Retention of Data and Erasure of Personal Information

Introduction

The College handles large quantities of paper and digital data. This includes records for the College business e.g. tax, insurance, staff, medical, health and safety records which are a legal requirement. We also hold information relating to pupils e.g. academic, medical, attendance details. Much of the data collected has to be retained for legal and other purposes. These procedures are covered in Part A: Retention of Data.

Additionally, under data protection law, individuals have a right to erasure, also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’. The basic principle is that the law enables individuals to request the removal or deletion of their Personal Data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. This is covered in Part B: Request to Erase Personal Data.

This page outlines;

  • what records we hold;
  • where they are broadly held;
  • why we keep it;
  • when it must or can be destroyed; and
  • how people can apply to “be forgotten”.

PART A

Retention of Data

There is no legal single retention or destruction period which applies to every written electronic or paper record.  This Policy has been developed to instruct staff on how we retain and securely store records. This is influenced by the following elements:

  1. Statutory duties and government guidance relating to schools.
  2. Data protection legislation.
  3. Legislation that imposes or implies rights to privacy or confidentiality.
  4. Disclosure requirements in the course of any litigation.
  5. Contractual obligations.

These elements inform not only minimum and maximum retention periods, but also what to keep and how to keep it.   It is also noted that in 2015, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse instructed all schools that they must ensure that no line of investigation is curtailed by the premature destruction of files or records that later become required as evidence”. The College fully abides by this request.

Additionally, medical staff are to continue to retain ‘medical in confidence’ personal records in accordance with NHS and Clinical Governance rules.

What is a "Record”?

For the purpose of this document, a "record" means any piece of data which contains evidence or information relating to the College, its staff, Governors, parents/carers or pupils.  Some of this material, but not all, will contain Personal Data of individuals as defined by data protection legislation.  Many, if not most, new and recent records will be created, received and stored electronically.  Others (such as certificates or older records) will be original paper documents.  The format of the record is less important than its contents and the purpose for keeping it.

Digital Records

There are many types of digital records e.g. emails (whether they are retained electronically or printed as part of a paper file) are also "records" and may be particularly important; whether as disclosable documents in any litigation or as representing Personal Data of the sender (or subject) for data protection/data privacy purposes. 

The format is secondary to the content and the purpose of keeping the document as a record. A digital document's original metadata may indicate the date of its creation, its author or the history of its changes, so it is important that this information is preserved.

Paper Records

Paper can be damaged by poor storage conditions but safe keeping and security is vital, especially if the materials contain legally or financially sensitive data, as well as data personal to individuals.

Under data protection legislation, paper records are only classed as Personal Data if held in a "relevant filing system". This means organised, and/or indexed, such that specific categories of personal information relating to a certain individual are readily accessible, and therefore searchable as a digital database might be. It would therefore be expected that the College maintains good systems that are searchable.

When personal information is contained on print-outs taken from electronic files, this data has already been processed by us and falls under data protection legislation.

Storing, Archiving and Destruction of Records

All staff must be familiar with and follow our Staff Data Protection Policy and the E- Safety - Acceptable User Policy where issues such as security, recognising and handling Special Category data are explained. College staff with responsibility for the management of records must ensure the following:

  1. Electronic data must be stored securely at all times (password and/or encryption for electronic data) so that access is available only to authorised persons and the records themselves are available when required and (where necessary) searchable.
  2. Pupil files must only be kept in the school at which the pupil is currently studying. These files must not be kept for historical records in the Pre-Prep or the Prep School but must flow though the College with the pupil to the Senior School. Once a pupil leaves the Senior School, the record will be retained as in the attached table. If a pupil leaves either the Pre-Prep or the Prep School and does not stay in the College, their record will be securely archived in the last school of study [note in 2020 a new secure College wide archive will be established]. Records must be transferred to either the next school on campus or archived by secure archive within 3 months of the pupil moving on or leaving. These records must not be sent to another school and will only be accessible to authorised College staff.
  3. Any current pupil or staff paper records containing identifiable Personal Data must be stored in locked drawers or metal cupboards. Access is available only to authorised persons and the records themselves are available when required and (where necessary) searchable.
  4. Any paper records of ex-staff or ex-pupils must be retained as per the policy outlined in the attached table. Records will be stored in a secure location with access limited to authorised persons only.
  5. The digital records of ex-staff or ex-pupils must be retained as per the policy outlined in the attached table. These will be stored securely with access limited to authorised persons only.
  6. Data held on PASS of staff and pupils that have left the College will be securely stored in line with the policy below.

