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Access to

Historic Records Standard












Using the Standard






Key Outcomes



Procedure for Access to Records



Linked Quarriers’ Policies and Standards



Legislation and Guidance



Relevant SVQ Links



One -  Access to Records       






Issued by Quarriers’ Quality Department
Quality Manual A, Core Standards


1.      PURPOSE


To define the ‘access to records’ service which people who used Quarriers services prior to 1997 can expect.


Information about accessing records after this date can be found in the Data Protection Standard.






This standard is for all Quarriers staff.





Quarriers is committed to:



Ensuring that the principles of the Data Protection Act are adhered to at all times (See also the Data Protection and Archiving Standard).



Ensuring that anyone making an enquiry about access to records will get an acknowledgement to their initial response within 2 weeks. 



Guaranteeing that any former user of Quarriers services will be able to view all of the records on them which are held by Quarriers, subject to the conditions of the Data Protection Act.



Ensuring that support is provided for people when accessing their file. 



Ensuring that the records of people supported by Quarriers prior to 1997 will be kept in perpetuity for historical and genealogical purposes. 







People have received the access to records which they have been seeking.



People are satisfied with the standard of service received in supporting them to access their records.



All members of Quarriers staff are familiar with the process of access to historic records. 




Action                                                                                                      Responsibility



When a member of Quarriers staff receives an enquiry regarding the access to a personal file of someone who used a Quarriers’ service prior to 1997, the enquirer must be directed to Quarriers’ Aftercare service.   Contact details for the Aftercare Service can be found on Quarriers Internal Telephone List.


All staff.  



The enquiry will be registered by the Aftercare service.  Staff in the Aftercare service will complete a referral form and determine whether the enquiry is either:

a)  aftercare, or

b)  genealogical.



If an individual wishes to see their own records, or the enquiry concerns a living individual, then the conditions of the Data Protection Act 1998 apply.  An enquiry to view records by the data subject(1) is free of charge.



A genealogical enquiry means that the data subject(1) is deceased and the Data Protection Act 1998 no longer applies.  This service is subject to a fee of £25 (inclusive of VAT).


Aftercare service



The enquirer is sent an acknowledgement letter and ‘Access to Records’ leaflet (Appendix One) within 2 weeks. 


Aftercare enquiry

Proof of identity must be obtained before personal information is passed on to the enquirer.  Examples of proof of identity would be utility bills, benefit books, driving licence.  Documents will be returned by recorded delivery.  If an enquirer is acting on behalf of the data subject(1), then proof must be received that the data subject(1) has given authorisation. 


Once a valid ‘Subject Access Request(2)’ has been received, Quarriers will respond within a maximum of 40 calendar days.


Genealogical Enquiry

On receipt of the fee (see 5.2) records can be accessed within 40 calendar days (See also 5.6).


Aftercare service







File retrieval


Aftercare service

Staff in the Aftercare service will examine the file contents.  Third party material will be identified and, where appropriate, permission will be sought from any third party before records are released.   A decision will be made regarding third party disclosure and, if necessary, any third party information will be redacted(3).


Aftercare service



Preparation to receive records


Aftercare service

The staff in the aftercare service will arrange for a discussion to take place with the enquirer to ensure they are aware of the context of the records and are prepared to receive them.


Aftercare service



Receiving the information


Aftercare service

Negotiations will take place with the enquirer as to how information is to be passed to them. 


The person will be supported to view records by a member of staff, where possible. 


When it is possible for people to come to Quarriers Head Office face to face support will be offered.  This will be negotiated with the enquirer.   Alternatively another agency may be asked to act on Quarriers behalf.   Additional support will also be offered by phone, letter or email. 


Quarriers will only send records to people we are unable to support personally if there has been sufficient support given to them regarding the context of their record. 


Reasonable support will also be offered with travel expenses, if required, within the UK.


A copy of records may be given if requested.


Genealogical service

The enquirer will receive an extract of key information of a file.  This may be sent by email.  The enquirer will also be offered the option to come and see the file at Quarriers Head Office. 


Aftercare service



Follow up support


Aftercare service

Follow up support may be undertaken e.g. clarification of historical context, further research, photographs. 


Aftercare service



1)      Data Subject – an individual who is the subject of personal data.

2)      Subject Access Request – a valid written request asking to see personal information by the Data Subject. 

3)   Redacted - removed. 






Data Protection and Archiving Standard


Quarriers Code of Professional Conduct





Data Protection Act (1998)





Level 3 and Level 4 Care Awards

      O2 Promote People’s Equality, Diversity and Rights


Level 4 Care and Registered Manager’s Award

      O3 Develop, Maintain and Evaluate Systems and Structures to Promote the Rights, Responsibilities and Diversity of People.








Access to Child Care Records – Your Legal Rights


Former Boys and Girls


Quarriers has for many years acknowledged the importance of information about the past being shared with adults who, as children, had lived in Quarriers Homes.


The Data Protection Act 1998, since its implementation in October 2001, now ensures that all agencies holding any records about people will need to make them available to the person they were written about.




