Access restrictions

Why are some classes of record subject to a 100 year access restriction?

To comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 Hampshire Archives and Local Studies Service has to restrict and track public access to any records which may contain personal data. We have a particular duty to protect sensitive personal information which relates to a living person. For that reason a 100 year access restriction applies to several classes of record. These include hospital records, school records, criminal records and the records of social care. These records cannot be produced in the public search room in the usual way.

How will I know if a record is subject to an access restriction?

We identify restricted records as such in the online catalogue. The detailed catalogue entry for each item will note if an access restriction applies. It will usually also tell you when the restriction expires. If you are in any doubt about what access conditions apply to a particular document please contact us well in advance of your visit or before you submit a research application.

Can I use a restricted record for general historical research? (for example, use a restricted school log book for research into the history of a school)

We cannot make restricted records available in the public search room in the usual way. But sometimes it may be possible for staff to supply information from the restricted item in response to specific questions. You must submit these questions as part of a paid research application. Please contact us to discuss your research needs.

Can I request information about a deceased person from a restricted record?

Yes, but we may need you to use our paid research service. In some circumstances you will need to provide a copy of a death certificate to prove that the person you are researching has died. Information may still be withheld if there is a possibility that its release could cause substantial damage or distress to living friends or relatives. We will consider applications on a case by case basis.

The protocols governing access vary according to the type of record. Please contact us before starting your research. We will be able to offer advice on the availability and relevance of records. If appropriate, we may help you make a formal application for the information they may contain.

What if I think that HALS holds information about myself?

Under Data Protection rules you have a statutory right to request information about yourself which you think we may be holding. Please contact us for advice on making an application.

Will I be able to see the actual record?

Even if you have permission to access information about a named individual, we cannot allow you to handle any volume, file or record that may contain personal information about a third party. Information supplied in response to a formal application will normally be posted or emailed to you. It will take the form of document transcripts or, if appropriate, photocopies, scans or digital photographs.

Your responsibilities as a researcher

As a researcher you have responsibilities in respect of personal data. When you get such data from records held by HALS you assume responsibility for compliance with the Data Protection Act.

This duty extends to personal data that you may come across in records which are not subject to a 100 year access restriction. You are responsible for looking after that data and for any later use you make of it. Please read our Data Protection leaflet.

Full guidance on the provisions of the Data Protection Act can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Your responsibilities