Access to records and intermediary services

Access to records and intermediary services

It’s important to know where we come from, learn about our roots and understand our family history. Diagrama Adoption believes that everyone has a right to understand their history. We hold records of more than 25,000 people with whom we have worked with over the years. We support and guide people through the complex process of finding out about their backgrounds, making family connections and developing a stronger sense of identity.

Diagrama Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, and is a charity registered with Ofsted as a Voluntary Adoption Agency. Since November 2014 Diagrama Foundation has been responsible for holding the adoption records for the former organisations:

• Cabrini Children’s Society

• The Southwark Catholic Rescue Society

• The Southwark Catholic Children’s Society

• Portsmouth Diocesan Catholic Child Welfare

Diagrama also holds records for people who were in residential homes and former child migrants connected to the above organisations. If this applies to your circumstances, we have a dedicated page for you to find out how to Access Care Records.

On 30 December 2005, legislation came into force allowing adopted adults who were adopted before that date (known as Pre Commencement Adoptions) to obtain information about their adoption and to facilitate contact between them and their birth relatives. With effect from 31 October 2014, further legislation extended this provision to persons having a Prescribed Relationship, including descendants, with an adopted person.

Diagrama is able to arrange access to the adoption records they hold as the Appropriate Adoption Agency (the agency responsible for the placement and adoption order application), via the relevant local authority upon application, or via the chosen Ofsted registered Adoption Support Agency. If you know your birth name, but are unsure whether Diagrama holds your adoption records, you can fill in the application form to request a check of our database. You can download your form here.

Alternatively, if you do not know your birth name or the adoption agency, you can contact for details.


Access to Birth Records

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 provides for adopted adults to obtain their birth records information to enable them to obtain a copy of their birth certificate from the General Registrar Office. This information will include the original name. The procedure will differ for those adopted after 30 December 2005 (known as Post Commencement Adoptions) who will need to apply to the agency who arranged their adoption, known as the Appropriate Adoption Agency (the agency responsible for the placement and legal proceedings relating to the adoption order application).

Pre 30 December 2005

Access to adoption case records

Diagrama recognises the life-long impact of adoption on all those concerned, and the significance and value of adoption information in helping adopted adults to understand their family history and origins. Where Diagrama is the Appropriate Adoption Agency, Adopted adults have two options for accessing their records.  They can either come directly to Diagrama or go through their local authority.  If accessing records via the local authority the authority will write to Diagrama, with your permission, for copies of information from the adoption file. The local authority will be able to inform adults of the counselling services they are able to offer in relation to the adoption records. Diagrama will be responsible for locating and preparing the records and will exercise its agency discretion regarding what can be disclosed. Whilst Adoption records are confidential, we appreciate adopted adults wish to find out as much as possible about their birth family and origins, in order to understand their past connections and to make informed decisions. A written summary will be provided with the records for the counsellor to share. 

All adopted adults that come directly to Diagrama will receive their records with counselling which in the vast majority of cases will be delivered via a video call unless it is felt that a face to face meeting is more appropriate. Adoption records are shared by way of a counselling interview in order that information can be shared in a supportive manner, and any issues affecting adoption discussed, including the welfare of all parties involved and the implications of decisions and actions for everyone affected.  

However, you choose to access your records please note you will need to be over 18 years of age and provide verification of your identity.

Adoption Contact Register

An adopted person can register a wish for contact with the Adoption Contact Register.  However, if an adopted person does not wish to be traced and contacted, they may register a wish for no contact (or no contact in specific circumstances).

NORCAP Contact Register

PAC-UK now holds the NORCAP Contact Register (NCR) and manages this under their Family Action service. The services can be contacted to check if an adopted adult or relative placed a registration before NORCAP stopped trading on 14th January 2013. New registrations cannot be accepted. 


An adopted adult may register a veto with the agency who arranged their adoption or the local authority who were notified of the intention to adopt. A veto can be absolute or qualified. The right to register a veto is restricted to people who were adopted before 30 December 2005. Birth relatives of adopted people cannot register a veto. See our information sheet: What is a Veto? 

