A brief description of the law

Royal Decree No 60/2007

The Records and Archives Law

We, Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman

Having perused the Basic Law of the State promulgated by Royal Decree No. 101/96,

And the Public Authorities and Establishments Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. 116/91,

And the Financial Law State promulgated by Royal Decree No. 47/98,

And the Civil Service Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. 120/2004,

And Royal Decree No. 24/2005 deciding the competence of the Ministry of Heritage And Culture and approving its organization structure,

In furtherance of public interest, we have decided the following:

Article 1

In accordance with this decree, an authority for organizing and managing records and archives shall be established to be known as the National Records and Archives Authority and shall affiliate to the Council of Ministers and, enjoy legal personality and administrative and financial independence, and have the right to own movable and immovable properties necessary to achieve its objectives. Its properties shall be deemed to be public properties.

The headquarters of the Authority shall be in Muscat, but branches of it may be established in the governorates and regions of the Sultanate.

Article 2

As an exception to the provisions of Article 1 hereof, the Minister of Heritage and Culture shall supervise the National Records and Archives Authority for a formative period not exceeding four years. During the formative period, the executive regulations of the attached law and the other regulations and decisions necessary to execute it shall be issued. The Council of Ministers shall appoint the minister who will supervise the Authority after the end of the abovementioned formative period.

Article 3

The historical records available in the records department in the Ministry of Heritage and Culture shall be transferred to the National Records and Archives Authority.

Article 4

The attached law shall be applicable to the records and archives and to the National Records and Archives Authority.

“The records and archives of the Diwan of Royal Court, Royal Court Affairs, and Royal Office shall be excepted from the provisions of this law”

This sub-paragraph is replaced as per the Royal Decree 62/2008 with the following:

“The following records and archive shall be excepted from the provisions of this law regardless of the entity that has it:

a- The records and archives of the Diwan of Royal Court, and Royal Court Affairs

b- The records and archives of the militant and security entities

Records and Archives Law

Chapter I

General Definitions and Provisions

Article (1): In appliance of the provisions of this Law, the following words and expressions shall have the meanings hereby assigned to them, unless the context indicates otherwise:

The Minister: The minister who supervises the National Records and Archives Authority.

The Authority: The National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA).

The Board: The board of the Authority.

The Chairman of The Board: The chairman of the board of the NRAA.

The Chairman of the Authority: The Chairman of the NRAA.

The Relevant Body: Any bodies stipulated in Article (13) herein.

The Records: Every record created or received by every natural or legal person whether general or private during the conduction of his tasks in whatever its date, form and media. They include information that is accessed directly or indirectly such as letters, maps, pictures, magnetic tapes, films, compact disks …etc

Records may be either separate or collected in a file.

Current Records: The records that are used currently and consistently according to the business requirements.

Intermediate Records: The records that are no longer considered as current records, and used occasionally.

Archives: The intermediate records that are selected for a permanent storage, as they are no longer needed by their creators or receivers who obtain them during conducting their tasks.

General Records: The records created by the bodies stipulated in Article (13) herein.

Private Records: The records created by persons.

Fundamental Records: The vital records that are strongly required by a body to carry out its tasks.

Shared Records: The records which are the same or similar in their type, and deliberated in relevant bodies. [1]

The File: A group of records created normally as a result of conducting any activity and competences by any bodies.

The Record Collection: A group of records in whatever form, medium and age which are compiled with their creator or with the NRAA.

Retention Schedule: A tool for collecting data regarding the stages which all types of deliberated records and files undergo within any body. The retention schedules determine how long the records need be maintained as current and intermediate records and what is the final disposition of any record or file in the creating bodies.

Notation: To allocate manually or automatically a cretin code to a record or a file in accordance to the approved classification system, the notation whatever its type ( a numeral, alphabetic or mixed notation) should be related to the record.

Classification: organization of records and files into categories in according to methods and procedures followed in this regard.

Records Conversation: Transfer of records and files which are no longer used in business areas to the intermediate record stores in the creating body of these records.

Records Migration: Transfer of archives from any creating body to the Authority for permanent retention.

Sort: the determination of the records that should be stored permanently and records that should be destroyed instantly or later.

Disposition: The final stage of records and files after they are no longer required either by permanent retention or destruction.

The Regulations: The executive regulations to this Law.

Article (2): The provisions of this law shall apply to records and archives, their system, operation procedures, administrative and technical organization, and access. This Law aims to collect and preserve records and archives for the public interest, and to assist in operating the public bodies, proving the rights of natural and legal persons, protecting national heritage, and inspiring of scientific research and intellectual and artistic creativity.

