Papers relating to working parties and review groups
The policy provides guidance on the management, retention and disposal of
papers relating to the activities of University Working Parties or Review
Groups. It is a University-wide policy and covers all such parties or groups
that are established to undertake University-related business.
Definition of a Working Party (WP)
A Working Party or Review Group (WP) is a committee that is established
for a limited time in order to perform a specific function or reach a
specific objective. The WP is allocated a Chair and Secretary and is usually
made up of a representative selection of University staff and/or students as
It is usual practice for a WP to be appointed by, and to report to, a
formal and permanent committee of the University (the “parent committee”).
The parent committee considers the WP final report, which is produced once
WP deliberations are complete. It is University policy to retain permanently
a record of decisions and discussions that shape its history and
development. A record of WP activities is retained through the official
papers of its parent committee. Any WP that is not appointed by, or does not
report to, a parent committee is unlikely to be undertaking significant
activity, but still falls within the scope of this policy where relevant.
Working party papers: Records Management practice
The WP Secretary is responsible for the management, retention and
disposal of its papers both during and after the WP deliberations. It is the
role of the Secretary to ensure, where necessary, that the parent committee
receives the necessary report and is able to record for permanent retention
the relevant work of the WP and its deliberations.
Once a WP completes its work and has reported to the parent committee in
the necessary way, the Secretary retains all the original papers for five
academic years after the academic year in which the report is published. As
a guide, the following information is retained as a minimum during this
Original terms of reference;
A list of the original membership and any stated reasons
for members being appointed;
Supporting/background evidence and documentation, eg
responses to surveys or consultations;
Any other relevant information that documents the
activities of the WP.
It is at the discretion of the Secretary if a greater amount or more
detailed information is retained within the papers.
At the end of the retention period, the papers are destroyed
Date for destruction
Once a WP completes its work, the WP Secretary establishes a date for
destruction of the papers. This date must be in line with the retention
period set out above.
The Secretary acknowledges the possibility that the physical destruction
of the papers may be carried out by another individual (for example, a
successor to their post) and ensures that clear instruction is provided on
the future retention and disposal of the papers.
Exceptions to the Policy
The policy recognises that, under certain exceptional circumstances, it
may be appropriate for papers relating to a WP to be retained in full for
longer than the established retention period, in some cases, permanently.
The WP Secretary is responsible for ensuring that the reason for the
extended retention is known and stated clearly within the papers.
The importance of policy compliance and the University
Adherence to this policy is an important part of the University's
compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Act provides access
to any individual (upon request) to any information held by the University,
subject to specific exemptions. Requests for information relating to the activity of a WP are dealt with
in line with this policy. The University contravenes its legal obligations
under the Act if requested information is not disclosed despite it remaining
in the University's possession; or if the University is unable to retrieve
the information despite the existence of this policy.
Policy Agreed: Summer 2004 Policy Effective from: October 2004 Policy due for renewal: Summer 2007
 Draft reports should
be managed in accordance
with the specific University