PUBLIC RECORDS AND ARCHIVES ADMINISTRATION ACT - 1997 (ACT 535)
(1) The Public Records and Archives Administration Department established under the Public Records and Archives Administration Department (Establishment) Instrument, 1996 (L.I. 1628) shall be responsible for the proper and effective management of records in public institutions of government to which this Act applies.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section the Department shall-
(a) ensure that public offices, institutions and individuals who create and maintain public records follow good record keeping practices;
(b) establish and implement procedures for the timely disposal of public records of no continuing value;
(c) advise on best practices and establish national standards in records keeping in the public services;
(d) establish and implement procedures for the transfer of public records of permanent value for preservation in the National Archives or other archival repository as may be designated under this Act; and
(e) perform any function conferred on the National Archives under any other existing enactment.
(1) There is hereby established a Records Advisory Committee for the Department referred to in this Act as "the Advisory Committee".
(2) The Advisory Committee shall consist of-
(a) the Director of the Department;
(b) one representative each from-
(i) the Department of Library and Archival Studies, University of Ghana (Legon);
(ii) the Public Services Commission;
(iii) the Attorney-General's Department;
(iv) the Ministry of Finance;
(v) the Ghana Library Board;
(vi) the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences;
(vii) the Judicial Service; and
(viii) the Parliamentary Service;
(c) the Head of the Office of the Civil Service who shall be Chairman;
(d) two other persons who are knowledgeable in the management of public records.
(3) The members of the Advisory Committee shall be appointed by the Civil Service Council.
(1) The Advisory Committee shall meet as often as it shall determine but shall meet at least twice a year.
(2) The Chairman shall preside at every meeting and in his absence the members present shall elect one of their number to preside.
(3) The quorum shall be one-third of the membership.
(4) Questions before the Advisory Committee shall be decided by a majority of the members present and voting and where there is equality of votes the Chairman shall have a casting vote.
(5) There may be co-opted on the Advisory Committee such members as the Advisory Committee may determine except that no co-opted member shall have the right to vote on any matter for decision before the Advisory Committee.
(6) Except otherwise provided in this Act, the Advisory Committee shall regulate its own meetings.
The Director shall be responsible for ensuring the management and keeping of current public records and shall-
(a) provide professional assistance, advice and guidance on the establishment and management of filing systems:
(b) establish and ensure compliance with prescribed standards for the management of the records;
(c) draw up general retention schedules for approval and issue by the Council;
(d) agree with heads of public offices on retention schedules relating to records specific to the offices, which shall be issued on the authority of the Council;
(e) ensure the implementation of retention schedules; and
(f) authorise the disposal of current records not provided for by retention schedules.
The head of every public institution where public records are created and kept, shall establish good records keeping practices within the registry for management of public records in accordance with standards directed by the Department which standards shall include-
(a) creation and management of current records within appropriate filing systems;
(b) implementation of retention schedules;
(c) transfer of semi-current records into the custody of the Director except where the records remain classified or secret on grounds of-
(i) national security;
(ii) maintenance of public order;
(iii) safeguarding of revenue; or
(iv) protection of personal privacy and the deferment of their transfer has been approved by regulations made under this Act.
The head of the regional office of the Department shall be responsible for implementing in the region the general policies of the Council on records management and shall in respect of public records created, received and maintained in public offices and other institutions at regional level perform the functions set out in section 7 and 8 of this Act.
(1) There shall be stored for preservation in the National Archives under the Department such public records of sufficient historical or other value as justify their continued preservation by the Council.
(2) The Director may on the advice of the Advisory Committee and with the approval of the Council, designate any place other than the National Archives or other archival repository under his control, as a place of deposit for specified public records where he is satisfied that-
(a) the place provides suitable facilities for the preservation and safekeeping of public records of permanent value, and access for their consultation by the public; and
(b) the place is adequately and independently funded.
(3) The Director shall before designating a place under subsection (2) inspect the proposed place of deposit to determine its suitability.
(4) The Director on the advice of the Advisory Committee and with the approval of the Council may cancel the designation of a place as a place of deposit if-
(a) suitable facilities are not maintained; or
(b) the place of deposit ceases to be adequately funded.
(1) The Director shall be responsible for the preservation of all public records of permanent value other than any whose transfer may have been deferred under section 9(c) or held in a place of deposit under section 13 of this Act and shall in particular-
(a) take charge of the National Archives and regional archival repositories;
(b) provide in the National Archives, regional archival repositories and in any other archival repository which he may establish suitable conditions for the preservation of the records and access for their consultation by the public;
(c) arrange and describe the records therein and provide appropriate guides, lists indexes and aids to facilitate access to them;
(d) arrange for reasonable facilities to be available to the public for inspecting and obtaining copies of public records in the National Archives or any other archival repository under his control, in so far as such records are open to inspection by the public under this Act.
