Retention & Records Management Policy

Document Control for Bassetlaw District Council

Organisation Bassetlaw District Council
Title Retention and Record Management Policy
Author Lesley K Bianco
Filename  
Owner Bassetlaw District Council
Subject  
Protective Marking Open
Review Date    
Revision History
 Revision Date Reviser Previous Version Description of Revision
April 2018      
August 2018 J Glass   Land Charges
January 2019 J Glass   Democratic Services
Feb/Mar 2019 J Glass   Various amendments to existing entries
Document Approvals      
This document requires the following approvals      
Sponsor of Approval Name Date
       
       
Document Distribution
This document will be distributed to:-
Name Job Title Email Address
       
       
       


Contents

Acknowledgements

Special thanks are due to the following for their help in developing the schedule:

  • Record Management Society of Great Britain, Local Government Group
  • Batchelor Associates Keith Batchelor
  • East Sussex County Council Colin Hinton
  • Devon County Council Angela Doughty
  • Hertfordshire County Council Tony May
  • Kent County Council Elizabeth Barber
  • NPS Property Consultants Ltd Louise Chittock
  • Surrey County Council Eileen Perren
  • Westminster City Council Simon McKeon
  • And, Huntingdonshire District Council

Introduction

Bassetlaw District Council recognises that its records are an important public asset and are a key resource to effective operation and to accountability. Like any asset they require careful management and this policy sets out the Council’s responsibilities and activities in regard to the management and retention of its records.

As a local authority we must be consistent in the way we handle, share and dispose of our information, to undertake effective management of all types of records and information, particularly keeping them organised, accessible and secure for the purpose they were obtained, and only for as long as they are needed.

These guidelines will assist Bassetlaw District Council in meeting local needs whilst providing a consistent approach to record keeping across Government.

The Council has made a commitment to be an open and transparent organisation, and having robust retention policies and procedures ensures that members of the public understand what information the Council holds and for how long it is kept for.

This Retention Policy applies to all information the Council processes regardless of how it was created or received or the way in which the information is stored. This policy applies to information and data in electronic and physical formats.

Establishment of the Guidelines

These guidelines have evolved through two stages:

a) The Records Management Society of Great Britain for Local Authorities draft retention guidance 

b) Additional input from Bassetlaw District Council Officers

  • Statutory requirements. Information will be retained for only as is required by statute
  • Ongoing business need. Information will be retained for only as long as it is required to run the organisation effectively. Storing information cost money, therefore storing information for longer than is necessary incurs unnecessary cost.

Scope of the Guidelines

These Retention Guidelines have been adapted from those issued by the Record Management Society of Great Britain. The original guidelines were issued to support local authorities in the areas of Data Protection, Freedom of Information, Record Retention and the Local Government Act.

Specific retention periods have been reviewed and amended in accordance with industry specific guidelines, and verified by the Council’s Heads of those Professions, e.g. Finance, Building Control, Environmental Health, etc.

The Guidelines are intended to be independent of any particular format of record that might be historically created (e.g. card, register) or media (e.g. paper electronic) and prolong the Guidelines period of application.

The Guidelines are intended to cover the continuum of records and information through to destruction or for retention for historical or research purposes.

Records sentenced for destruction under the Guidelines may be destroyed in accordance with the provisions of the Guidelines.

The retention policy and retention schedule help the Council to meet its statutory obligations to ensure that information is retained for the correct period of time and then disposed of appropriately. It is unlawful to retain information for longer than necessary.

Backup copies stored on alternative media (e.g. serves/microfilm/paper) should also be destroyed. This is vital to ensure compliance with the requirements of Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation.

Records for permanent preservation should be stored as agreed within the attached schedule.

Retention Guidelines Objectives

These guidelines are intended to:

  • Assist in identifying records that may be worth preserving permanently as part of a local authority’s archives.
  • Prevent the premature destruction of records that need to be retained for a specified period to satisfy legal, financial and other requirements of public administration.
  • Provide consistency for the destruction of those records not required permanently after specified periods.
  • Promote improved Records Management practices within local authorities.

Litigation

Where litigation is possible, the records and information that might be required should not be amended or disposed of until the possibility of litigation has been removed.

Legislation relating to mandatory retention periods and the rights of citizens to the information held is spread across a range of sources including;

  • Local Government Act 1972
  • Limitation Act 1980
  • Audit Commission Act 1998
  • GDPR - Data Protection Act 2018
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Environmental Information Regulations 2004
  • Legislation relating to taxation and financial records e.g. HMRC

Active Management of Information. (Databases)

Information held in databases is constantly evolving, however this does not mean that it is exempt from the retention policy. Managers must ensure that information held in databases meet the statutory obligations with regards to any retention and disposal. Defunct or closed databases must be managed in accordance with the Council’s retention schedule.

