Introduction

  1. The main aim of this policy is to enable us to manage our records effectively and in compliance with data protection and other regulation. As an organisation we collect, hold, store and create significant amounts of data and information and this policy provides a framework of retention and disposal of categories of information and documents. 
  2. We are committed to the principles of data protection including the principle that information is only to be retained for as long as necessary for the purpose concerned. 
  3. The table below sets out the main categories of information that we hold, the length of time that we intend to hold them, and the reason for this. 
  4. Please note that the Appendix sets out the legal requirements for certain categories of document. Where we have decided to keep information longer than the statutory requirement, this has been explained in the table at Section 2. 
  5. Section 3 of this policy sets out the destruction procedure for documents at the end of their retention period. Human Resources shall be responsible for ensuring that this is carried out appropriately, and any questions regarding this policy should be referred to them. 
  6. If a document or information is reaching the end of its stated retention period, but you are of the view that it should be kept longer, please refer to Human Resources, who will make a decision as to whether it should be kept, for how long, and note the new time limit and reasons for extension.

Document Retention Period 

Corporate/constitutional records

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retentionRequirement 
Company Articles of Association, Rules/bylawsCompanies Act 2006Permanent
Director minutes of meetings and written resolutions, Dividend certificatesCompanies Act 2006Recommended at least ten years
Shareholders’ meetings etc. Minutes/resolutionsCompanies Act 2006Recommended at least ten years
Documents of clear historical/archival significanceGeneral Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Permanent if relevant GDPR provisions are met
Contracts e.g. service, agreements, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreementsLimitation Act 1980Length of contract term plus six years
Contracts executed as deedsLimitation Act 1980Length of contract term plus twelve years
Intellectual property records and legal files re provision of serviceLimitation Act 1980Recommended: Life of service provision or IP plus six years

Tax and Finance

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retentionRequirement 
Annual accounts and review (including transferred records on amalgamation) Companies Act 2006Minimum six years Recommended: permanent record
Tax and accounting recordsFinance Act 1998 Taxes Management Act 1970Six years from end of relevant tax year
Information relevant for VAT purposesFinance Act 1998 and HMRC Notice 700/21Minimum six years from end of relevant period
Banking records/receipts book/sales ledger/purchase ledgerCompanies Act 2006Six years from transaction

Employee/Administration

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retentionRequirement 
Payroll/Employee/Income Tax and NI records: P45; P6; PIID; P60 etcTaxes Management Act 1970 /IT (PAYE) RegulationsSix years from end of current year
Maternity payStatutory Maternity Pay RegulationsThree years after the end of the tax year
Sick payStatutory Sick Pay (General) RegulationsThree years after the end of the tax year
National Minimum wage recordsNational Minimum Wage ActThree years after the end of the tax year
Foreign national ID documentsImmigration (Restrictions on Employment) Order 2007Minimum two years from end of employment
HR files and training recordsLimitation Act 1970 and Data Protection regulationMaximum six years from end of employment
Records re working timeWorking Time Regulations 1998 as amendedTwo years
Job applications (CVs and related materials re unsuccessful applicants) ICO Employment Practices CodeTwelve months from your notification of outcome of application

Insurance

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retentionRequirement 
Employer’s Liability InsuranceEmployers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance Regulation) 1998Forty years
Group Life AssuranceCommercial Three years after lapse
Policies CommercialThree years after lapse
Claims correspondenceCommercialThree years after settlement

Health & Safety/Medical

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retentionRequirement 
General recordsLimitation Act 1970Minimum three years
Records re work with hazardous substancesControl of Hazardous Substances to Health Regulations 2002Up to forty years. Recommended: permanent
Accident books/records and reportsReporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995Three years after last entry or end of investigation
Medical Scheme documentation Permanent unless personal data is included

Premises/Property

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retentionRequirement 
Original title deeds Permanent/to disposal of property
Leases Limitation Act 1980Twelve years after lease has expired
Building records, plans, consents and certification and warranties etcLimitation Act 1980Six years after disposal or permanent if of historical/archival interest. Carry out review re longer retention e.g. if possible actions against contractors

Pension Records

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retention
Records about employees and workersFor all categories see: Detailed Guidance for Employers: (April 2017) http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk
Records re the Scheme
Records re active members and opt in/opt out
Trust Deed/Rules and HMRC approvals
Trustees’ Minutes and annual accounts
Policies including investment policies

Client Related Documents

Document typeLegislation/reasons for retentionRequirement 
Documentation & emails related to work completed on the behalf of clientFor future referenceCompany policy is 2-years

Deletion of Documents

When a document is at the end of its retention period, it should be dealt with in accordance with this policy. 

Confidential waste 

  1. This should be made available for collection in the confidential waste bins located around the office and will be shredded by external supplier. 
  2. Anything that contains personal information should be treated as confidential. 
  3. Where deleting electronically, please refer to Human Resources to ensure that this is carried out effectively. 

Other documentation 

Other documentation can be deleted or placed in recycling bins where appropriate. 

Automatic deletion 

Certain information will be automatically archived by the computer systems, details of which are set out below. Should you want to retrieve any information, or prevent this happening in a particular circumstance, please contact Human Resources. 

Individual responsibility 

  1. Much of the retention and deletion of documents will be automatic, but when faced with a decision about an individual document, you should ask yourself the following: 
    1. Has the information come to the end of its useful life? 
    2. Is there a legal requirement to keep this information or document for a set period? (Refer to document retention periods for more information) 
    3. Would the information be likely to be needed in the case of any legal proceedings? (Is the information contentious, does it relate to an incident that could potentially give rise to proceedings?) 
    4. Would the document be useful for the organisation as a precedent, learning document, or for performance management processes? 
    5. Is the document of historic or statistical significance? 
  2. If the decision is made to keep the document, this should be referred to Human Resources and reasons given.