Retention of Documents Policy


The Town Council recognises that the efficient management of its records is necessary to comply with its legal and regulatory obligations and to contribute to the effective overall management of the Town Council.

This document provides the policy framework through which this effective management can be achieved and audited. It covers:



Retention Schedule

Disposal of records

Scope of the Policy

This policy applies to all records created, received or maintained by the Town Council in the course of carrying out its functions.

Records are defined as all those documents which facilitate the business carried out by the Town Council and which are thereafter retained (for a set period) to provide evidence of its transactions or activities. These records may be created, received or maintained in hard copy or electronically. A small percentage of the Town Council’s records will be selected for permanent preservation as part of the Council’s archives and for historical research.


The Town Council has a corporate responsibility to maintain its records and record management systems in accordance with the regulatory environment. The person with overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy is the Clerk to the Town Council, and she/he is required to manage the Council’s records in such a way as to promote compliance with this policy so that information will be retrieved easily, appropriately and in a timely manner.

Retention Schedule

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Town Council is required to maintain a retention schedule listing the record series which it creates in the course of its business. The retention schedule lays down the length of time which the record needs to be retained and the action which should be taken when it is of no further administrative use. The Clerk is expected to manage the current record keeping systems using the retention schedule and to take account of the different retention periods when creating new record keeping systems.

Disposal procedures

All documents that are no longer required for administrative reasons should be shredded and disposed of.

Retention of Documents Schedule

This retention schedule refers to record series regardless of the media in which they are stored.

Document Minimum Retention Reason
Minute Books Indefinite Archive
Annual Accounts Indefinite Archive
Annual Return Indefinite Archive
Annual Town Report Indefinite Archive
Bank Statements Last completed audit year Audit/management
Cheque book stubs Last completed audit year Audit/management
Paying in books Last completed audit year Audit/management
Quotations 7 years Audit
Paid invoices 7 years Audit/VAT
VAT records 7 years Audit/VAT
Petty cash 7 years Audit/VAT
Timesheets Last completed audit year Audit/management
Salary records 12 years Superannuation
Tax & NI records 7 years Audit
Personal data of employees 6 years after employment terminates Recommended practice
Recruitment paperwork 1 year for all except successful candidate Recommended practice
Insurance policies Whilst valid Audit
Cert of Employers Liability 40 years Audit/legal
Cert of public liability 40 years Audit/legal
Insurance claim records 7 years after all obligations are concluded Management
Risk Assessments 12 years Statute of Limitations
Inspection records -weekly, monthly, annual etc 12 years Statute of Limitations
Accident Books/reports 3 years or if a child/young adult, until that person reaches 21 RIDDOR


Asset register Indefinite Audit
Deeds, leases Indefinite Audit
Declarations of Acceptance Term of office +1 year Management
Member’s register of interests’ book Term of office + 1 year Management
Formal Complaints 1 year Management
Freedom of Information requests 7 years Management
Adopted Council Policy Documents Indefinite (archive after superceded) Management
General information 3 months Management
Routine correspondence & emails 6 months Management
Allotments:  Register, plans & agreements Indefinite Audit/management
Local/historical information – including records of local interest gifted to the Council Indefinite Archive

Planning Applications

All planning applications and relevant decision notices are available at Allerdale Borough Council or Cumbria County Council. There is no requirement to retain duplicates locally. All Town Council recommendations in connection with these applications are recorded in the Council minutes and are retained indefinitely. Correspondence received in connection with applications will be retained as stated in the above schedule.