Accessing Quarriers records

Quarriers maintains records of former residents in the Orphan Homes of Scotland, later Quarriers Homes. Former residents, their family members and other associates can request to access this information.

Quarriers holds records dating back to the 1870s when William Quarrier established his first support services. In 1910, the main system of recording was changed and information on each child or sibling group was maintained in a personal folder. At this time, the information recorded was primarily the child’s circumstances at the time of admission and their reason for leaving.

From the 1920s to the 1950s, some records contain correspondence relating to the request for admission or discharge of the children and 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 varies widely from person to person.

Who can get access to the records?
The General Data Protection Regulation ensures that all agencies holding records about people must make them available to the person they were written about.

What sort of information will I find?
For most people, there will at least be an account of the circumstances which led to your/your relative’s admission to Quarriers. You are also likely to find the names and dates of birth of family members given to Quarriers at the time.

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. You will be informed if there is third party information that you are not being shown.

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. You will be informed if there is third party information that you are not being shown. IN such cases some information in your file may be redacted. This means that this information will be covered by a black line. We understand that this will be frustrating as you will want to access as much information as possible, but we will have a legal duty to withhold this information.

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.

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).

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 Safeguarding and Aftercare team will arrange a time when you can visit the office or, if this location is not suitable, a mutually agreed venue. Assistance with travel costs to Quarriers in the UK 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 will, with your permission, arrange for a social service agency closer to your home to go through the record with you.

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, and please bear in mind that 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. 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?
Yes, you can take a copy of your records away with you. The original record remains within Quarriers archives. Occasionally former residents 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, we can make a further copy and arrange a further visit to the village if necessary.

Can Quarriers refuse to let me view my records?
There is provision under General Data Protection Regulation 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 Safeguarding and Aftercare Manager 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. We will acknowledge your request within three working days and will provide information (e.g. a copy of your file) within a month of the request and verification of ID being provided.