Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fifteenth Report



APPENDIX III

Memorandum by the Lord Chancellor's Department

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE (FEES) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/691)

  1. The Lord Chancellor's Department submits this memorandum in response to the request dated 25 March 1999 on the points set out below.

    1.  In relation to the fees to be charged for the supply of additional finishes of direct copies of original documents, paragraph 6.1(ix) of the Schedule states "Prices on request". Specify these fees, and explain why they were not specified in the instrument itself, given that section 2(5) of the Public Records Act 1958 requires the fees to be prescribed in a statutory instrument.

  2. The supply of additional finishes was being proposed as a new service. The Department is advised by the Public Record Office that it would not be possible to specify the absolute amounts of the fees at present because is not yet known what finishes customers would request under this head, and the type of finish would be a major determinant of the cost of providing the service. For the same reason it would not be possible to set a fee by reference to hourly rates for the work carried out, as is done for some other services. On reflection, the Department takes the view that the vires for a fee couched in these terms are open to doubt, and it is therefore intended that an instrument to revoke the fee will be made as soon as possible.

    2.  In relation to the fee (authentication of copies of records) specified at paragraph 9 of the Schedule, explain the reason for the increase from £12.50 to £20.

  3. The Public Record Office advise that the fee of £20 reflects the cost of providing the service, including the cost of the time taken by a senior archivist to carry out the authentication, and that the size of the increase from the previous figure, set by the Public Record Office (Fees) Regulations 1998, results from the fact that the previous fee failed adequately to take those costs into account.

30 March 1999


 
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