1. Introduction

1.1.The guidelines set out in this document supports the Parish Council Data Protection Policy and assists us in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) and other associated legislation.

1.2. It is important that the Parish Council has in place arrangements for the retention and disposal of documents necessary for the adequate management of services in undertaking its responsibilities.  This policy sets out the minimum requirements for the retention of documents and sets out the requirements for the disposal of documents.  However, it is important to note that this is a live document and will be updated on a regular basis.

1.3. Stillingfleet Parish Council will ensure that information is not kept for longer than is necessary and will retain the minimum amount of information that it requires to carry out its functions and the provision of services, whilst adhering to any legal or statutory requirements.

  1. Aims and Objectives

2.1. It is recognised that up to date, reliable and accurate information is vital to support the work that the Parish Council does and the services that we provide to our residents.  This document will help us to:

  • Ensure the retention and availability of the minimum amount of relevant information that is necessary for the Council to operate and provide services to the public.
  • Comply with legal and regulatory requirements, including the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the GDPR.
  • Save employees’ time and effort when retrieving information by reducing the amount of information that may be held unnecessarily.
  • Ensure archival records that are of historical value are appropriately retained for the benefit of future generations.
  1. Scope

3.1.For the purpose of this policy, ‘documents’ includes electronic, microfilm, microfiche and paper records.

3.2. Where storage is by means of paper records, originals rather than photocopies should be retained where possible.

  1. Standards of good practice

4.1. The Parish Council will make every effort to ensure that it meets the following standards of good practice:

  • Adhere to legal requirements for the retention of information as specified in the Retention Schedule at Annex A.
  • Personal information will be retained within a locked cabinet at the home of the Clerk to the Council access to these documents will only be by authorised personnel.
  • Disclosure information will be retained in a locked cabinet under the control of the Clerk.
  • Appropriately dispose of information that is no longer required.
  • Appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that confidential and sensitive information is securely destroyed.
  • Information about unidentifiable individuals is permitted to be held indefinitely for historical, statistical or research purposes eg. Equalities data.
  • Wherever possible only one copy of any personal information will be retained and that will be held within the locked cabinet under the control of the Clerk.
  1. Breach of Policy and Standards 

5.1. Any employee who knowingly or recklessly contravenes any instruction contained in, or following from, this Policy may, depending on the circumstances of the case, have disciplinary action, which could include dismissal, taken against them.

5.2. Where there is a breach of the policy, the Council may need to consider whether there is also a breach of the GDPR.

  1. Roles and Responsibilities

6.1. The Parish Council Clerk has responsibility for implementation of the policy under delegation of the Parish Council.

6.2. The Parish Council Clerk is responsible for the maintenance and operation of this policy including ad-hoc checks to ensure compliance.

  1. Retention

7.1. Timeframes for retention of documents have been set using legislative requirements, guidance from the National Association of Local Councils and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Professional Development (CIPD).

7.2. Throughout retention the conditions regarding safe storage and controlled access will remain in place.

7.3. The attached ‘Appendix’ shows the minimum requirements for the retention of documents as determined by the Parish Council for the management of specific documentation types. Officers holding documents should exercise judgement as to whether they can be disposed of at the end of those periods detailed in the attached ‘Appendix’

8. Disposal

8.1. Documents/data no longer required by the Parish Council for administrative purposes must be finely shredded/disposed of through specialist waste removal contractors and deleted entirely and securely from the Parish Council computer system(s).



