The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's archive management teams.
The FCDO’s commitment to transparency
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is committed to increasing public knowledge about its policies and work. We are committed to complying with the Public Records Act and to full transparency with respect to our record holdings.
The FCDO Archives
The FCDO paper archive is at Hanslope Park near Milton Keynes and in commercial storage. A smaller proportion of paper archive files is managed centrally in London and East Kilbride. The Archive team is also responsible for FCDO’s archived electronic records.
The FCDO makes a distinction between standard departmental files and non-standard files. Standard files are those created by the former DFID and FCO departments and organised in line with departmental file plans in use at the time. Files which are not organised in this way are categorised as non-standard. The non-standard files are generally older than the standard files and a significant proportion were created by the FCO and DFID’s predecessor departments.
Some archive records are held outside the FCDO’s central archives, in FCDO departments in the UK and at UK embassies and offices abroad. We are working to arrange the transfer of material to the central FCDO Archive for review under the Public Records Act.
The FCDO’s paper file inventory
In line with Section 10.2 of the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the management of records, the FCDO carries out regular record audits. We publish a snapshot of our paper file inventory on GOV.UK. The FCDO will periodically publish regular updated versions of the archive inventory.
The FCDO paper file inventory is a dataset which helps FCDO staff carry out searches of FCDO records and which informs our record review work under the Public Records Act. The inventory is a working document and is continually updated.
The FCDO’s file release process
The FCDO’s file release process guidance sets out the file review and release process in detail.