Retention Of Documents Policy

Retention of documents

Attached is an Annex indicating the appropriate minimum retention periods documents. Documents should be retained for audit, staff management, tax liabilities, and the eventuality of legal disputes and legal proceedings.

Retention of documents for legal purposes

The below table lists the limitation periods of time where legal claims may be brought under the Limitation Act 1980 (as amended). The 1980 Act provides that legal claims may not be commenced after a specified period.

Category Limitation Period
Negligence (and other ‘Torts’) 6 years
Defamation 1 year
Contract 6 years
Leases 12 years
Sums recoverable by statute 6 years
Personal Injury 3 years
To Recover Land 12 years
Rent 6 years
Breach of Trust None

Where the limitation periods above are longer than other periods specified in the attached annex, the documentation should be kept for the longer period specified.

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Considerations

The Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the Management of Records issued under section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to public authorities and also bodies  which are subject to the Public Records Act 1958 (the 1958 Act). Although local councils   are not subject to the 1958 Act, they should familiarise themselves with the contents            of the Code of Practice so they can formulate their own system of records management.

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will be applied from 25th May 2018. Under the GDPR, the data protection principles set out the main responsibilities for organisations.

Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:

  1. processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
  2. collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
  3. adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
  4. accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;
  5. kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals; and
  6. processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational



Personnel records 3 years after employee leaves Limitation Act 1980 (as amended)
Disciplinary/grievances Review 6 years after last action Management
Recruitment documents 6 months Management
Wages records 6 years Audit
Pension records 12 years Superannuation
Timesheets Last completed audit year 3 years Audit (requirement) Personal injury (best practice)
Members allowances register 6 years + current Tax Limitation Act 1980 (as amended)
Scales of fees 6 years + current Management
Receipt and payment account(s) Indefinite Archive
Receipt books 6 years + current VAT
Bank statements Last completed audit year Audit
Bank paying-in books Last completed audit year Audit
Cheque book stubs Last completed audit year Audit
Quotations and tenders 6 years + current Limitation Act 1980 (as

Paid invoices Paid cheques


6 years + current 6 years + current

amended) VAT

Limitation Act 1980 (as

VAT records 6 years + current year generally but 20 years for VAT on rents VAT
Petty cash 6 years + current year Tax, VAT, Limitation Act 1980 (as amended)
Investments Indefinite Audit, Management
Contracts and Procurement
Unsuccessful tenders 2 years Audit
Successful tenders 6 years + current year Audit
Minute books Indefinite Archive
Insurance policies While valid Management
Certificates for Insurance against Liability for employees 40 years from date on which insurance commenced or was renewed The Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance Regulations 1998 (SI.

2753), Management

Litigation 6 years after folder closure Limitation Act 1980
Title deeds, leases, agreements, contracts Indefinite Audit, Management
For Halls, Centre, Recreation Grounds
application to hire 6 years + current year VAT
lettings diaries
copies of bills to hires
record of tickets issued

 This policy will:

  • Be publicised to staff and made available for reference
  • Apply to all the council’s records, regardless of how they are held
  • Be reviewed annually, amended and re-issued as necessary and members of staff notified accordingly

Operate in conjunction with the council’s existing policies on Data Protection (Privacy Policy) and Freedom of Information.