Staff who originate and manage records must review them annually, in line with the guidance in the attached table. This is to ensure that all information being kept is still relevant and, in the case of Personal Data, necessary for the purposes for which it is held (and if so, that it is accurate and up-to-date). As a double check, documents in the shaded boxes in the attached table must not be destroyed by the staff responsible without first discussing their destruction with the Bursar.

No records are to be destroyed without the authorisation outlined in the table at the end of this page.

Documents and items of historical interest that do not contain Personal Data are to be offered to the College Archivist before destruction.

Secure Disposal of Data

Confidential, Special Category or personal information must be securely disposed of in a way that content cannot be either read or reconstructed. Such material must not be placed in skips or 'regular' waste disposal. Each school and central administration has at least one high security paper shredder. There is also a bulk confidential waste facility available. If staff are unsure, contact a School Office or the Bursary for further advice.

Any destruction or permanent erasure of records undertaken by a third party must be carried out securely, with no risk of the re-use or disclosure, or re-construction of any records or information contained in them. Destruction must be confirmed by a certificate from the third party.

Paper records containing Personal Data, including photographs, must be shredded; media including CDs/DVDs/memory cards, portable hard drives and other digital storage devices should be passed to the IT Department for appropriate disposal.

Photographs of any pupil taken for admission purposes and who are not admitted must be securely destroyed within 6 months. Other photographs and CCTV footage disposal is dealt with in the Taking, Storing and Using Images of Children Policy.

Retention Periods

The table below has four functions in that it;

  1. identifies the key types of document concerned;
  2. focusses on any particular issues associated with those types of document;
  3. lists the minimum retention period; and
  4. identifies the broad location where the records are stored.

The precise storage location of all paper record cabinets and drawers must be recorded on a College Data Storage Register held by the Assistant Bursar.

PART B

Requesting Erasure of Personal Information

As indicated above, individuals have a right to erasure known as ‘the right to be forgotten’. There is no absolute right to be ‘forgotten’. Pupils, parents, Governors and staff have a right to request that their Personal Data is erased and to prevent its processing, where one of the following relevant grounds apply:

  1. Their data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected or processed
  2. They withdraw consent
  3. They object to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing
  4. Their data was unlawfully processed
  5. Their data has to be erased in order to comply with a specific legal obligation.

Reacting to a Request

There are specific circumstances where the right to erasure does not apply and we can refuse to deal with a request. This would apply for the following reasons:

  1. The College’s right to exercise the right of freedom of expression and information.
  2. To comply with a legal obligation or for the performance of a public interest task or exercise of official authority e.g. Dept. for Education, County Council.
  3. For public health purposes in the public interest.
  4. Archiving purposes in the public interest, historical research or statistical purposes.
  5. The exercise or defence of legal claims.

Pupil Requests to Erasure

If a pupil has given consent to processing their data after the age of 12 and they later request its erasure, this may need special consideration. This is because a pupil may not have been fully aware of the risks involved in the processing at the time of consent. Further advice on this can be obtained from the Assistant Bursar.

Data Passed to Another Organisation

If the College has legally disclosed to another third party, an individual’s Personal Data and they want it erased, we have a duty to inform the third party about the erasure request, unless it is impossible or involves disproportionate effort to do so. The College will endeavour to comply with this request as best we can.

Make an Erasure Request

Individuals wishing to make an erase request under these regulations need to email the Bursar with the request, outlining exactly what they would like erased with as much detail as possible.

