On Monday 28 September, the Scottish Government and the National
Archives of Scotland (NAS) made available around 4,000 Government
files from 1979 to 1983 which would previously have remained
closed for 30 years. A further 7,000 files covering subsequent
years will be available between now and next May.
Files released in this phase cover topics as diverse as closures
of traditional heavy industries (e.g. shipbuilding, steel and engineering);
new developments in public health and housing, education and tourism,
the development of the enterprise culture and consideration of the
first Devolution proposals.
Minister for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford attended an
event in West Register House, Charlotte Square to mark the file
release. The Minster also opened a new exhibition entitled 'An
Open Secret', the exhibition looks at the history of government
attitudes to record and information closures from the 15th century
to the present day.
Speaking at the event, Mr Crawford said:
"The Scottish Government is committed to the principles that
underpin Freedom of Information legislation. Principles of openness
and transparency are essential parts of open democratic government
and responsive public services."
"It was in that spirit that I announced in June that the Scottish
Government would open files which would previously have remained
closed for 30 years, available to the public after 15. It is fitting
that the first tranche of files are being made available on International
Right to Know Day."
"The opening of these files has the potential to give us all
a greater insight into the information gathering and decision making
process within Government. I am sure there will be much in these
files to interest historians but also the wider public."
"The Scottish Government will continue to move in the direction
of greater open-ness and transparency."
George MacKenzie, Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
"I welcome this new release of government information. The
first tranche adds significantly to the range of historical information
available to researchers."
The exhibition entitled "An Open Secret" opens on Monday
28 September and will continue until June 2010 and is located in
West Register House, 17a Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH4 2DG. The
exhibition looks at the history of changes in government attitudes
to record and information closures. The exhibition is open Monday
to Friday from 0900 to 1630 and admission is free.
News coverage of this major event is also available at the linked
pages under 'Other websites' on the left-hand side of this page.