(2) The Director may do all such things as appear to him necessary or expedient for maintaining the utility of the National Archives and any other archival repository under his control, and may in particular-
(a) prepare and sell publications or objects related to the public records;
(b) prescribe administrative rules for admission of the public to National Archives or any other archival repository under his control;
(c) arrange exhibitions and lend public records for exhibitions subject to such conditions as he may specify, except that loans of public records outside Ghana may not be made without the approval of the Council;
(d) arrange for the transfer of public records to the National Archives or other archival repositories under his control or to a place of deposit designated under section 13 of this Act;
(e) dispose of public records in the National Archives or any other archival repository under his control if it seems to him that they are not of permanent value, subject to the agreement of the head of the public office in which they were created or its successor in function and with the approval of the Council;
(f) accept non-public records for safekeeping and acquire non-public records by purchase, gift, bequest or deposit, and
(g) enter into arrangements with other institutions for the joint management of conservation and restoration facilities.
(1) The Director shall on the advice of the Advisory Committee and with the approval of the Council determine fees payable for the supply of copies of records in his custody, the certification of copies and the provision of other services by the staff of the Department.
(2) All monies collected by the Department shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
(1) Public records in the National Archives and any other archival repository designated by the Director, shall be available for public inspection after the expiration of a period of thirty years from their creation unless a longer or shorter period is prescribed by regulations made under this Act.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section the Council shall obtain the advice of the head of the public office which created the record or its successor in function.
(3) Public records to which members of the public normally have access before transfer into the custody of the Director or to a place of deposit under section 13 of this Act shall continue to be open to public inspection irrespective of their age.
(1) The legal validity of a public record shall not be affected by its removal into the custody of the Director or to a place of deposit designated under section 13 of this Act.
(2) A copy of or an extract from a public record in the custody of the Director, examined and certified as a true and authentic copy or extract by an officer authorized by him and bearing the seal of the Department shall be admissible as evidence in any proceedings without any further proof, if the original record would have been admissible as evidence in the proceedings.
(1) The supply of copies of records by the Director does not involve the transfer of any copyright in the records to the recipient, accordingly, the Director, in making available for inspection or providing copies of records in his custody shall not be liable for breach of any copyright law.
(2) No person shall make publication of facsimile copies, verbatim transcripts or literal translations of records in the custody of the Director in which copyright subsists in Ghana except with the consent of the author and the Director.
(1) No person shall export from Ghana any public records which relate to Ghana and which are in the opinion of the Advisory Committee of historical value.
(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) of section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding c 5 million or as may be determined by the value of the records and there shall be ordered by the court, a return of the records involved in the commission of the offence; and where he fails to return the records he shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.
A person who wilfully mutilates a public record in-
(a) a public office;
(b) the National Archives;
(c) an archival repository under the control of the Director; or
(d) a place of deposit designated under section 13 of this Act,
commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding c5 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-
"archival repository" means a building or part of a building in which archives are reserved and made available for consultation;
"archives" means records of permanent value selected for preservation in an archival institution;
"Council" means the Civil Service Council;
"current records" means records regularly used for the conduct of the current business of an institution or individual and which continue to be maintained in their place of origin;
"Department" means the Public Records and Archives Administration Department established under L.I.1628;
"National Archives" means the archival repository in which archives of the institutions of the Republic of Ghana are preserved and made available for consultation;
"Public records" means-
(1) records that belong to the Republic of Ghana created received and maintained-
(a) by any public office, by a Minister of State or other person responsible for a public office or by any other officer or employee of a public office;
(b) by any court with jurisdiction within Ghana or by any judge or other officer of such a court;
(c) by any other body or individual so designated by regulation made under section 26 of this Act;
(2) all public archives within the meaning of the Public Ordinance, 1955 (No. 35) in the custody of the National Archives of Ghana on the date of coming into force of this Act;
"recording" means anything on winch sounds or images or both are fixed regardless of form;
"records" means recorded information regardless of form or medium created, received and maintained by any institution or individual in the pursuance of its or his legal obligations or in the transaction of its or his business;
"records centre" means a building specially designed and constructed or converted for the storage, maintenance and use of semi-current records pending their ultimate disposal;
"retention schedule" means a document describing the recurring records of an institution or an administrative unit thereof, specifying those records to be preserved as having permanent value as archives and authorizing on a continuing basis and after the lapse of specified retention periods or the occurrence of specified actions or events, the disposal by destruction or other means of the remaining records;
"semi-current records" means records required only in frequently for the conduct of current business, and for the purposes of this Act, files and other assemblies on which no action has been recorded for five years shall be regarded as semi-current records.
(1) The Public Archives Ordinance, 1955 (No. 35) is repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding the repeal of the enactment specified in subsection (1) of this section-
(a) any statutory instrument made under it and in force immediately before the coming into force of this Act shall until altered, revoked or modified under this Act, continue in force as if made under the corresponding provision of this Act with such modifications as may be necessary having regard to the provisions of this Act;
(b) any reference in any enactment to the National Archives of Ghana shall be construed as a reference to the Department.
(3) For the avoidance of doubt, the person holding office as Director of National Archives and other officers employed at the National Archives immediately before the coming into force of this Act, shall continue to hold their respective offices within their Department until revoked or otherwise determined by the President in accordance with Article 195 of the Constitution.