Chapter II

National Records and Archives Authority

Article (3): The NARA shall be responsible for the management of records and archives and is aimed basically at achieving the following:

To develop the field of records and archives.
To technically oversee the arrangement of the general current and intermediate records in the concerned bodies.
To compile, arrange, and store the record collections and groups with a view to preserve the national heritage.
To make a good use of the archives, and to encourage the scientific research along with the intellectual and technical creativity.
To compile and store the records which are related to the State in the foreign countries and enable users to have access to them.
Article (4): The NARA shall exercise all competencies and take all actions necessary to achieve its objectives, particularly in regard with the following:

Providing the technical support in the field managing the general current and intermediate records in the concerned bodies and approving their classification systems and retention schedules.
Following-up the proper execution of the approved business procedures and rules of the records, in coordination with the concerned bodies.
Receiving, technically preparing, and storing the records.
Preparing and publishing the archives finding tools such as appendices, directories, databases, and any other tools that would enable users to access the collections and contents of the archives.
Facilitating access to archives.
Holding the activities that illustrate the cultural, scientific and educational importance of the archives through using all appropriate techniques.
Doing the necessary to maintain the collections of records and archives in the Authority and protect them against any risk.
Training the employees working in the field of records and archives.
Facilitating the conduct of scientific research in the field of records and archives.
Representing the Sultanate in the relevant international organizations and bodies inside the country and abroad in coordination with the competent bodies, beside developing the scope of cooperation and exchange of experience with such organizations and bodies. In its exercising of competencies, the Authority may seek assistance from experts and consultants who it sees appropriate.
Article (5): The administration of the Authority shall be held by a Board under the chairmanship of the Minister and the membership of an odd number of members including the chairman of the Authority, who shall be appointed by a royal decree. The chairman of the Board shall nominate the person who would replace him in his absence.

Article (6): The chairman of the Authority shall have the powers given to the Head of Unit in accordance with administrative and financial systems applicable in the state administrative body and shall undertake the execution of the Board’s decisions and represent the Authority in the judiciary and in its relations with others.

Article (7): The Board shall have all the powers required to administrate the Authority and achieve its objective and the following powers in particular:

To determine the general policy of managing the records and archives and prepare the programs and plans required to achieve the desired objectives provided that they are approval by the Council of Ministers.
To prepare the law drafts pertaining records and archives.
To lay down, in coordination with the concerned bodies, the regulatory regulations of the Authority in relation to the organizational structure, the personnel system, and the financial and administrative affairs.
To form subcommittees that carry out certain competences or tasks.
To approve the annual budget proposal of the Authority and submit it to the competent bodies, and to approve the final accounts and the annual report on its activities.
To set, with approval the Ministry of Finance, the fees that the Authority charges against its services. The Minister shall issue a decision on the set fees.
Article (8): The chairman of the Board shall invite the members of the Board for the regular meeting four times annually at least and whenever it is necessary to discuss new issue included in the agenda.

The meeting shall be invalid without the attendance of more than half of the members, including the chair of the meeting.

The Board shall announce its decisions in accordance with the majority of the attending members’ votes. In case of the equality of votes, the chairman shall have the casting vote.

Article (9): The chairman of the Authority shall submit the Board regulatory reports on the activities and achievements of the Authority. He also shall prepare the annual report on the activity of the Authority, which is submitted to the Council of Ministers after approval of the Board.

Article (10): The Authority shall have an independent budget, and its resources consist of the following:

a- The credits appropriated by the state in the balance sheet for the Authority.

b- The amount of fees that the Authority gains against its services.

c- Donations and gifts received from internal organizations, subject to the approval of the Board, and from abroad organizations, subject to the approval of the Board and of the Council of the Ministers.

d- The revenues that the Authority produces through investing its resources.

Article (11): The fiscal year of the Authority shall commence in January, 1st of each year and end in December, 31st of the same year; however, the first year of the Authority shall commence as of the date of its establishment

Article (12): The Authority shall be exempted from all taxes and fees.

Chapter III

General Records and Archives

Article (13): The general records and archives shall include the records and archives of the following bodies:

– Units of the state administrative body

– Establishments and companies of whose capital the government owns not less than 25%.

– Establishments and companies which carry out tasks related to the public bodies.

Article (14): The collections of general records and archives must be maintained in their original form and internal parts.

Article (15): The general records and archives are a public property of the state. No one may infringe on, withhold, or dispose them in whatever way, own them or obtain any in-kind property through prescription.

Any natural or legal person who possesses general records and archives in any way shall submit them to the Authority in accordance with the measures and periods determined in the Regulations.

