Committee supports Public Records Bill at Stage 1

03/02/2011

Legislation to ensure there could be no repeat of the significant failures in records management in residential schools and children’s homes, has come one step closer with the publication today of a report by the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee.

The Public Records (Scotland) Bill has received the backing of the committee in its stage 1 report. The committee believes the findings of the Historic Abuse Systemic Review (HASR) and the experiences of former residents of residential schools and care homes in accessing personal records form a persuasive argument that legislation is required.

While the committee believes that organisations in receipt of public money have a responsibility to manage records effectively, it does recognise the concerns of voluntary sector organisations who fear the Bill will place an onerous administrative burden on them. It has welcomed the Scottish Government’s pledge to work with public authorities and contractors to resolve these issues.

Committee Convener Karen Whitefield MSP said: “We found the findings of the Historic Abuse Systemic Review (HASR) and the experiences of former residential and care home staff a very persuasive argument that legislation is required to ensure effective management of records generated in relation to vulnerable people.

“We also recognise the concerns of voluntary organisations and note that the Scottish Government is continuing to work with the voluntary sector to address these concerns.”