Document Retention Policy


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

Trustee/Director Minutes etc. Permanent For historical reasons and future reference
Tax and Finance
Annual Accounts

Donor and Beneficiary Bank Details


3 years after last transaction

For historical and archiving purposes

Ensure recent records in case other transactions received

Mission Workers files (active and closed)

Archive pictures & video material



For archive and historical purposes

For archive and historical purposes

Volunteer records 3 years Keep volunteer record current – deleting those who have not got involved
Marketing consents 3 years Ensuring any consents we have are fresh and current – we will revisit consents every 3 years
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.

Confidential waste

3.2. This should be made available for collection in the confidential waste bins or sacks located around the office .

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.

Other documentation

3.5. Other documentation can be deleted or placed in recycling bins where appropriate.

Automatic deletion

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

Individual responsibility

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.

Company Articles of Association, Rules/bylaws Companies Act 2006
Companies Act 2011
CIO constitution/rules Companies Act 2011 Permanent
Royal Charter/Bylaws/Trust Deed/unincorporated association constitution Companies Act 2011 Permanent
Documents of clear historical/archival significance Data Protection Regulation Permanent if relevant data protection regulation provisions are met
Contracts e.g. with funders or grantees, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements Limitation Act 1980 Length of contract term plus 6 years
Contracts executed as deeds Limitation Act 1980 Length of contract term plus 12 years
Tax and accounting records Finance Act 1998
Taxes Management Act 1970
6 years from end of relevant tax year
Banking records/receipts book/sales ledger Companies Act 2006
Charities Act 2011
6 years from transaction
Deed of covenant/Gift Aid declarations and correspondence re donations As part of tax records 6 years after last payment or 12 years if payments are outstanding or dispute over deed
Legacies – correspondence and financial records 6 years after completion of estate administration
EMPLOYEE/ADMINISTRATION See generally ICO Employment Practices Code
Payroll/Employee/Income Tax and NI records: P45; P6; PIID; P60 etc. Taxes Management Act 1970 /IT (PAYE) Regulations 6 years from end of current year
Maternity pay Statutory Maternity Pay Regulations 3 years after the end of the tax year
Sick pay Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 3 years after the end of the tax year
National Minimum wage records National Minimum Wage Act 3 years after the end of the tax year
Foreign national ID documents Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) Order 2007 Minimum 2 years from end of employment
HR files and training records Limitation Act 1970 and Data Protection regulation Maximum 6 years from end of employment
Records re working time Working Time Regulations 1998 as amended 2 years
Job applications (CVs and related materials re unsuccessful applicants) ICO Employment Practices Code (Recruitment & Selection) Disability Discrimination Act 1995 & Race Relations Act 1976 Recommended: 6-12 months from your notification of outcome of application
Pre-employment/volunteer vetting ICO Employment Practice Code 6 months
Disclosure & Barring Service checks ICO Employment Practice Code Record only satisfactory/unsatisfactory result and delete other information
Volunteer records Undertake assessment to decide on retention period taking account of risk (e.g. safeguarding re work with children or vulnerable adults)
Employer’s Liability Insurance Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance Regulation) 1998 40 years
Policies Commercial 3 years after lapse
Claims correspondence Commercial 3 years after settlement
General records Limitation Act 1970 Minimum 3 years
Records re work with hazardous substances Control of Hazardous Substances to Health Regulations 2002 Up to 40 years. Recommend: Permanent
Original title deeds Permanent/to disposal of property
Leases Limitation Act 1980 12 years after lease has expired
Building records, plans, consents and certification and warranties etc. Limitation Act 1980 6 years after disposal or permanent if of historical/archival interest. Carry out review re longer retention e.g. if possible actions against contractors
Records about employees and workers
Records re the Scheme
Records re active members and opt in/opt out
Trust Deed/Rules and HMRC approvals
Trustees’ Minutes and annual accounts
Policies including investment policies
For all categories see:
Detailed Guidance for Employers: (April 2017)