University Record and Data Retention Schedule

What is a Record & Data Retention Schedule?

The  Retention Schedule sets out the MINIMUM periods of time for which an organisation’s business records are to be retained. It applies to all types of records in all media and formats (e.g. paper and electronic documents, databases, audio-visual materials, scientific materials, artefacts)

Why do we need a Record & Data Retention Schedule?

  • To ensure the University’s business records are retained for as long as they are needed to enable it to operate effectively
  • To comply with legislation such as the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • To ensure compliance with audit requirements
  • To demonstrate accountability to stakeholders and to wider society
  • To enable us to dispose confidently of records we no longer need
  • To provide standards and consistency in record keeping across the University
  • The retention of unnecessary records consumes staff time, space and equipment

However……

Duplicate copies of records can usually be retained for a shorter period - determine which copy of any record is the official copy and ensure that these copies are preserved and retained in accordance with the Retention Schedule

The retention policies are based on operational needs only and do not reflect any assessment of archival value – where a record can be classed as having ‘archival value’ (and is not covered by any legislation) a longer retention period can be allocated

Staff may need to allocate longer retention periods where other factors require consideration, for instance an audit investigation, court case or where a funding body requires a specific retention period. In these circumstances consult with the records owner and Compliance and Records Manager.

(Above advice taken from the JISCInfoNet HEI Records Retention Schedule – User Guide http://bcs.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/he/default.asp.)

Content of the Record Retention Schedule:

 Descriptions of Record Series which are generated by BU business activities

A Description of the types of records

Details of the area responsible (Maintained by) for the record types

A Summary Retention Period which may be a period prescribed by legislation or a recommended period (Including Citations where applicable)

Notes which clarify a retention period or the rationale for the retention policy

Implementation of the Record & Data Retention Schedule

  • Responsibility for implementation of the retention schedule should be within schools / departments

  • A member of staff within that school / dept. (in consultation with the Head of Governance and Compliance) should ensure records are arranged logically (whatever their format / media) – this will enable the efficient identification of records as retention periods are reached according to the Retention Schedule

What do I do when my records expire their retention policy date?

Once retention periods have elapsed records should no longer be required for business purposes and should either be destroyed or archived:

Destroy – The records should be destroyed using the appropriate method

Review for archival / operational / informational value – Records may be required for longer. Consult with the record owner / user before disposal

Destroying Records

Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, specifically principle 7, we're responsible not only for ensuring that personal data is kept securely but also that the data is destroyed securely. Records containing confidential information about the University and its operations also need to be destroyed in a secure manner

Records should never be destroyed without authorisation from the owner / Head of Department or School

Paper Records

We use an off-site contractor who collects the confidential material, confidentially destroys it and provides certificates of destruction (contact the Records Assistant for further information and guidance). It is also important for the University to have a record of a paper or electronic record’s destruction using the ‘Schedule of Records Destroyed’ form

Electronic Records

Please refer to the University’s ‘Policy for the Re-use and Disposal of Computers, other IT Equipment and Data Storage Media’ : www.bangor.ac.uk/itservices/disposal/

What if my records are not covered by the Record Retention Schedule?

  • Consult with those who own, create and use the records to ascertain how long they feel that the records retain their ‘informational value
  • Consider their ‘evidential value’ – for instance, how long may they be needed to help prove and justify a course of action undertaken by the University?
  • Retention could be an external requirement (i.e. Funding requirement) – in such cases consider which agencies / stakeholders / funding sponsors have a vested interest in the process(es) the record(s) support(s)  - do they have a retention policy? (Consult with the external bodies)
  • Are the records covered by legal or regulatory retention requirements? (Consult with the Head of Compliance)

Non Permanent Records

These types of records have no significant operational, informational or evidential value.  They should therefore be archived and destroyed as soon as they have served their initial purpose :

  • Records compromising announcements and notices of meetings and other events, also notifications of acceptance or apologies
  • Requests for maps, location information, travel directions and brochures
  • Duplicate documents such as unaltered drafts, ‘FYI’ and ‘CC’ documents
  • Transmission documents which accompany documents but do not add any value to them, such as fax covers, e-mails, and compliments slips
  • Superseded address lists, distribution lists etc.
  • Personal address books, diaries, etc.
  • Published or reference materials received vendors or other external organisations e.g. trade magazines, vendor catalogues, flyers, newsletters

Consulting the Records and Data Retention Schedule

The Bangor University Record & Data Retention Schedule is currently under review. As each schedule is completed in consultation with relevant staff in the University, they will be made available on this page. For more information please contact Lynette Hunter, Compliance and Records Manager.