Document Retention Policy

(A pdf version of this policy is available for download here)



St Erth Parish Council recognizes 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 Parish Council.

Scope of the policy

This policy applies to all records created, received or maintained by the Parish Council in the course of carrying out its functions. Records are defined as all those documents which facilitate the business carried out by the Parish 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 Parish Council’s records will be selected for permanent preservation as part of the Council’s archives and for historical research.


The Parish 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 this policy is the Clerk.

The Clerk will give guidance for good records management practice and will promote compliance with this policy so that information will be retrieved easily, appropriately and in a timely fashion.

The Parish Council will only keep data for as long as it is necessary to do so.

Relationship with existing policies

This policy has been drawn up within the context of:

  • Freedom of Information policy
  • General Privacy Notice
  • Privacy Notice
  • Publication Scheme

and with other legislation or regulations (including audit and Statute of Limitations) affecting the Parish Council.

Retention Schedule

Documents and records should be retained until they are no longer needed.  Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Parish 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.

Members of staff and Councillors are expected to manage their current record keeping systems using the retention schedule and to take account of the different kinds of retention periods when they are creating new record keeping systems.

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

Planning Applications

All planning applications and relevant decision notices are available from Cornwall Council.  There is no requirement to retain duplicates locally.  All Parish 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 below.

List of Documents

Document Minimum Retention Period Reason Disposal
Minutes & Correspondence
Signed Minutes Indefinite Archive, Public inspection N/A
Agendas 5 years Management RW
General emails and correspondence Retained for as long as document is needed Management CW
Information from other bodies (eg CALC) Retained for as long as document is useful Management RW
Local / historical information Indefinite To be securely kept for the benefit of the Parish N/A
Magazines and journals Retained for as long as document is useful The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 RW
Finance & Payroll
Audited Accounts Indefinite Audit N/A
Receipt and payment accounts Indefinite Archive N/A
Receipts books of all kinds 6 years VAT RW
All bank statements Last completed audit year Audit CW
Bank paying-in books Last completed audit year Audit CW
Cheque book stubs Last completed audit year Audit CW
Quotations and tenders (successful) 6 years Limitation Act 1980 (as amended) CW
Paid invoices 6 years VAT CW
Paid cheques 6 years Limitation Act 1980 (as amended) CW
VAT records 6 years VAT CW
Petty cash, postage and telephone books 6 years Tax, VAT, Limitation Act 1980 (as amended) CW
Timesheets Last completed audit year

3 years


Personal injury

Wages / payroll 6 years from end of employment Audit CW
Scale of fees & charges 6 years Management RW
Budgets Indefinite Local Choice N/A
Investments Indefinite Audit, Management N/A
Human Resources
Staff files 6 years from end of employment Audit CW
Job applications (unsuccessful) 6 months from time of appointment Management CW
Accident/incident reports 20 years Potential claims CW
Insurance policies While valid Management CW
Insurance company names & policy nos Indefinite Management N/A
Insurance claims 7 years after all obligations are concluded or child reaches age of 25 Limitation Act 1980 (as amended) CW
Insurance certificates 40 years The Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Regulations 1998 (SI2753) RW
Health & Safety inspection records 6 years Management RW
Strategic Plans Until superseded Common Practice RW
Policies & Operational Procedures Until superseded Common Practice RW
Declarations of office Term of office Management CW
Members register of interests Term of office Management CW
Complaints 2 years from resolution Management CW
Title deeds, leases, agreements, contracts Indefinite Audit, Management N/A
Members allowances register 6 years Tax, Limitation Act 1980 (as amended) CW
Legal/Litigation Files 6 years Common practice CW
Register and plans Indefinite Audit, Management N/A
Lease agreements Whilst valid Management CW
Burial Grounds
Register of: Fees collected / Burials / Purchased Graves / Plan of grave spaces / Memorials Indefinite Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 (SI204) Management N/A

RW – recycled waste CW – confidential waste (to be disposed of securely).


Adopted 7th September 2021 098/09/21-22a)
Reviewed 7th November 2023 124/11/23-24d)
Next review due November 2026