HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 c26W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Prime Minister what is the(a) purpose and (b) audience of internal histories; and what procedures determine the selection of (i) topics and (ii) authors. [91850]

The Prime Minister

The purpose of internal histories is to provide factual, accurate and authoritative background information for members of departments on particular topics; planning and decision making; to evaluate the effectiveness of policy and to point out possible lessons for the future. The target audience for internal histories is primarily relevant departmental staff.

These histories are not written for publication but as public records they are considered under the Public Records Acts for release to the Public Record Office. As has been the practice under successive administrations, it is a matter for Departments whether they wish to conduct an internal history and topics are usually commissioned by senior staff in departments in response, for example, to a need for analyses of major developments or operations or to provide factual reports on particular events. Authors are usually drawn from officers from the department with relevant experience or from within their historical branches.

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