Guidance

Preparation for transfer to The National Archives of 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 FCO files

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is required under the Public Records Act to transfer files selected for permanent preservation to The National Archives (TNA).

In November 2013, the FCO completed a project to transfer nearly 20,000 colonial administration files to TNA.

Work on the release of colonial administration files over the 2011-2013 period regrettably caused a backlog in the regular transfer of FCO annual files to TNA. The FCO has now deployed most of its file transfer resources back onto the review and release of annual transfer files and aims to comply with the timetable of transition to the 20-year release by 2022. The timetable governing transition to the 20-year release is given on The National Archives website.

Timetable for preparing 1981 to 1986 files for release

The timetable below shows the order in which the FCO is preparing these files for release and the year in which we expect the files to be ready for physical transfer from the FCO’s archive to The National Archives. Please note that the timetable does not show the date at which the files will be available for public release at the TNA. Following physical transfer from the FCO, the TNA requires a further period in which to prepare the files for release.

For files created in 1983 and later, we are prioritising the preparation for release of high priority annual departmental files. We have agreed this prioritisation with the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council. In deciding how to prioritise annual departmental file series we take into account previous demand at The National Archives.

Class description TNA Class Record year Readiness for transfer to TNA
Arms control and disarmament 66 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Central Africa Department 106 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Claims 64 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Commonwealth Co-ordination Unit 68 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Communications Department 19 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Consular 47 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Cultural relations 13 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Defence 46 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Eastern Africa 31 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Eastern European and Soviet 28 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Energy 96 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
European Community External 98 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
European Community Internal 30 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Far Eastern 21 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Financial relations 59 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Hong Kong and General 40 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Information policy 26 1980 Available at TNA
    1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Latin America 7 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 Available at TNA
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Legal 52 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Library and records 12 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Marine and transport 76 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Mexico and Caribbean 99 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Middle East 8 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 Available at TNA
    1983 Transferred to TNA
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Migration and Visa 50 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Nationality and treaty 53 1981 2014
    1982 2015
Near Eastern and North Africa 93 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
North America 82 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 Available at TNA
    1983 Transferred to TNA
    1984 2015
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Nuclear energy 151 1982 2015
Overseas Labour Adv 71 1981 (0 files)
    1982 2015
Parliamentary Commissioner 72 1981 Retained by FCO under s3.4 of
    1982 The Public Records Act
Planning staff 49 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Protocol 57 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Research 51 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Republic Of Ireland 87 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 Available at TNA
    1983 Transferred to TNA
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
South Asian 37 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
South East Asian 15 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
South Pacific 107 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 Available at TNA
Southern Africa 105 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Southern Europe 9 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 Available at TNA
    1983 Transferred to TNA
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
Trade relations 69 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
UK Presidency secretariat 104 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
United Nations 58 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 Available at TNA
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017
West Africa 65 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
West Indian and Atlantic 44 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
Western Europe 33 1981 Available at TNA
    1982 2015
    1983 2015
    1984 2015-2016
    1985 2016-2017
    1986 2017

Number of Files Awaiting Transfer

The following table shows the number of 1982-1983 standard departmental files which have been selected for permanent preservation and which are awaiting transfer to TNA:

Year Total files
1982 7170
1983 5931

Standard departmental files created in 1984 or later are currently being selected for permanent preservation.

Back to top