Guidance

FCDO archive records

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 main FCDO archives

The FCDO’s archive teams manage archive paper records housed at a departmental archive 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 FCDO’s archive teams are 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 UK departments and at overseas posts. Our archive teams work with departments in the UK and with overseas posts to organise the transfer of any material into FCDO central archives wherever that material must be reviewed 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 an FCDO 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.

Published 24 July 2013
Last updated 6 June 2019 + show all updates
  1. Page reviewed and current

  2. Page updated.

  3. Document updated

  4. Updated

  5. Updates to the FCO's archive inventory.

  6. This page was updated on the 31st January.

  7. Updated timetable.

  8. Updated information on the Colonial Administration files.

  9. Data amended to reflect newly available files.

  10. Update to the Archive inventory.

  11. First published.