1.1 The main aim of this policy is to enable Echoes International to manage our records effectively and in compliance with data protection and other regulation. As an organisation we collect, hold, store and create significant amounts of data and information and this policy provides a framework of retention and disposal of categories of information and documents.
1.2 Echoes International is committed to the principles of data protection including the principle that information is only to be retained for as long as necessary for the purpose concerned.
1.3 The table below sets out the main categories of information that we hold, the length of time that we intend to hold them, and the reason for this.
1.4 For information, the Appendix sets out the legal requirements for certain categories of document. Where we have decided to keep information longer than the statutory requirement, this has been explained in the table at Section 2.
1.5 Section 3 of this policy sets out the destruction procedure for documents at the end of their retention period. The Operations Director shall be responsible for ensuring that this is carried out appropriately, and any questions regarding this policy should be referred to them.
1.6 If a document or information is reaching the end of its stated retention period, but you are of the view that it should be kept longer, please refer to the Operations Director, who will make a decision as to whether it should be kept, for how long, and note the new time limit and reasons for extension.
2. Document Retention Period
3.1 Deletion of documents
3.1. When a document is at the end of its retention period, it should be dealt with in accordance with this policy.
3.2. This should be made available for collection in the confidential waste bins or sacks located around the office [or shredded, or state how you get rid of confidential information].
3.3. Anything that contains personal information should be treated as confidential.
3.4. Where deleting electronically, please refer to DMCIT Solutions to ensure that this is carried out effectively.
3.5. Other documentation can be deleted or placed in recycling bins where appropriate.
3.6. Certain information will be automatically archived by the computer systems, details of which are set out below. Should you want to retrieve any information, or prevent this happening in a particular circumstance, please contact the Operations Director
3.7. Much of the retention and deletion of documents will be automatic, but when faced with a decision about an individual document, you should ask yourself the following:
3.7.1. Has the information come to the end of its useful life?
3.7.2. Is there a legal requirement to keep this information or document for a set period? (Refer to the Appendix for more information)
3.7.3. Would the information be likely to be needed in the case of any legal proceedings? (Is the information contentious, does it relate to an incident that could potentially give rise to proceedings?)
3.7.4. Would the document be useful for the organisation as a precedent, learning document, or for performance management processes?
3.7.5. Is the document of historic or statistical significance?
3.8. If the decision is made to keep the document, this should be referred to Operations Director and reasons given.
This is for reference when compiling your retention period framework in Section 2. It covers the main categories of documents with a legal or commercial requirement to keep them for a set period, relevant to charities generally. There may be other requirements in relation to the sectors or areas of activity you operate in.