12 March 2011

General Register Officer for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland Merging to Form National Records of Scotland

A new body - the National Records of Scotland - will start work on April 1, Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop announced today.

The date will mark the official merger of the General Register Office for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland, as part of the Scottish Government's programme to simplify and streamline public bodies.

The National Records of Scotland will be responsible for :
  • Preserving, protecting and promoting Scotland's national archives
  • The registration of births, marriages, civil partnerships, deaths, divorces and adoptions
  • Running the census
  • Publishing information about Scotland's population and households
  • Connecting everyone with Scots ancestry to information about their past
Ms Hyslop said:

"At a time when it has never been more important to maximise the value of public spending in
Scotland, the Scottish Government is determined to make our public services simpler, sharper, better co-ordinated and more responsive.

"The new body will build on the excellent work which is already being done, continuing to reach out to everyone interested in
Scotland's demography, history and family history. It will have an important role to play in promoting Scotland's unique culture and in supporting Scotland's economy, both through the statistics it publishes and its contribution to ancestral tourism.

"This merger is entirely in line with the Government's commitment to simplify the public bodies landscape in Scotland. Through our Simplification Programme, we have already delivered a reduction in the number of public bodies from a baseline of 199 to 147 (at 1 April 2011).

"We are on track to reduce this further to 115 by the end of 2011, as well as delivering estimated net savings of around £125 million by 2013 and net recurring annual savings of around £39 million thereafter.

"The merger of the General Register Office for
Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland will help us to achieve that aim, making savings for the taxpayer while maintaining the high quality of services provided."

The amalgamation will see the existing functions of the General Register Office for
Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland continue under the National Records of Scotland.

The two bodies already work closely to provide a service to family historians, both at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh and online at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/. That cooperation will be strengthened, and widened to other functions, offering the opportunity to streamline administration, particularly on the finance function.

The new body will be headed by the Registrar General for Scotland, Duncan Macniven, and the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, George MacKenzie.

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