What is a Records Retention Schedule?

A Records Retention Schedule is an essential component of an efficient and effective records management system. A properly implemented and consistently applied Records Retention Schedule protects the interests of the organisation and its stakeholders by ensuring business records are kept for as long as they are needed to meet operational needs and to comply with legal requirements, and are then disposed of securely.

How does it work?

A Records Retention schedule works by applying a series of trigger points at which a decision or action has to be undertaken. The decision or action that needs to be taken is guided by legislation and business good practice.

A Records Retention Schedule consists of the following elements:

Description of the record

For each business activity the retention schedule includes a brief description of the records covered.

Retention period

Statutory retention periods are indicated by a citation. These should be regarded as minimum retention periods. For business reasons, it may be advisable to retain some records for longer than these statutory retention periods.

All other retention periods are recommended minimum periods, based on assessments of common HEI business needs and potential legal liabilities.


Citations are given for key Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments and regulations which are relevant to determining retention periods for the groups of records concerned.


Further Information

For further information please see the Records Management page or contact Rebecca Short, Senior Records Manager, at [email protected] or +44 (0)20 3506 9789.