Document retention policy


Hockliffe Parish Council has adopted a Document Retention and Disposals Policy to provide information about its process of retaining and disposing of records and documents that it keeps physically or electronically.

This policy applies to all records and documents created, received or maintained by the Parish Council in the course of carrying out its functions. Records and documents are defined as physical or electronic pieces of information that are created, received or maintained by the Parish Council in the course of its duties that provide evidence of its decisions, activities and transactions.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Parish Council is required to maintain a retention schedule listing the records which it retains in the course of its business and the process for deleting or destroying records when they are no longer needed.

The table below indicates the record type, minimum retention period and reasons for retention. The Parish Council is aware that some of its records have historical value and it seeks to keep these documents indefinitely or, where this might not be possible or advisable, to offer these documents to the Bedfordshire County Record Office or other appropriate bodies.


Retention of documents required for audit of Parish Councils.

Disposal procedures for records and documents.

1. The Parish Clerk will obtain the formal approval of the Parish Council before records of a sensitive or confidential nature are deleted or destroyed.

2. All physical documents that are sensitive, confidential or refer to individuals, and are no longer required for administrative reasons, will be shredded or otherwise destroyed before disposal.

DocumentMinimum Retention PeriodReason
Declaration of AcceptanceMember’s Term of OfficeLegal, Management
Members Register of InterestsMember’s Term of OfficeLegal, Management
Members allowances register6 yearsTax, Statute of Limitations
Minute BooksIndefiniteArchive
Planning applications and related papersNot retained by us. Planning applications and relevant decisions are available on the Central Bedfordshire Council Website. All Parish Council decisions in relation to application are recorded in the Minutes.Management
Contracts, and other agreements of a financial nature6 yearsAudit, Management
Quotations and tenders12 years/indefiniteStatute of Limitations
Important correspondence relating to decisions, transactions and activities1 yearManagement
General Information (including invitations, lobbying, promotional material)No minimumManagement
Routine correspondence and emails3 monthsManagement
Complaints1 yearManagement
Scales of fees and charges5 yearsManagement
Annual AccountsIndefiniteArchive
Annual ReturnsIndefiniteArchive
Receipt and payment account(s)IndefiniteArchive
Receipt books of all kinds6 yearsVAT
Bank statements, including deposit/savings accountsLast completed audit yearAudit
Bank paying-in booksLast completed audit yearAudit
Cheque book stubsLast completed audit yearAudit
Paid invoices6 yearsVAT
Paid cheques
6 yearsStatute of Limitations
VAT Records6 yearsVAT
Petty cash, postage and telephone books6 yearsTax, VAT, Statute of Limitations
TimesheetsLast completed audit yearAudit
Salary Records12 yearsSuperannuation
Income Tax & NI records3 yearsAudit
Insurance policiesWhile ValidManagement
Certificates for Insurance against liability for employeesWhile ValidThe Employers’ Liability
(Compulsory Insurance) Regulations 1998 (SI. 2753), Management
InvestmentsIndefiniteAudit, Management
Assets RegisterIndefiniteAudit, Legal
Title deeds, leases, agreements, contractsIndefiniteAudit, Management
For Allotments
- register and plansIndefiniteAudit, Management
For Burial Grounds
- register of fees collected
- register of burials
- register of purchased graves
- register/plan of grave spaces
- register of memorials
- applications for interment
- applications for right to erect memorials
- disposal certificates
- copy certificates of grant of exclusive right of burial
IndefiniteArchives, The Local Authorities' Cemeteries Order 1977 (SI. 204)
For Halls, Centre, Recreation Grounds
- application to hire
- lettings diaries
- copies of bills to hires
- record of tickets issued
6 yearsVAT

Retention of documents for legal purposes

Most legal proceedings are governed by the 'Limitation Acts’.
CategoryLimitation Period
Breach of TrustNone
Contract6 years
Defamation1 year
Leases12 years
Negligence (and other ‘Torts’)6 years
Personal Injury3 years
Rent6 years
Sums recoverable by statute6 years
To Recover Land12 years

Reviewed by Council on 11th March 2024
Next review date – March 2025