College Data Retention Storage Table - February 2018 

These items must not be destroyed without first discussing the matter with the Bursar

Type of Record
Statutory Provisions
Minimum Retention Period
Storage
Responsible Department
Reason for retention
Staff responsible for Annual Review of data
Accidents and medical treatment to children
Social Security (Claims and
Payments) Regulations 1979
Regulation 25. Social Security
Administration Act 1992 Section 8. Limitation Act 1980
Date of birth plus 25 years unless safeguarding incident where it may be kept for indefinitely
PASS then Secure Archive
Medical
Legal challenges, litigation 
Lead Nurse
Accounting records (to enable accurate financial position to be ascertained)
Financial Regulations
Minimum 6 years from the end of the financial year in which the transaction took place
Paper/e then Secure Archive
Finance
Legal
Head of Finance
Allegations made against staff investigated by the Police
 
Indefinitely- reviewed by Headmaster and Bursar
Staff PF – either digital,  or paper then Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges or investigations
Bursar
Allegations made against staff investigated by Social Service
 
Indefinitely - reviewed by Headmaster and Bursar
Staff PF – either digital, or paper then  Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges or investigations
Bursar
Annual curriculum
 
From end of year: 7 years (or 3 years for other class records e.g. marks/ timetables/ assignments)
PASS
MIS
Allows for legal investigations
Head of MIS
Annual reports of the College
 
Permanent
Digital and paper then Secure Archive
Bursary
Legal and Historical archive record
Bursar
Asbestos:
training records
Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002
40 years
Scanned or paper file then Secure Archive
Estates
Legal challenges or investigations
Estates Manager
Asbestos:
suspect incidents of potential exposure to individual
Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002
40 years
Scanned or paper file then Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges or investigations
HR Manager
Attendance Register
 
10 years from last date of entry, then archived for 25 years
PASS
MIS
Allows for legal investigations
MIS Manager
Budget and financial reports
 
 
Current plus 3 years from the end of the financial year
Digital or paper
Finance
Legal
Head of Finance
Bursary Applications
All held separately from pupil file
 
25 years from DOB of pupil’s youngest sibling
Paper
Bursary
Legal challenges or investigations
PA to the Bursar
Certificates of Incorporation
 
Permanent (or until dissolution of the Company)
Paper to Secure Archive
Bursary
Legal
PA to the Bursar
Central Register
 
Permanent record of all mandatory checks that have been undertaken
Digital to Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations
HR Manager
Contracts and Agreements (ALL)
Signed or final/concluded agreements (plus any signed or final/concluded variations or amendments)
 
7 years from completion of contractual obligations or term of agreement, whichever is the later.
Paper or scan to Secure Archive
Bursary
Legal challenges
Bursar
Complaints about staff
Raised by family members/ individuals
 
Minimum of 25 years. Extension to be reviewed by Headmaster and Bursar
Staff PF –digital  or paper then Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges or investigations
Bursar
Contracts of employment
 
7 years from effective date of end of contract.
Staff PF – either digital, scanned then Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations.
HR Manager
DBS
Disclosure certificates (if held)
DBS Code of Practice
No longer than 6 months from decision on recruitment, unless DBS specifically consulted - but record of checks being made must be kept
Staff PF then securely destroy
HR
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations
HR Manager
Deeds
(or contracts under seal)
 
13 years from completion of contractual obligation or term of agreement
Paper to Secure Archive
Bursary
Legal challenges
PA to the Bursar
Employee appraisals
or reviews
 
Duration of employment plus minimum of 7 years
Staff PF – either digital,  or paper to Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations.
HR Manager
Employment Health Questionnaire
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
During employment plus 7 years
Staff PF – either digital,  or paper to Secure Archive
HR
Legal requirement
HR Manager
Examination results
(external or internal)
 
25 years date of birth
Digital
MIS
Legal or references
MIS Manager
Governors' meetings Minutes
 
Permanent 
Paper or scan to Secure Archive
Bursary
Historical records
Bursar
Health records
relating to employees
 
7 years from end of contract of employment.
Staff PF – either digital,  or paper to Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges, litigation
HR Manager
Health and Medical Records
Relating to pupils
 