Article (16): The records and archives of any concerned Body which was already dissolved, or is being dissolved, or whose legal form changes shall be transferred to the Authority, unless such body entrusts its tasks and competences to another body.

Article (17): In case any establishment or company of whose capital the government owns not less than 25% is privatized or assigned, its records and archives shall be transferred to the Authority, except for the records that are necessary to continue the work and that are determined at the time of privatization or assignment, in accordance with the measures mentioned in the Regulations.

Article (18): Any Concerned Body shall be responsible for its own records until they are no longer required. Each Concerned Body shall in coordination with the Authority prepare and execute a record system which should include particularly the following:

a- A record classification suitable for the nature of its work and the type of its records.

b- Retention schedules.

c- A technique for storing and deliberating the fundamental and the confidential records.

This record system shall be announced as per a decision by the chairperson of the concerned body, subject to the approval of the Authority. The Regulations shall set out how the system is prepared.

“The Authority shall prepare a standard record system for classifying the records shared among the concerned bodies and their retention schedules in coordination with the relevant bodies. This record system shall announce as per a decision by the Minister, subject to the approval of the Council of Ministers.”[2]

Article (19): Any employee in a Concerned Body shall take care of the records that he uses in carrying his work, maintain the confidentiality of their content, and submit them to his employer in case of his transference, assignment, or end of service in accordance with the Regulations.

Article (20): The current records shall be organized through register and notation at the time of their creation and in accordance with the classification system prepared to serve this purpose, in order to distinguish them and facilitate access to them.

Article (21): Subject to the provision of Article (18) in this Law, the Concerned Body shall transfer the current records, when they are no longer needed, to the intermediate record store or shall destroy them after the end of their defined retention periods in accordance with the measures mentioned in the Regulations.

Article (22): The intermediate records shall be stored in places prepared to serve such a purpose in the Concerned Body and under its responsibility throughout their defined retention periods. Access to such records shall be in accordance with the controls and measures set out in the Regulations.

“Before starting to prepare an intermediate record store, the Concerned Body must obtain an approval from the Authority in order to meet the specifications required by the Authority”[3]

Article (23): The management of the intermediate records shall be undertaken by employees of the Concerned Body, who must be trained and prepared for this purpose in accordance with the measures and systems issued in this regard.

Article (24): Subject to the provision of Article (18) in this Law, the Concerned Body shall sort out the intermediate records after the end of their defined retention periods, migrate the archives to the Authority, and destroy the other records, in accordance with the measures set out in the Regulations.

Article (25): The Concerned Body that migrates its archives to the Authority may access them or retrieve them temporarily whenever necessary, in accordance with the measures mentioned in the Regulations.

Article (26): Any person may have access to the archives and take advantage of them after thirty (30) years at least as of the date of its creation or reception in the Concerned Body.

Article (27): The period stated in Article (26) of this Law shall be extended to sixty (60) years with regard to the following archives:

a- Archives related to the security and safety of the country. Such archives shall be determined by the Council of Ministers.[4]

b- Archives related to investigations and statistics, or any other archives that include information about individuals concerning their acts and behavior and affecting their private and familial lives.

c- Archives related to cases brought to court and which are in relation to the private or familial life of a person. The abovementioned period shall be calculated from the date of the decision or final judgment or from the date of closing the case file permanently.

d- Archives related to the data and registers of marriage, divorce, and death.

Article (28): The period stated in Article (26) of this Law shall be extended to one hundred (100) years with regard to the following archives:

a- Archives and data of civil status registers of birth

b- Archives that include information about the individuals’ occupational and health lives.

The calculation of this period shall commence from the date of birth.

Article (29): The following shall be excluded from the provisions of Articles (26), (27), and (28):

a- Archives may be accessed when legally allowed.

b- The Chairman of the Authority may allow access to the archives for the sake of the public interest or scientific research, subject to the approval of the body that created them and without prejudice to the confidentiality of personal life or to the security and safety of the country.

c- A stakeholder may acquire copies and content of his own archives, which shall be endorsed for their validity and have the same legal value of their originals. Such copies shall be endorsed by the Chairman or his authorized representative against a fee set by the Authority according to a decision issued by the Minister, subject to the approval of the Ministry of the Ministry of Finance.

Article (30): Any person allowed to access the archives as per this Law may obtain copies, photos, or contents of such archives on his expense and against a fee set by the Authority according to a decision issued by the Minister, subject to the approval of the Ministry of the Ministry of Finance. However, he may not use the archives he obtains for commercial purposes without a written consent from the Authority.

Article (31): Every person who accesses the archives due to his work shall not use them beyond the scope of the provisions of this Law and the regulations.