Access to records of relatives is not permitted under the Act unless the access is authorised by the relative or the relative is no longer alive.  We will be happy to offer further advice about your particular circumstances.



What you can see and how it is stored


Because we don’t want you to be disappointed about what there will be to see, we offer the following facts about Quarriers records:


From 1878 to 1910 personal information was handwritten in large leather bound registers on a page to a family.  From 1910 to 1953 onwards annual registers of boys and girls were compiled and each child or family had a record file too.  From 1953 children were recorded by discharge date.  Until the 1970s file records mainly consisted of the admission forms, giving brief reason for admission, medical records and correspondence.  In some cases there are also brief reports from the cottage and from other agencies whose staff may have been providing a service to the child. 


Records generally become more informative in the 1970s as they are more likely to contain information relating to the child’s status as a child in the care of the local authority.  School reports are more likely to be included.


Quarriers’ annual reports through the decades provide non-identifying information about the operation of Quarriers.  In particular they give details of various migrations to Canada and later to Australia.  The reports contain some non-identified photographs of children. 


What you may not be able to see


Information about you that had been supplied by people other than Quarriers staff (i.e. a third party) is confidential and cannot be shown to you without the permission of the ‘third party’.  When there is third party information that you are not being shown, you will be told that this is the case.


A second type of ‘third party information’ is that which is written about another individual, and you should bear in mind that what will be made available for you to read will be information about YOU.  Anything in your records about other people will not be shared with you, because an individual is not entitled to know what is recorded about another individual.  In the case of families, each member of the family can have access to information about him/herself, but not to that about another family member. 


Where medical records contain information which requires medical interpretation these will be passed to a medical practitioner of your choice.  Should you prefer medical information of any kind to be passed to your GP for your collection this can be arranged with your written agreement.


Having said all this, for most people there will at least be an account of the circumstances which led to your admission to Quarriers.  You are also likely to find the names and dates of birth of family members given to Quarriers at the time. 




How will you arrange for me to see my records?


After you have written to us asking for information we will retrieve the record.  We will ask you if there is specific information you want so that we can direct our attention to that first. 


If you would like to view your original record Quarriers’ Aftercare staff will arrange with you a time to visit the office,or if this is not suitable, a mutually agreed venue.  Assistance with travel costs in the UK to Quarriers can be considered where this would be necessary.


If you do not wish to view the original record, written information extracted from the documents can be sent to you.  Copies of some documents can also be sent.


Where information is substantial Quarriers, with your permission, will arrange with a social service agency closer to your home to go through the record with you.  Information recorded at a time when attitudes and values were different and when those recording it did not expect it would be read by the subject can be difficult to hear. 



Will I need to verify who I am?


Yes, you will need proof of your identity before information is passed to you in person or in writing.  This provides security for us and for you as neither Quarriers nor you would want the wrong person to see your personal information (examples of proof would be utility bills, benefit books, driving licence).  Original documents will be returned by recorded delivery.



What will happen if I ARRANGE TO come to the office?


An Aftercare worker will be present to answer your questions, explain how the records were kept at the time when you were in Quarriers and attempt to help you fill in the gaps. 


You may want to bring your partner, a relative or a friend with you for support.  Reading material about yourself and your family background can be distressing.  Some people have told us that coming back to Quarriers is an emotional experience because it brings up memories of the past which they thought had been forgotten. 


Can I take my records away if I come to view them?


A copy of the smaller files can be made for you.  If the file is substantial selected parts can be copied for you.  The original record remains within Quarriers’ archives and can be viewed again at a mutually suitable time.



Will reading my records answer all my questions about the past?


This is very unlikely.  As we have already explained, there are many gaps in the records for all sorts of reasons. 


However, most people who have had information from their records in the past tell us that they are glad they asked.  Some say they have a better sense of who they are.  Some have a better understanding of why their families parted with them and this can be a healing experience. 



Can Quarriers refuse to let me view my record?


There is provision under the new Data Protection law for access to be at least postponed.  This would only happen in very exceptional circumstances where there was evidence of a real risk of harm occurring to either the subject of the record or another individual, as a direct result of reading the records.  In such unusual circumstances Quarriers would be obliged to:


a)      Demonstrate the existence of evidence of such a risk


b)      Ensure the person seeking access to their records was well supported both legally and emotionally


c)      Review the decision to withhold the records within a reasonable time, so that access to records could take place when the risk of serious harm had diminished


If you are dissatisfied with the access you have been given to your records by an Aftercare worker, you can make a complaint to the Service Manager of the Aftercare service who will investigate and inform you of the outcome. 











Access to Historic Records Standard


TO:     The Standards for Excellence Manual Holder


As a manual holder it is your responsibility to ensure that all your staff have read the appropriate part(s) of the Standard and understand that it is to be implemented from the date of issue.


All members of staff must read:


            The entire Standard


Please fill in the names of staff in the left hand column asking them to sign and date it when they have read the appropriate part(s) of the Standard.  When all signatures are obtained file this sheet behind the relevant standard.