The Council will take active steps to ensure that the information held in databases it manages, owns or use is accurate and up to date and not retained beyond the time limit set in the retention schedule. Where there seems to be no justified reason to hold personal or sensitive information it must be destroyed immediately, unless the information owner can present a sound business reason or statutory requirement to Senior Management.

In managing information held in databases the Council will correct errors on discovery and dispose of any out of date records in line with the Council’s retention schedule.

Where information needs to be retained for statistical or research purposes the information owner must ensure that all such information is anonymised or meets our statutory obligations for the management of personal or sensitive information.

Emails

Emails and attachments relating to authorities business are corporate records and must be managed in accordance with the authorities retention schedule.

Emails users need to manage their accounts effectively and proactively and retained emails should be filed appropriately. Each individual will be responsible for removing any documents/e-mails from their email account to their personal location on the network if they are required to keep this longer than the 7 years retention.

Any officer requiring editing rights beyond the 7 years needs to gain permission from the Head of Service and ICT.

Disposal of Records

A Record and Document Disposal Register of destroyed records will be maintained. Enough detail will be recorded to identify which records have been destroyed. It is not sufficient to indicate that a quantity of records have been destroyed on a certain date. Enough details should be retained to identify which records have been destroyed. A designated manager will have overall responsibility for the register of destroyed records.

For records not covered by the Policy, contact the Council’s Audit department, legal department or suitable experienced sources for further advice.

Records should be destroyed at the end of their life cycle using the appropriate methods, paper records shredded via the Council’s approved contractor or for electronic records, deletion from the IT system (please contact ICT support desk for advice).

Electronic information must be treated in the same way as physical information; therefore electronic information must be disposed of once it has reached its set disposal date.

Checks should also be carried out for deletion of any “Backups” stored on the Electronic Document Management System and main back office systems.

For records not covered by the guidelines contact the Information Services Manager for further advice.

Roles & Responsibilities

Managers will be responsible for ensuring that their Retention Policy remains up-to-date and the register of destroyed records is completed for their area of responsibility. If the Manager wishes to delegate responsibility for these guidelines to another member of the department they should inform the Information Services Manager. Each department will identify this officer (or these officers) and publicise their identify to their staff. Staff will contact this officer if they have any concerns or queries about the Policy.

Managers have the responsibility to ensure information is held and used appropriately, retained for the correct period of time and then correctly disposed of or transferred to the archives service.

Managers are responsible for ensuring that staff comply with the retention policy and follow associated guidance relating to specific responsibilities. Managers are also responsible for ensuring that their staff comply with the retention schedule and ensuring it is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

It is the responsibility of information owners to investigate wrongful disposal of information.

Reviewing the Schedule

These guidelines prescribe minimum and permanent retention periods. The Policy and Schedule will be reviewed at regular intervals. If any additional records are identified for inclusion within these guideline, you will need to inform the Information Services Manager.

Format of Records (electronic, paper, microfiche)

Record Retention Policies were primarily created to define retention periods for paper records. However as more of the Council business is performed electronically there is a need to define the retention periods of electronic records. These record retention guidelines are relevant to records which are electronic, paper or records which have been transferred to another format such as microfiche.

Data Protection Act

Under the GDPR - Data Protection Act (2018) it is illegal to retain information for longer than is necessary

Enactment of Standard for a Local Authority

As there is no legal basis for the enforcement and support of this Policy, Bassetlaw District Council needs to ensure that the actions shown in the Policy and Schedule are ratified internally within the local authority or its agency.

This Retention and Disposal Schedule has been authorised by:

Signature of the Chief Executive

Date of Issue

Signature of 151 Officer

Date of Issue

Index of Retention Schedule

  • Section 1 Democratic Services
  • Section 2 Management and Administration
  • Section 3 Public Relations, Civic and Royal Events
  • Section 4 Legal and Contracts
  • Section 5 Human Resources
  • Section 6 Financial Management
  • Section 7 Health & Safety
  • Section 8 Planning, Building Control & Land Use
  • Section 9 Environmental Health
  • Section 10 Internal Audit
  • Section 11 One Stop Shop
  • Section 12 Estates
  • Section 13 Anti Social Behaviour
  • Section 14 Council Tax, NNDR, Benefits and Fraud
  • Section 15 Revenues Section 16 Procurement
  • Section 17 Technical Housing Section 18 Shopmobility
  • Section 19 Cemeteries
  • Section 20 Street Naming and Numbering
  • Section 21 General Public Services
  • Section 22 Asbestos Recording
  • Section 23 Housing/Homelessness BDC
  • Section 24 Markets Section 25 Economic Development
  • Section 26 ICT Bassetlaw District Council Data Retention Policy & Record Management
  • Section 27 Data Protection
  • Section 28 Regeneration and Investment
  • Section 29 Land Charges
  • Section 30 Strategic Housing
  • Section 31 Housing

Last Updated on Thursday, May 28, 2020