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Thursday 23 February 2017

News: National Archives of Scotland open 4,000 files on International Right to Know Day

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.

Bruce Crawford launches the file release initiative.

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."

Bruce Crawford looks through some of the newly-opened files.

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."

'An Open Secret' exhibition logo.

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.

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