Retention of archives and our legal basis for processing them
We have a public task under the Local Government Act 1972 to make 'proper arrangements' for the records in our care. This includes archives, which is why we have our own repository, Derbyshire Record Office.
The record office is an appointed Place of Deposit for Public Records under the Public Records Act 1958, and acts as record office for the Diocese of Derby under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978.
The Local Government Act 1962 also allows us to acquire records of local significance over and above our own administrative records, to care for them and make them available for study by the public.
Most of the archives are so old that they do not mention anyone who is still alive, but where they do contain personal data, we process this as a public task.
Some archival records contain 'special category' data, which could include evidence of your political, religious or ethnic affiliations, or data concerning your health history. Data protection legislation allows us to hold such records on the grounds that they have been 'archived in the public interest'. We hold the information permanently, so that it may be used for research. We hope that future generations will be able to find out about the lives of their ancestors, just as record office visitors do today.
Less often, there is personal information about people who are still alive in documents cared for by Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, or in the records of the county archaeology service. These records may also be regarded as having been archived in the public interest.
Find out if you are mentioned in the archives
We can help you find out if you are mentioned in the archives. Derbyshire Record Office holds records of official bodies, private businesses and voluntary groups of all sorts, some of which mention people who are still alive.
For instance, if you were born in a Derbyshire hospital, baptised in a Derbyshire church or educated in a Derbyshire school there is a chance that your name will figure in the archives. It all depends on whether the person or organisation that created the records in the first place has ever passed them on to us.
To get a better idea of whether you might be mentioned, check our catalogue. Most records are not indexed to individuals so try searching for records of an organisation that is relevant to you instead of searching for your own name.
Seeing a document that may mention you
If you want to see a document that may mention you, please contact Derbyshire Record Office, giving the reference number of the document. We can confirm whether it is 'open' or 'closed'.
If the document is open (for example, if is a published book, article or public register), you can look at it in our search room.
If the document is closed, access will be restricted for a specific period of years. We follow the advice of the National Archives (attached to this page) when setting the closure period by estimating the age of the youngest person mentioned and assuming they went on to live to the age of 100. For instance, you may find that an admission register for a school that took pupils from the age of 5 is closed for 95 years.
However, even if the document is closed to prevent you from seeing someone else's information, it will not stop us letting you have a copy of your own. You can make a request to access your information, quoting the reference number of the document and supplying proof of identity. When your form arrives, we will reply within one month, even if we need to consult a data controller before releasing the information. We would only redact a copy of a document to block out someone else's personal data.
If the catalogue shows that the records were created by us, you can assume that we're still the data controller. Otherwise, we're only a data processor. The organisation that caused the records to be created, or its successor, still has the responsibility of being the data controller.
Sharing your information
In general, we do not share your information with anyone else. However, some researchers are permitted to use closed archives if they are carrying out relevant historical, scientific or statistical research, providing that their finished work does not identify you as an individual. The police may also access closed archives if they are investigating a crime.
We verify the identity of anyone using the archives, and keep tightly controlled records relating to people who use closed archives, to make sure the system is not abused. If you're a researcher, please contact us to discuss your needs, and consult the archive users privacy notice.
We limit access to the full version of the electoral register following British Library guidance. This says that if the register was published within the last ten years, a researcher can take handwritten notes but not a photograph. But however old an electoral register is, it can only be used for research purposes. Our catalogue reminds researchers of this, and states that they must not make information available in a way that identifies any living person.
If you're completing an access form on someone else's behalf, you should include evidence of your entitlement to do so, such as a letter of permission or a Power of Attorney. If the person is no longer alive, a subject access request is not appropriate. But we can search the closed archives for you, as part of our copying and research service.
Keeping your information safe
Security matters to us a lot. Find out how we keep your information secure.
Your rights and who to contact about them
You can find out more about your rights as a data subject. Where records have been archived in the public interest, you do not have the right to have them corrected or erased.
If you want to complain about how we handle your personal data you can contact the data protection officer:
You also have the right to contact the Information Commissioner.
There are other ways of getting in touch with us.