Introduction – what is a retention schedule?
A retention schedule is a list of the time periods that you need to keep records for. These are normally organised by the type of record, then give a time period after which the record can be destroyed or needs to be transferred to an archive.
Why this retention schedule is different
Retention schedules can be very detailed and therefore hard to work with. So, we have approached this from the other direction.
This means we start with a list of time periods, which are followed by the sort of records that need to be kept for that time period.
How do I decide which category my records fall under?
The categories given are fairly broad - this is intentional in order to keep the number of choices to a minimum. We have given the reasons for putting records in their categories below. Sometimes this is the School’s recommendation, however, sometimes this is due to an Act or other statutory instrument, which will be shown. Examples are also provided as illustration.
What if I am not sure which category fits?
If you think that your records could fit into more than one category, go for the longer time period. If you are uncertain which category they fit into, contact the Records Manager Rachael Maguire or the School’s Archivist Sue Donnelly, who will be able to advise you.
When does the time period start?
With regards paper files, from the date the file is closed. If this is not official recorded on the cover or anywhere else, a paper file can be considered closed from the date of the last piece of paper put on the file.
With regards electronic material held within a folder, from the date of the last document/email/etc added to the folder. It is a good idea to open a new folder on each subject for each academic year e.g. Complaints 2009-10, Complaints 2010-11 and only include the documents/emails relating to that time period. You could also use financial years for budget related folders. Project folders could have a closed date added to the folder title when the project finishes so you know the date to calculate the time period from.
With regards electronic material held in databases, you should be able to purge material that has reached it’s end of life on a monthly basis. Consider including a report that alerts you to when material is up for deletion and include deletion within the specification for any database.
There are some records included in the table below which tell you when the time period starts e.g. contract records. However, more general records should follow the guidance above.
You can access the School's retention schedule here.
Rachael Maguire, email email@example.com, telephone number 020 7955 6481
Sue Donnelly, email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone number 020 7955 7947