Accessing information that's restricted for statutory and legal reasons
Sometimes we have to restrict access to original documents to comply with legislation, particularly the Data Protection Act, 1988 which relates to sensitive or confidential information about people who might still be alive.
How can I find out about these statutory and legal restrictions?
What does the legislation allow me to see at the Archives?
The terms of the legislation let us make some documents with restricted information routinely available to you. They also let you access some other restricted information that we hold. You can do this by request.
Restricted information that is routinely available
Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, 1988 we can let you see some types of documents containing restricted information about people providing you agree not to use this in a way that might cause distress to those concerned or inform decisions relating to them. The documents that fall into this category are all less than 100 years old and include some school, Board of Guardians and parish records. We will let you know when this restriction applies and ask you to sign a Researcher Undertaking.
Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, 1988 and the Representation of the People Act, 2000 we can let you see electoral registers that are less than 10 years old providing you agree to make only hand-written copies. We will ask you to sign a Conditions of Use declaration before you use them.
Restricted information that you can ask to see
You can make a Subject Access Request for information the Council has about you in its records, including information in the following records at the Archives:
- Adoption and fostering registers and files
- School punishment books and pupil's files
- Some gaol (prison) records which might include information about the victim
- Some Magistrates' Court records which might include information about adoptions or fostering
- Some police records
- Some parish records
You can also see some documents containing restricted information if you get permission from the organisation that created them. If the organisation no longer exists you can seek permission from its successor organisation. The documents that fall into this category are:
Medical records less than 100 years old for many hospitals in Gloucestershire, a few hospitals in South Gloucestershire and the Gloucestershire lunatic asylum - please contact the Health Records Manager of the NHS Trust concerned. You can get their details via the NHS Choices website.
Coroner's inquest files less than 75 years old for Gloucestershire and some coroner's inquest files less than 75 years old for South Gloucestershire - please contact the relevant service, either Gloucestershire Coroner's service or Avon Coroner's service
Other reasons for restricting access to documents
Please see our Accessing restricted documents page.