Select Committee on Administration Second Report


The Administration Committee has agreed to the following Report:—


1. At its meeting on 18 May, the Administration Committee considered a paper submitted by the Clerk of the House (see Appendix), seeking the Committee's views on proposals that record copies of public Acts should be preserved on archival paper, rather than on vellum, and that the practice of depositing duplicate copies of public and private Acts at the Public Record Office should be ended.

2. The Clerk put forward four arguments in support of his proposals:

samples of the record copies of the Private Acts deposited in the Lords' Record Office from 1956 have been tested and reveal no deterioration in the archival paper on which they have been printed[1];

archival paper has the advantage of being considerably less bulky and easier to handle than vellum[2];

there would be substantial savings to public funds from such a change[3]; and

the use of vellum is a specialised form of printing which few printers are equipped to carry out, and which probably even fewer would be prepared to take on[4].

3. The Committee was convinced by the arguments above, and noting the agreement of the Master of the Rolls and of the Public Record Office[5], therefore recommends:

that from the first chapter of the year 2000 the record copy of public Acts preserved in the House of Lords Record Office should be preserved on archival paper and not on vellum, and both private and public Acts should have archival paper covers; and

that the deposit of duplicate record copies of both public and private Acts at the Public Record Office should be ended, with effect from the same date.

4. As the current arrangements were provided for in Resolutions passed by both Houses in 1849, it is necessary for both Houses to amend or supersede them. The Committee therefore submits this Report to the House for its approval, as a basis for an amending Resolution. Similar, and parallel, procedures are taking place in the House of Lords.

1  Appendix, para 5 Back

2  ibid, para 6 Back

3  ibid, paras 7 and 9 Back

4  ibid, para 8 Back

5  Letters to the Clerk of the Parliaments from the Master of the Rolls (7 May) and from the Keeper of Public Records (18 May). (Not reported). Back

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Prepared 21 June 1999