Mr Waldegrave's Need to Know

On June 25th, 1992, William Waldegrave, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, took the first step introducing a new 'open' government policy on Public Records. Speaking on the Radio 4 Analysis programme, in what has become known as the 'Waldegrave initiative', he said, 'I would like to invite serious historians to write to me ... those who want to write serious historical works will know, probably better than we do, of blocks of papers that could be of help to them which we could consider releasing'. Many historians did write detailing documents that they believed had been withheld past the Thirty Year Rule without justification.

In July 1993 Waldegrave published the 'Open Government' White Paper. Chapter nine proposes further changes in public record policy, easing restrictions that had previously caused documents to be withheld over thirty years.

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