25 years from DOB (subject to any relevant safeguarding issues). Any material which may be relevant to potential claims should be kept for the lifetime of the pupil.
Scan direct entry into PASS to Secure Archive
Medical
Legal challenges, litigation 
Lead Nurse
Health surveillance
and air monitoring and/or biological monitoring.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
7 years
Digital scan
Estates
Legal challenges, litigation
Estates Manger
Health surveillance
Any Individual medical records
 
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
40 years in respect of specific individuals.
Digital scan to PF then Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges, litigation
HR Manager
Ionizing Radiation Records
 
50 years after last entry
Digital to Secure Archive
Estates
Ionizing Radiations
Estates Manager
Immigration records of staff
 
7 years from end of contract of employment
Paper or scan to PF
HR
Investigations
HR Manager
Insurance policies
 
Duration of policy (or as required by policy) plus until it is possible to calculate that no living person could make a claim
Paper or scan to Secure Archive
Bursary
Legal challenges, litigation
Assistant Bursar
Insurance correspondence
related to claims/ renewals/ notification.
 
 
Minimum -  7 years
Digital
Bursary
Legal challenges, litigation
Assistant Bursar
Intellectual property - Assignments of to or from the school
 
As above in relation to contracts (7 years) or, where applicable, deeds (13 years)
Digital
Bursary
Legal challenges
Bursar
Internal investigations
against staff
 
Minimum of 25 years. Extension to be reviewed by Headmaster and Bursar
Staff PF – either digital, or paper then Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges or investigations.
HR Manager
IT/IP agreements
including software licences and ancillary agreements e.g. maintenance; storage; development; co-existence agreements; consents
 
7 years from completion of contractual obligation concerned or term of agreement
 
Digital or paper
IT
Legal challenges
IT Manager
Learning Support files
to be risk assessed individually
 
Date of birth plus up to 35 years (allowing for special extensions to statutory limitation period)
Direct Entry to PASS to Secure Archive
MIS
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations.
MIS Manager
Maintenance records of plant
 
10 years from date of last entry
Paper or scan
Estates
Legal challenges, litigation
Estates Manager
Occupational Health Records - health surveillance and medical records relating to risk assessments or incidents occurring at work
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs 1999 Noise at Work Regs 1989
Perpetuity
NOTE: Limitation period for personal injury claims is three years after the condition become known
Digital scan to PF to Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges
HR Manager
Occupational Health Records where reason for termination of employment is connected with health, including stress related illness
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs 1999 Noise at Work Regs 1989
Perpetuity
NOTE: Limitation period for personal injury claims is three years after the condition become known
Digital scan to PF to Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges
HR Manager
Open Morning/ Evening Contact details
(Pupils, parents addresses etc.)
 
1 year. Data from these forms must be entered onto PASS. All paper copies must be securely destroyed within 1 month of receipt
If pupil not admitted within 5 years, all digital data held on PASS must be destroyed.
PASS
School Admissions
Aid admission process
School Admissions Officers
Payroll
salary, maternity pay records
Statutory Maternity Pay (General) Regulations 1986 (SI 1986/1960), revised 1999 (SI 1999/567)
10 years
 
Digital
HR
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations.
HR Manager
Pensions
or other benefit schedule records
 
Permanent
Digital to Secure Archive
HR
Pensions payments
HR Manager
Prospectus or admission requests
 
5 years from enquiry.
PASS
Admissions
Aid admissions process
School Admissions Officers
Pupil files (Admitted)
  • Pupil reports
  • Pupil performance records
  • Admission application form
  • Assessment of admission
  • Record of admission decision
Any important or significant parent correspondence
Limitation Act 1980
35 years from DOB (subject where relevant to safeguarding considerations). Any material which may be relevant to potential claims should be kept for the lifetime of the pupil
PASS and paper file to Secure Archive
MIS
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations
MIS Manager
Pupil files (not admitted after application)
  • Admission application form
  • Assessment of admission
  • Record of admission decision
  • Any important or significant parent correspondence
 
