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Guidelines for record retention and disposal

This page gives general guidance regarding the development and use of local retention schedules. It includes notes about disposal, and the need to maintain a disposal schedule. It should be read alongside any of the individual topic guides, which are given in later pages:

Introduction

The following section describes good practice in the management and application of retention schedules, and advises on ways of devising and implementing local retention schedules where University guidance is not yet available.

Managing record retention

Where available, start with the appropriate University retention schedule:

Where schedules are not yet available, use other resources for guidance and an indication of relevant legislation (see Resources below)

When devising a local schedule you will need to check legal requirements, University needs and local departmental needs. Where space is available, a means of testing or demonstrating (a lack of) need is to box records and store them remotely, and to record all accesses over an agreed period.

Ensure local retention schedules are agreed, and the agreement is recorded. This might be via a school or departmental meeting minute or a memo signed by the Head of School or Directorate.

Having agreed a retention schedule, you must record any disposals made against the schedule, including a description of the records including their dates, the retention schedule, date of destruction and the authorising person. You should also note where records have been disposed of confidentially; including the destruction certificate details (see sample form (PDF-10KB). This record should probably be kept "permanently".

Ensure disposals are handled appropriately – using  for confidential records, including those containing personal data.

In the main, ensure any schedules applied to centrally-held "master" records, or to records held solely within schools, are subject to appropriate consultation and senior management approval. Wherever you do introduce a retention schedule, ensure it is accurately recorded and agreed, and keep a record of all disposals made against it.

Resources

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) has a range of projects within its "Supporting Institutional Records Management Programme"
www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/programme_supporting_irm.aspx

including the "Records Management Infokit"
www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/records-management/

and the revised "JISC Business Classification Scheme (BCS) and Records Retention Schedule (RRS) for Higher Education Institutions"
http://bcs.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/he/default.asp.

The National Archives also provide advice and guidance:
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/recordsmanagement/

 

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