Chapter IV

Private Records

Article (32): Whoever owns or possesses private records of public interest shall abide by registering them in the Authority, the Regulations shall clarify how to identify and register these records.

Article (33): After registering the private records in the Authority, the owner or the possessor of these records shall be entitled to have the custody or possession of the records, and shall preserve and restore them or allow the Authority to restore them. He shall maintain the parts of the record and not to separate them. The access to these records shall be carried out in accordance to the terms set by the owner or possessor in coordination with the Authority.

Article (34): The owner or possessor of the registered private records shall notify the Authority with any legal acts on the records within a period not less than thirty days from conducting the act.

Should these records be sold in executing of a judicial sentence, the secretary of the competent court shall notify the Authority before the sale within a period not less than fourteen days.

Article (35): The owner or possessor of the private records may give these records to the Authority as an act of a donation or will. A contract shall be made in this regard taking into account the conditions set by the donor or the testator.

Article (36): The Authority shall have the right to purchase any private records of public interest. The appraisal and the cost of these records shall be carried out by a committee formed for this purpose in the manner stipulated by the Regulations.

This purchase shall not be restricted to the governmental purchase systems.

Article (37): The Authority shall have the priority in obtaining any private record which is offered for sale and related to the public interest after the Authority pays its price.

Article (38): Every private record that the Authority obtains through donation, will or purchase shall be deemed to be general records.

Article (39): The owner or the possessor of a private record which is of a public interest may keep it in the Authority as a deposition under a contract made between them in this regard.

Article (40): No Private records of a public interest shall be taken abroad temporarily or permanently unless a written permission is obtained from the Authority and in the manner stated in the Regulations.

Chapter V

Records and Archives Management

Article (41): Sections and departments shall be established in the concerned bodies to carry out the management of records, and they shall belong directly to the chairperson of the concerned body or the branch’s chairperson in the governorates and regions. And the sections that are in charge of mail shall be integrated to these sections.

Article (42): Records and Archives departments and sections shall apply the rules, systems, and procedures approved by the Authority for the management of current and intermediate records, and shall carry out the following tasks as well:

To prepare records classification system, their retention schedules and the procedures necessary for records management.
To carry out mail tasks.
To provide the technical support for employees in implementation of the rules and systems prescribed for records.
To provide the technical assistance for employees in transferring current records to the intermediate records store.
To manage intermediate records and provide an access to them for their creating bodies when required.
To move archives to the Authority.
To destroy records whose legal period are over in accordance to the prescribed rules.
To take apart in events which are organized by the relative authorities and organizations at home and abroad.
Article (43): The archives of the Concerned Bodies in the governorates and regions shall be compiled in the branches which are established by the Authority, and the Regulations shall identify how to organize these brunches and their activity.

Chapter VI

Employees of Records and Archives

Article (44): The Minister shall issue a regulation which includes classification and description of the positions related records and archives, their requirements, prescribed financial grades, nature of work allowance which is given to the employees subject to the coordination with competent bodies; otherwise the Law of civil service or any other law shall apply to the employees of records and archives.

Article (45): In coordination with the Ministry of Finance, The Authority shall prepare an annual plan defining the requirements of each Concerned Bodies of the positions related to records and archives. The Ministry of Finance shall include such positions within the annual balances of The Concerned Bodies, subject to the approval of The Council of Ministers. The Authority shall follow up the implementation of this plan with the Ministry of Civil Service and the competent bodies.

Article (46): In light of requirements of the recruitment plans which are mentioned in the preceding article, The Authority shall carry out the following tasks:

To prepare and implement on-the-job training programs for employees who are working in records sections and departments in the Concerned Bodies or with archives of the Authority.
To prepare and implement the scientific qualification plans for employees who are working in the records sections and departments in the Concerned Bodies or with archives in the Authority in coordination with Ministry of Higher Education.
To prepare and implement the scientific qualification plans in the field of records in order to provide the technical cadres to occupy the positions of records and archives in records sections and departments in the Concerned Bodies or in the Authority in coordination with The Ministry of Higher Education.
The job conditions of the employees working in the field of records and archives in the Concerned Bodies or in The Authority shall be improved once they have successfully passed the on-the-job training program or the specialized scientific qualification in accordance to approved plans.
Chapter VII

Penalties

Article(47): With no prejudice to a stiffer penalty imposed by any other law, any person who violates the provisions of Article (15) or Article (30) or Article (31) or Article (34) or Article(40) herein shall be penalized of imprisonment for a period of not more than one year and a fine of not in excess of five hundreds OMR or both of these penalties.