The BREAD (British Rail Electronically Archived Documents) dataset is an artificial collection of records from various sources. It was gathered together to provide a legal resource, to provide documentation supporting railway privatisation negotiations, and to enable the British Railway Board (BRB) to demonstrate compliance with legislation and regulations.
The system was established by Rank Xerox for the BRB and consisted of three components: a Microsoft Access database, which acted as a catalogue; an Optika FilePower document management system that controlled the storage and retrieval of images of BRB documents; and an Oracle database, that was used to provide a link between the Access database and the images in the document management system.
Each record in the Access database contains a brief description of the material to which the record relates, the BRB Department (or subsidiary company if appropriate) that had generated the material, correspondence reference, originator and time frame. To enable documents to be found, searches by document category, by BRB department (for which there are 20 departmental codes), by subsidiary company (183 codes), or by text may be made. There are twelve document categories, these are listed below with an approximate number of database entries for each category given in brackets:
- Blue Ink documents (17,000) mainly, signed contracts, licences or other legal documents.
- BRIS (British Rail Infrastructure Services) Data Room documents (11,500) which were scrutinised by potential purchasers prior to making bids for companies awaiting privatisation. Documents include financial analyses and asset registers, contracts both procurement and supply, personnel lists, accommodation, transfer schemes.
- Other Data Rooms (19,000), as BRIS but for Central Services and Freight Companies.
- Key Audit Trail Documentation (4,000) providing brief confirmation that sales have been undertaken in accordance with due process.
- Minutes of BR Board (3,500) including Board Executive and other senior BRB committees responsible for making decisions relating to aspects of privatisation.
- TOC (Train Operating Company) Board Minutes (1,000) including minutes from both Operational Management Board meetings and meetings of the Company Directors.
- Meeting papers (9,500), also meeting papers relating to TOC Committees (4,500) including supporting papers for Board Meetings.
- Working papers (4,000) of various senior BRB personnel involved in the privatisation process.
- Sales Bibles (3,000) essentially the solicitor's working papers relating to the sale of specific businesses. The papers are almost exclusively copies of documents such as Transfer Schemes, financial papers and key correspondence held elsewhere in the Privatisation Archive.
- Solicitors' Correspondence (2,000) covering key issues which may relate to the sale of several businesses.
- Transfer Schemes (11,500) were the mechanism used under the auspices of the Railways Act 1993 to transfer to subsidiary companies certain activities of the Board and the associated assets, liabilities and staff. This transfer enabled those activities of the Board undertaken by the subsidiary to be sold or otherwise transferred to the Private Sector. The Transfer Scheme documentation includes authorisation from the Secretary of State, asset/liability listings, contracts etc.