Advisory Council on National Records and Archives - Member roles x8

Body: Advisory Council on National Records and Archives
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 8
Remuneration: No
Time Requirements: Around 20 days a year. The Council meets four times a year - in February, May, July and November. Members will also be expected to participate in 8-10 Freedom of Information Panels and to attend a training day each year.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has appointed Moira Andrews and Liz Copper as Members of the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives, for four years from 22 January 2018, and Peter Gooderham and John Wood have been appointed as Members for three years from 22 January 2018.

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    13/02/2018 at 12:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Role and Background

The Advisory Council on National Records and Archives (the Advisory Council) was created in 2003 and encompasses two previously established bodies, the Advisory Council on Public Records and the Advisory Council on Historical Manuscripts. Since then these Councils have functioned as one body and now advise the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Advisory Council on Public Records was established by the Public Records Act 1958 (PRA). It advises the Secretary of State on matters concerning public records in general and, in particular, on those aspects of the work of The National Archives which affect members of the public who make use of its facilities. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), it also advises on matters relating to the application of the FOIA to information contained in public records which are historical records within the meaning of Part VI of that Act.

In 2010 the Advisory Council Historical Manuscripts was renamed the Forum on Historical Manuscripts and Academic Research. As a sub-committee of the Advisory Council it provides a means through which recommendations about activity relating specifically to historical manuscripts (private archives), as well as a place for discussion about academic research issues, and works closely with The National Archives’ Research and Collections Directorate.

The Advisory Council is supported by a secretariat provided by The National Archives.


The Advisory Council is chaired, ex officio, by the Master of the Rolls, Head of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, who is also the statutory custodian of the records of the Chancery of England and has the statutory charge and superintendence of manorial records. The Master of the Rolls is currently Sir Terence Etherton.

It has 16 members with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including historians, journalists, researchers, retired senior public, civil and diplomatic servants, and information professionals such as archivists, librarians and records managers.

Members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in line with the Governance Code on Public Appointments, and regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA).


The Nature of the Work

Advising on applications from departments for the extended closure of historical records under the FOIA or to retain public records under the PRA (closure and retention)

A significant part of the Advisory Council’s time is taken up with considering and advising on applications from government departments who wish to retain records past the point at which they become historical (20 years) or to close access to records transferred to The National Archives using FOI exemptions.

Members receive schedules of applications five times a year (a month before each meeting and an additional schedule in September) to scrutinise and raise any queries they may have on the balance of public interest where departments have argued for retention, or extended closure under FOI exemptions. The responses to these queries are then discussed at Council meetings; if the Council remains unconvinced it can request further information and invite departmental representatives to a future meeting. Departments can also be invited to discuss their plans for the review and transfer of records.

The current processes for the review and transfer of records are set out in the Code of Practice on the Management of Records issued under s46 of the FOIA 2000
Advising on the application of the FOIA to information contained in public records that are historical records where an FOI request has been received (FOI Panels)

FOI Panels are convened on a regular basis, and as often as necessary, to discharge the responsibilities of the Council, on behalf of the Secretary of State, in respect of requests for the disclosure of historical records held by The National Archives or by other government departments made under the FOIA. The purpose of the panel is to advise the department owning the requested record on the balance of the public interest in release and non-disclosure at the time of the request.

Panels are composed of three members. Members serve in rotation, rotas being agreed a few months in advance. Each panel is sent a batch of between 8 and 15 cases to consider. Due to the statutory time limits for responding to FOI requests, panels are asked to respond within one week. Members can expect to serve on between 8 and 10 panels a year.


Person Specification

Essential skills and experience

All candidates for the Advisory Council should provide evidence of the following core skills and attributes:

  • Ability to weigh up the balance of arguments objectively and independently
  • Ability to engage in and facilitate strategic thinking
  • Ability to collaborate, negotiate and influence at a senior level
  • Ability to be confidential and to work with information of a restricted nature
  • Ability to scrutinise and influence policy
  • Ability to demonstrate energy and persistence


Desirable criteria

Specialist knowledge in one or more of the following areas:

  • Archives policy and information management as practised in libraries, archives and records offices, or developed as a discipline in the information management and information rights communities.
  • Journalism and media experience as a professional journalist, press officer or media officer
  • Users of archives experience of academic or independent research, genealogy, local history, or popular history; an understanding of the needs and concerns of researchers in these fields
  • Public policy and government experience of working with or in national or devolved government at a senior level; an understanding of the political and administrative framework of government


Additional Information


New members receive a comprehensive induction and have the option to be paired with a ‘buddy’ from amongst the more experienced members. Members are also expected to attend a refresher seminar each year.


Terms of Appointment

Appointment Term: Appointments will be for a minimum of either three or four years.

Time Commitment: Around 20 days a year. The Council meets four times a year – in February, May, July and November. Members will also be expected to participate in 8-10 FOI Panels and to attend a training day each year.

Remuneration: Appointments to the Advisory Council are unpaid. This is currently under review. Reasonable travel and subsistence costs will be reimbursed in line with the Advisory Council’s T&S policy.

Location: Advisory Council meetings are held at The National Archives, Kew, or a central London location. FOI Panels are conducted online and by telephone.

Security Clearance: Successful candidates must be willing to undergo security at Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) level.

Availability: Successful candidates will be encouraged to take up their appointments as soon as possible, subject to security clearance, and ideally to attend the next Advisory Council meeting on 13 November.

Confidentiality: Due to the nature of the material the Advisory Council considers members routinely have access to sensitive information. They are required to exercise care in the use of official information acquired in the course of their duties, and not to disclose information which is held in confidence.

Conduct: Members are expected to abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (see Annex A).

Conflicts of Interest: Members are required to declare any potential conflicts of interest that arise in the course of work with the Advisory Council, and to declare any business interests, positions of authority, or connections with organisations and individuals relevant to Advisory Council business. Members are expected to complete a register of members’ interests annually, which will be made public on the Advisory Council’s website.

Complaints: If you are not satisfied about the way in which your application is handled at any stage of the competition, please contact OCPA.


How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • a CV of no more than two sides of A4;
  • a supporting statement of not more than two sides of A4, setting out how you meet the criteria – make sure you refer to the contents of this document;
  • the Monitoring Form concerning your personal information and political activity, and the Declaration of Interests Form.


Completed applications should preferably be emailed to: – please put ACNRA in the Subject line.  Or, if this is not possible, post a hard copy to Bruce Simpson, Public Appointments Team, Dept for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 100 Parliament Street, London SW1A 2BQ, by 29 September 2017


For queries in relation to ACNRA, further information on the role or questions regarding the Public Appointments process, please contact either:


Conflicts-of-Interest-Form-1 (10) (1)
ACNRA-Candidates-Pack-FINAL (1)
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