Signed on behalf of

Stillingfleet Parish Council




Date of Parish Council meeting at which policy was adopted




Paul Elmhirst



4 October 2018



Document Retention Timescales


Retention Period


Final published Financial Accounts Indefinitely
Annual Governance and Accountability Return Indefinitely
Final Account working papers 6 years
Records of all accounting transactions held in the financial management system At least 6 years
Cash Books (records of monies paid out and received) 12 years
Purchase Orders 6 years
Cheque Payment Listings (Invoices received) 6 years
Payment Vouchers (invoices) – Capital and Revenue 12 years
Goods received notes, advice notes and delivery notes 3 years
Debtors and rechargeable works records 6 years
Expenses and travel allowance claims 6 years
Asset Register for statutory accounting purposes 10 years
Adopted annual budget 6 years
Financial Plan 6 years
Budget Estimates – Detailed Working Papers/summaries 3 years
Bank Statements 6 years
Prime evidence that money has been banked 6 years
Refer to Drawer (RD) cheques 3 years
Cancelled Expenditure cheques 3 years
Bank Reconciliation 3 years
Grant/Funding Applications & Claims 3 years
Precept Forms Indefinitely
Internal Audit records/Reports 3 years
Fees and Charges Schedules 6 years
Loans and Investment Records 10 years after redemption of loan
Current and expired insurance contracts and policies 10 years
VAT records, input and output 10 years
Final accounts of contracts executed under hand or seal

12 years from completion of



Unsuccessful application forms 6 months
Unsuccessful reference requests 1 year
Successful application forms and CVs For duration of employment + 6 years
References received

For duration of employment

+ 6 years

Statutory sick records, pay, calculations, certificates etc.

For duration of employment

+ 6 years

Annual leave records

For duration of employment

+ 6 years

Unpaid leave/special leave

For duration of employment

+ 6 years

Employee Personnel files, training records, discipline and grievance records and working time records 6 years after employment ceases
Disciplinary or grievance investigations – unproven Destroy immediately after investigation or appeal
Statutory Maternity/Paternity records, calculations, certificates etc 3 years after the tax year in which the maternity period ended

Time sheets and overtime claims


6 years
Statutory end of year returns to Inland Revenue and Pensions records Indefinitely
Income Tax and National Insurance Records Not less than 3 years after the end of the financial year to which they relate

Wages/salary records, overtime, bonuses, expenses etc


6 years
Accident books, records and reports 3 years from date of last entry (If a child or young adult is involved, then until the person reaches the age of 21

Redundancy records


6 years from the date of redundancy


All Parish Council minutes including minutes of committees, sub-committee meetings and any working group minutes Indefinitely and archived after two years
Policies and procedures Until updated or reviewed
Asset management records Indefinitely
Internal audit fraud investigation 7 years from date of final outcome of investigation
Risk register Indefinitely
Risk assessments (any) 6 years
Successful tender documentation Life of contract 6 years from date of final payment
Unsuccessful tender documentation Until final payment of contract let is made
Deeds of land and property Indefinitely
Land and property rental agreements

6 years after expiry of the


Property evaluation lists Indefinitely
Lease agreements, variation and valuation queries 12 years after the expiry of the agreement
Documentation referring to externally funded projects

6 years



 Health & Safety
Health and Safety Accident books and records

3 years after the date of the last entry (unless an accident involving chemicals or asbestos is contained within then 40 years). If the accident concerns a child or young adult retain until the person reaches the age of 21.


Medical examination certificates 4 years from date of issue
Parks and play area inspection reports 6 years
All inspection certificates 6 years
Repairs job sheets 2 years
Periodic machinery inspection tests (PAT, equipment calibration etc) 2 years
Documents relating to the process of collecting, transporting and disposal of general waste 3 years
Plant and equipment testing 2 years
Unusual Incident Forms 3 years


Hard copy routine correspondence Suggested: File management – retain until matter dealt with; maximum period 6 months.  Where the Parish Council believes that it is necessary to keep correspondence for an increased length of time, it will redact personal data from the correspondence.
Electronic routine correspondence Suggested: File management – retain until matter dealt with; maximum period 6 months. Where the Parish Council believes that it is necessary to keep correspondence for an increased length of time, it will redact personal data from the correspondence.
Requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Suggested: File management – retain until matter dealt with plus 6 months.  Where the Parish Council believes that it is necessary to keep correspondence for an increased length of time, it will redact personal data from the correspondence.
Planning Applications

Suggested: Recommendations in connection with relevant planning applications are recorded in the minutes which are retained indefinitely. Correspondence (both hard copy and electronic) received in connection with planning applications will be retained in accordance with the routine documents/correspondence policy

noted above.

Where an application is refused by the local planning authority, the application will be retained until the period within which an appeal can be made has expired.