Tuesday, 19 January 2010

1939 England and Wales - 'in like Flynn' strategy

Readers will be aware of the extensive coverage on this blog over the last few weeks concerning the 1939 national identity register for both the Scottish records and their southern equivalents.

Guy Etchells, who made the initial application and appeal down south, has suggested on Rootschat that it may be worth making an enquiry now on the English and Welsh side of things whilst the decision is still being made on how access will be provided. The simple reason is that you are likely to get it for free just now, before some new pricing model comes in.

English and Welsh returns can only be accessed by address (not date of death as with Scotland), so an application should state that you are interested in obtaining information on a particular address in a certain town or city under the Freedom of Information Act. The application should be e-mailed to the National Health Service Information Centre at enquiries@ic.nhs.uk.

Following Guy's advice, I made an application yesterday to find info on my grandfather's cousin, based in St Albans, and received an e-mail this morning form the NHSIC. The following are the key parts:

I am writing to acknowledge that your request for information was received by The Information Centre on 19th January 2010.

Your request is currently being considered. If The Information Centre is able to provide you with the information you have requested, then under the Freedom of Information Act you are entitled to receive it within 20 working days. We may need to contact you to clarify your request.


The Information Centre will not normally charge a fee to provide you with the information you have requested, unless the cost of dealing with your request is more than £450. If it appears likely that your request will cost more, I will write to you again asking if you are willing to pay the fees incurred, clearly setting out what those fees will be (in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act).

It's unlikely that a request will costs £450! In other words, now may be the time to adopt the ago old genealogical research technique of 'getting in like Flynn'...!


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