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Meeting papers

A formal retention schedule for meeting papers has yet to be developed and agreed, but here are some general thoughts regarding retention of school, department or directorate office meeting papers, in part derived from the JISC work.

  • Keep just a single set of agenda, minutes and papers/reports for each meeting, as far as possible.
    If these sets are kept in a central place (eg on paper in an administrative office, or electronically on a shared drive or intranet), and individuals are confident they can gain access, they may be more willing to dispose of their own copy.
  • A recycling bin provided at the end of a meeting may encourage disposal of duplicate meeting papers. Where papers contain personal or other confidential data, this practice, followed by appropriate confidential disposal, should be encouraged.
  • Try to ensure all papers are headed with the committee name, meeting date and agenda item (ideally on every page). MS Word headers can be use to add these automatically.
  • Try to identify, and note, an author or owner for each paper, including the minutes. This is especially important for policy papers, where it is also useful to include a footer noting the approval process and dates.

The table below is derived from the revised "JISC Higher Education Business Classification Scheme and Records Retention Schedules" (printable RRS available), for an institution's non-statutory committees. Some comments have been added readjusting it for less senior committees.

Some key questions to ask are:

  • why might the paperwork be needed?
  • how long will the decision-making be relevant?
  • what other policy is relevant?

Here are some examples of thinking through retention matters:

  • papers regarding arrangements for a one-off event probably only need to be kept for a few weeks or months after a successful event (unless they are of historic interest), whereas they might be kept for a year or 15 months for an annual event, to provide a reminder for the subsequent year's arrangements.
  • Where a committee governs or manages teaching and learning activity, you might keep paperwork long enough to cover the duration of the courses, perhaps plus a year or two to allow for repeat or suspended years. Or you might keep them for the same period as the associated student records.
  • Where meetings relate to student assessment or examinations, or to disciplinary matters, retention should be governed by examination or discipline policy.


JISC Recommended Retention Period

(Legal) citation

(JISC) Notes

Records documenting development & establishment of terms of reference, rules & procedures, for a committee.

Life of committee + 6 years

1980 c. 58
s 5

Records documenting appointment / election / designation of committee members.

Termination of membership + 6 years

1980 c. 58
s 5

Records documenting the development of induction and training programmes for committee members.

Superseded + 3 years


Previous versions provide evidence of effective induction & training over time.

Records documenting training undertaken by individual members of a committee.

Termination of membership + 6 years

1980 c. 58
ss 2 and 5

Records documenting the arrangements for meetings of a committee.

Current year + 1 year


Records documenting the conduct of the business of a committee:agenda, minutes and supporting papers.

Life of committee + 5 years


Adapted from the revised "JISC Higher Education Business Classification Scheme and Records Retention Schedules"

1980 c.58 refers to the Limitation Act 1980.

Before adapting retention periods to your local situation, please see the advice given above, and, as with all record retention matters, ensure you follow the more general advice re Record Retention and Disposal Schedules. A copy of this table (PDF-20KB) is available to download.

And as always, do contact IMPS if you want to check specific instances.

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