Accessing your records

Quarriers acknowledges the importance of information about the past being shared with adults who, as children, had lived in Quarriers Homes.

In 1910 the main system of recording was changed. Information on each child or sibling group began to be maintained in a personal folder. Little more was recorded than the circumstances at the time of admission and the reason for leaving. From the 1920s to the 1950s correspondence can also be found in some of the records; this might relate to the request for admission or discharge of the children and about visiting arrangements. In the 1960s more information begins to appear about the progress and welfare of the children and this develops through the 1970s. However the content is variable.

Who can get access to the records?

Quarriers has for many years acknowledged the importance of information about the past being shared with adults who, as children, had lived in Quarriers Homes. The Data Protection Act 1998, since its implementation in 2001, now ensures that all agencies holding records about people will need to make them available to the person they were written about.

Can I see everything that is in my file?

Information about you that had been supplied by people other than Quarriers staff (i.e. a “third party”) is confidential and cannot be shown to you without the permission of the ‘third party’. When there is third party information that you are not being shown, you will be told that this is the case.

A second type of ‘third party information is that which is written about another individual, and you should bear in mind that what will be made available for you to read will be information about YOU. Anything in your records about other people will not be shared with you, because an individual is not entitled to know what is recorded about another individual. In the case of families, each member of the family can have access to information about him/herself, but not to that about another family member.

Where medical records contain information which requires medical interpretation these will be passed to a medical practitioner of your choice. Should you prefer medical information of any kind to be passed to your GP for your collection this can be arranged with your written agreement.

Having said all this, for most people there will at least be an account of the circumstances which led to your admission to Quarriers. You are also likely to find the names and dates of birth of family members given to Quarriers at the time.

How will you arrange for me to see my records?

After you have written to us asking for your records we will retrieve the information from the database. We will ask you if there is something specific you want to know so that we can direct our attention to that first.

We strongly advise you to visit us to view the information in your record. Quarriers Aftercare staff will arrange with you a time to visit the office or if this location is not suitable, a mutually agreed venue. Assistance with travel costs in the UK to Quarriers can be considered where this would be necessary.

If you do not wish to view the record here, written information extracted from the documents can be sent to you. Copies of some documents can also be sent.

Where information is substantial Quarriers, with your permission, will arrange with a social service agency closer to your home to go through the record with you. Information recorded at a time when attitudes and values were different and when those recording it did not expect it to be read by the subject can be difficult to hear.

Will I need to verify who I am?

Yes, you will need proof of your identity before information is passed to you in person or in writing. This provides security for us and for you, as neither Quarriers nor you would want the wrong person to see your personal information. (Examples of proof would be utility bills, benefit books, driving license. Original documents will be returned by recorded delivery).

What will happen if I come to the office?

An Aftercare Worker will be present to answer your questions, explain how the records were kept at the time when you were in Quarriers and attempt to help you fill in the gaps.

You may want to bring your partner, a relative or a friend with you for support. Reading material about yourself and your family background can be distressing. Some people have told us that coming back to Quarriers is an emotional experience because it brings up memories of the past, which they thought had been forgotten.

Can I take my records away if I come to view them?

A copy of the smaller files can be made for you. If the file is substantial, selected parts can be copied for you. The original record remains within Quarriers archives. Occasionally former boys and girls contact us because they have mislaid the information provided or they want to go over some of it again with an Aftercare Worker. In such circumstances a further copy can be made and further visits to the village can be arranged.

Will reading my records answer all my questions about the past?

This is very unlikely. As we have already explained, there are many gaps in the records for all sorts of reasons.

However, most people who have had information from their records in the past tell us that they are glad they asked. Some say they have a better sense of who they are. Some have a better understanding of why their families parted with them and this can be a healing experience.

Can Quarriers refuse to let me view my records?

There is provision under the Data Protection law for access to be at least postponed. This would only happen in very exceptional circumstances where there was evidence of a real risk of harm occurring to either the subject of the record or another individual, as a direct result of reading the records. In such unusual circumstances Quarriers would be obliged to:

  • Demonstrate the existence of evidence of such a risk
  • Ensure the person seeking access to their records was well supported both legally and emotionally
  • Review the decision to withhold the records within a reasonable time, so that access to records could take place when the risk of serious harm had diminished

What if I am dissatisfied with the service offered?

If you are dissatisfied with the access you have been given to your records by an Aftercare worker, you can make a complaint to the Manager of the Aftercare Service who will investigate and inform you of the outcome.

What should I do now I have read this?

If you would like to request access to your record please fill out the general enquiry form or former residents enquiry if applicable.