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1921 census release

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Re: 1921 census release

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:05 pm

Guy wrote:From what I understand the Census (Confidentiality) Act 1991 has been rendered redundant by transferring the 1921 census from the GRO to the National Archives by the Statistics and Registration Service Board, this circumvents the legislation which prohibited the Registrar General (who previously controlled the census) from releasing it and allows it to be opened under Section 40 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 ...

OK - that's logical. Not sensible but logical.

Guy wrote: ... they created a precedent which now opens the way to allow virtually all later census to be transferred to the National Archives and therefore open to release. ...

Again, logical. Fat chance of it happening but that is the logical outcome of what they've done. We'll have to agree to disagree on what should happen but I do think that what the SRSB have done is lazy (they've avoided getting off their posteriors and passing the appropriate whatever) and incompetent (because of the precedent that it sets).
Adrian
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Re: 1921 census release

Postby junkers » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:11 pm

Guy wrote:
AdrianB38 wrote:
ONS were simply playing games with the records rather than doing their duty under law and transferring the records when they no longer needed to access them for operational reasons.


I find that a dodgy line of argument. Presumably they have finished with the 2001 census - are we really suggesting that ONS are playing games by not releasing that? The fact is that England expects (however erroneously) compliance with the spirit of a 100y closure period - which has been done as far as is feasible on the 1939 by the redaction process.


What about the fact that England believed that the Freedom of Information Act was designed to make all Government records available to the public with no exemptions based on class of records.

As the very first section of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 states :

“1 General right of access to information held by public authorities.

(1)Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled—

(a)to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, and

(b)if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.”

The 100 year closure period was imposed in 1966 by the Lord Chancellor's Instrument no. 12 of 1966 which was repealed in 2000 by the Freedom of information Act.
The repeal means it is no longer part of law.

So what you are saying is something that was brought in under secondary legislation (without being debated in parliament) and has since been repealed, takes precedent over a current Act of Parliament debated at length by both houses of Parliament and passed into law which still exists today.

Sorry but such dodgy dealing is why the population has no trust in governments no matter what party they represent.
Cheers
Guy


I definitely disagree with Guy's interpretation of the FOI Act, it was not ever accepted that all Government records would be released but you could ask for them to be opened and be informed of the result (and if necessary to appeal against the decision) but there are numerous caveats (personal data, Royal Family, defence and intelligence, etc) for non-release. It doesn't mean that the records would be opened, else Government would do so. For example people would be quite upset if their tax records were released during their lifetime. The fact that the Lord Chancellor's Instrument of 1966 was under the Public Records Act 1958 does not make it invalid, a lot of other files, like murder files and British Naturalisation files, are withheld under a similar Instrument.
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Re: 1921 census release

Postby Guy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:24 pm

junkers wrote:
I definitely disagree with Guy's interpretation of the FOI Act, it was not ever accepted that all Government records would be released but you could ask for them to be opened and be informed of the result (and if necessary to appeal against the decision) but there are numerous caveats (personal data, Royal Family, defence and intelligence, etc) for non-release. It doesn't mean that the records would be opened, else Government would do so. For example people would be quite upset if their tax records were released during their lifetime. The fact that the Lord Chancellor's Instrument of 1966 was under the Public Records Act 1958 does not make it invalid, a lot of other files, like murder files and British Naturalisation files, are withheld under a similar Instrument.


The Information Commissioner (IC) has agreed with my understanding of the FoI and has stated on a number of occasions that there is no blanket ban on releasing information based on class of records; the basic understanding is every record held by the Government and its departments is to be accessible to the public. That does not mean they all have to be opened or released but that the public have the right to request details of records that they want to inspect.
The IC has also set out that information given in confidence has to be disclosed unless it could lead to “an actionable suit in court” (i.e. it has to be possible for a person etc. to win a law case based on the release of the information)

Yes I agree there are a number of sections of the FoI which exclude the release of certain records but they do not include census records.
There have been changes to the law that controls the Census Records (the Census Act 1920) under the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 by using this Act they have sidestepped the Census (Confidentiality) Act 1991 by the fact that if the Census is retained at Southport it can never be released but by transferring it to the National Archives (Kew) the National Archives can release it.

When the main Government argument about retaining records is made based on public confidence it is counter-productive to then use devious methods to release those very records when it suits the Government department.

As to your other point the reason the relevant Lord Chancellor's Instrument of 1966 is no longer valid is it was repealed under the FoI in 2000.

Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
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Re: 1921 census release

Postby meekhcs » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:44 pm

Phsvm

Returning to your comment re closed accounts/100 year rule in the 1939 Register.

I am not sure there is any set rule used by the transcribers. I suspect it is down to updates done at a local level and fed into the system, or not!

My Mother passed away in 1994 and my Father in 2001. Both appear in the Register yet we have not supplied proof of their deaths. Had they still been alive they would have been 85 and 87 respectively so well under 100. Other Family members also appear who would be under 100 if alive today, but others who do not, even some who would be well past 100! Bit of a lottery, but still a great resource to have.
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Re: 1921 census release

Postby martinsykes » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:24 am

Is it worth setting up a Parliamentary petition to get the 1921 released earlier. In the USA they have a 75year rule!
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