WHITEHALL: Records go electronic

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The Public Record Office at Kew entered the era of new technology yesterday when it unveiled its first electronically produced government documents - the Nolan Report on standards in public life.

Already, 95 per cent of government records originate electronically, the Treasury goes completely "electronic" this year, and the paper bottlenecks in Whitehall and the Record Office meant deadlines for a rolling programme of computerisation were brought forward to this side of the millennium.

At the moment, the PRO files between 96,000 and 100,000 paper files per year, equivalent to one-and-a-half miles of shelf space. Under an electronic system, a mile of records could be contained in a single box of CD-Roms. John Crossland