department in full (d) retained by her Department in part, (e) destroyed, (f) otherwise disposed of and (g) otherwise unaccounted for.The place of deposit for the records of the Northern Ireland Departments is the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, where separate transfer arrangements operate, namely under the Public Records Act (NI) 1923.In 1996, a total of 200 linear metres of records (equating to about 7,000 files) were transferred to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Departments, the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Court Service. No records were retained in whole or in part by the Departments.There would be prohibitive cost involved in compiling statistics for the percentages and numbers of documents destroyed. There is no mechanism in Northern Ireland for the disposal of records other than by transfer to the Public Record Office in Northern Ireland.I hope you find this information helpful.