Papers of the Devlin Commission on Industrial and Commercial Representation and the Advice Centre on the Organisation of Industrial and Commercial Representation

Scope and Content

MSS.230: Papers circulated to Chairman and Member, 1969-1972; correspondence and subject files with: UK organisations, 1971-1972; European organisations, 1971-1972; national associations and councils, 1971-1972; linking Chambers of Commerce, 1971-1972; Trades Union Congress, National Economic Development Council and CIR, 1971-1972; survey of Confederation of British Industry small firms; files relating to the preparation of the Devlin Report; publications and printed materials.

MSS.230B: Minutes, including the Advice Centre Consultative Board, 1975-1977; other boards and committees, 1973-1977. Correspondence and subject files including Devlin Commission subject files, 1946-1978 (predominantly 1970-1972); files on the 'Turnberry Concept', 1972-1975; other correspondence and subject files, 1971-1972 (predominantly 1975-1981). Notes for publications, 1974-1981; Advice Centre publications, 1976-1981; questionnaire returns 1970-1981.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Devlin Commission on Industrial and Commercial Representation was established in December 1970 to examine the effectiveness of commercial and industrial representation in the United Kingdom. The Inquiry, headed by Lord Devlin and sponsored by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Association of British Chambers of Commerce (ABCC), was financed by a fund raised for the purpose directly from companies. The Commission published its Report in November 1972.

The Advice Centre on the Organisation of Industrial and Commercial Representation was established on a pilot basis by the CBI and the ABCC in 1974 with a part-time staff of two and a secretary headed by the Principal Mr Thomas Cameron Fraser. The Centre was set up on the recommendation of the Devlin Commission. The Devlin Commission had hoped to publish a register of all existing trade associations and employers' organisations as an appendix to its Report of 1972. The Commission was unable to complete the register in the time and so the Report expressed a hope that the Advice Centre would build on the Commission's information to create a full record of the representative organisations. The Advice Centre also undertook to advise associations contemplating mergers or restructuring. The work of the Advice Centre resulted in the periodical publication of the 'Sectoral Representation of British Industry and Commerce' editions. In 1975 the Centre was formally constituted with a Board.

Reference: Advice Centre on the Organisation of Industrial and Commercial Representation, 'The Sectoral Representaion of British Industry and Commerce. A guide to employers' organisations and trade associations in the United Kingdom and links between them.' (London, 1976).

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Other Finding Aids

Custodial History

The archive was received in two deposits. The first deposit made in 1982 (MSS.230) consists mainly of papers of the Devlin Commission on Industrial and Commercial Representation. The second deposit made in 1984 (MSS.230B) comprises mainly the papers of the Advice Centre. Further deposits are not expected.