Overseas Applications

Access to Adoption case records

If you live overseas and wish to apply for your adoption records, we can provide this service to you via zoom in the same way we do for adults who live in the UK. Alternatively, you can choose a counsellor/adoption agency in the country where you reside to support you with this process.

Intermediary Services for adopted adults and birth relatives

Diagrama is only able to offer a very limited Intermediary service. We will respond to a request made on your behalf by the relevant local authority or Ofsted registered Adoption Support Agency (also known as the Intermediary agency) of your choosing. Intermediary services are defined as facilitating contact between adopted persons and their relatives and those with a prescribed relationship. The person requesting a service must be aged 18 and to be able to verify their identity and relationship to the person sought.

The Intermediary agency also needs to consider the welfare of any party who may be affected by an approach, and requires informed consent to share any identifying information. Find out more at:

Upon application, the Intermediary agency will write to us, with your permission, to request a view on the provision of an intermediary service and to establish whether a veto has been placed on the file. The intermediary agency will carry out an assessment, before deciding whether to proceed with the application and will inform you of support and counselling available and any fees which may apply. Please be aware that most Intermediary agencies can charge for their services, including searching and establishing contact. You are advised to check the fees involved before proceeding. Non Local Authority Ofsted registered Adoption Support Intermediary Agencies. 

Intermediary services for descendants and those with a prescribed relationship

Diagrama are able to provide Family Descendant work for family members who are searching for the adoption records or care records of their relative who has since passed away. The family member must first provide evidence that the relative has died, along with identification to prove who they are and how they are related to the adopted adult. The relative is made aware of the cost of this service when they make their enquiry and are set a contract so they are clear about Diagrama's procedures.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to understand the details of the fees. Also, be aware we understand that money may be a barrier to some people being able to access this information, if this is the case please talk to us and we can see how we can help.

Upon receipt of the signed contract, the request is added to the Access to Records waiting list. If it is identified that Diagrama holds the care files for the deceased relative a social worker will have an initial telephone call with the birth relative to understand their motivation for accessing the adoption records in the first instance before further work can be completed.

Following this, a summary of the file is produced. It is important the birth relative is made aware that certain information may need to be redacted from the file and the birth relative will not be able to see it. During the initial telephone call, the social worker will explain what information will need to be redacted.

Once the summary has been produced the social worker will send this to the birth relative with a cover letter and there will be an opportunity to have a follow-up zoom call to discuss any issues if it would be helpful.

Post 30th December 2005

Access to Adoption Case Records and Intermediary services

Diagrama is unlikely to be the Appropriate Adoption Agency (the agency responsible for the placement and legal proceedings relating to the adoption order application) and will not have discretion to share adoption information. If your adoption took place after 30 December 2005 you will need to apply to your own local authority for an adoption records service, or the local authority/council who were responsible for placing you for adoption, also known as the Appropriate Adoption Agency.

If you are an adopted adult or birth relative applying for an intermediary service you will need to contact the local authority/council where you live for a service or refer to the link below : Non Local Authority Ofsted registered Adoption Support Intermediary Agencies. 

If you live overseas

Please contact us for details of overseas counsellors. You will need to check for any fees which may apply. 


Historical Abuse and Safeguarding Children


Diagrama is fully committed to taking the necessary action when incidents of abuse, current, or historical are brought to our attention. We take reports of abuse very seriously and are particularly concerned to prevent harm to any child today. Any disclosures of abuse will be discussed with you, but we will make the final decision about what action to take. Further infomation on historical abuse can be made available upon request.

Link to useful sites

Adoption Contact Register

General Register Office

Adoption Search Reunion

Leaving a legacy after adoption

We know the impact of adoption on people’s lives is life-long. We aim to be there for you in the future as we are at present. Leaving a gift to Diagrama Adoption in your will is an investment in the future, ensuring that valuable adoption support is available for years to come. Find out more about supporting Diagrama Adoption.