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Retention Schedule for academic departments, schools and centres

Notes and guidance

What is covered by this schedule?

This schedule applies to all records kept in academic departments, schools and centres.

What’s on the retention schedule?

A retention schedule is a list of the minimum records we need to keep, along with the period they need to be kept for. Schedules are based on the content of a document, not its format – they apply equally to paper and electronic documents.

What’s not on the schedule?

If a document you have isn’t on the retention schedule it means there is probably no legal need or general business continuity need for you to keep it. Schedules focus on what your department, section, centre, school or office needs to keep. They don’t include things you as an individual might feel useful to keep. If something is for your own use, because it’s part of something you’re currently working on, or something that you work on termly or annually and need a reminder of how things went the last time, then that’s fine.

If you think something in your office, department, school or section is a core document and needed for legal or business continuity reason, and it isn’t on the schedule check to see whether another part of the University holds it.  There is a list of items kept elsewhere, and the Academic Section retention schedule might also be useful. If you still can’t find the item listed then please speak to the Information Manager who will be able to advise and update the schedule if necessary.

What do the codes on the schedules mean?

  • CAY Current Academic Year (October to September)
  • CFY Current Financial Year (August to July)
  • CCY Current Calendar Year (January to December)
  • TofR Termination of Relationship (the point at which someone permanently stops being a student or member of staff)
  • Permanent This information should be kept forever and not destroyed.

The numbers refer to the number of years after the current year the records have to be kept for. For example, CAY+6 means until the end of this academic year, and then another six full academic years. So a document created in February 2011 will be kept until the end of the 2010-11 academic year (September 2011), and then a further six full academic years, which means it could be destroyed at the end of September 2017.

What do I do with items I don’t need to keep any more?

Most things aren’t kept forever. At the end of the retention period they are normally destroyed. Any personal information (information about identifiable living individuals) should be shredded. Anything that is confidential should also be shredded. Otherwise – think of the environment and recycle. Electronic documents should also be deleted at the end of the retention period. Don’t forget to clear out your recycle bin as deleted documents will stay there until you do so.

Support and help

There is more information on the records management web pages about retention schedules, deciding what the throw away, keeping information secure, organising information, archiving information and destroying information.