10 years from decision. This can reduce to 5 if there is no potential for younger sibling applications
Digital scan to PASS to Secure Archive
Admissions
Legal challenges or investigations
School Admissions Officers
Recruitment of staff
Job application and interview/rejection records and interview notes (unsuccessful applicants)
 
Interview plus 6 months but no longer than 1 year. All such records and interview notes MUST be returned to HR IMMEDIATELY after selection
Paper
HR
Feedback to applicants. Time limits on litigation
HR Manager
Redundancies:
Facts of case: Where less than 20 redundancies
 
7 years from the date of redundancy
Digital scan to PF
HR
Time limits on litigation
HR Manager
Redundancies:
Facts of case: Where 20 or more redundancies
 
12 years from the date of the redundancies
Digital scan to PF
HR
Limitation Act 1980
HR Manager
Registration documents of Schools
 
Permanent
Scanned to Secure Archive
Bursary
Legal
Bursar
Risk assessments
for Occupational Health matters.
 
7 years from completion of relevant project, incident, event or activity.
Scanned
Estates
Legal challenges, litigation
Health and Safety Officer
Safeguarding
Policies and Procedures
 
Keep a permanent record of historic policies.
Digital to Secure Archive
Safeguarding
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations.
School DSLs
Safeguarding
Incident reporting
 
Keep record for as long as any living victim may bring a claim (NB civil claim limitation periods can be set aside in cases of abuse). Files to be reviewed every five years by Bursar and DSP.
Secure Digital storage to Secure Archive
Safeguarding
 
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations.
School DSLs
Staff File (including appraisals and reviews)
 
Duration of employment plus a minimum of 10 years. No information to be deleted relevant to safeguarding
Digital scan to PF to Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenge or enquiries
HR Manager
Staff Discipline
Oral/verbal warning - brief note on file (subject to satisfactory conduct and performance)
 
6 months on open file then kept but disregarded
Digital scan to PF
HR
In accordance with College Procedures
HR Manager
Staff Discipline Written warning - including notes of disciplinary hearings kept on file (subject to satisfactory conduct and performance).
 
1 to 2 years on open file depending on level of warning, then kept but disregarded
Digital scan to PF
HR
In accordance with College Procedures.
HR Manager
Staff Grievance hearing documentation relating (notes, reports etc.)
 
 
2 years. NOTE: Grievance Committee members must hand in all paperwork at the end of a meeting/hearing to avoid retention of duplicate documents. Any digital copies must also be removed from their PC’s
Digital scan to PF
HR
Allows for appropriate appeal mechanism and monitoring future grievances
HR Manager
Staff disciplinary
meeting Minutes
 
Minimum of 25 years. Extension to be reviewed by Headmaster and Bursar.
Digital scan to PF to Secure Archive
HR
Legal challenges or invest.
HR Manager
Staff personnel file
Only be retained by the HR Department
 
In perpetuity.
P Files can be weeded after 10 years so they only contain facts of employment (dates of appointments, positions held etc.
Digital scan or paper to Secure Archive
HR
To provide references and confirmation employment. Legal challenges, litigation or investigations
HR Manager
Staff use of hazardous substances
 
7 years from end of date of use.
Digital
Estates
Legal challenges, litigation
Estates Manager
Tax returns
 
7 years from the end of the financial year.
Paper
Finance
Legal
Finance Manager
Titles - formal documents of (trade mark or registered design certificates; patent or utility model certificates)
 
Permanent (in the case of any right which can be permanently extended, e.g. trade marks); otherwise expiry of right plus minimum of 7 years.
Paper to Secure Archive
Bursary
Legal challenges
Bursar
UK Visa
Home Office records
 
25 years from DOB (subject where relevant to safeguarding considerations). Any material which may be relevant to potential claims should be kept for the lifetime of the pupil.
Digital to Secure Archive
Headmaster
Legal challenges, litigation or investigations
PA to Headmaster
VAT returns
 
7 years from the end of the financial year.
Paper or digital
Finance
Legal
Finance Manager

Sources include: IBSA, College practice, ICO