Disposing of records

Understanding what information to keep and disposing of information that is no longer needed is an important part of effective information management. In fact disposal is something that you are required to do under legislation such as the Public Records Act and Data Protection Act. The Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the management of records, s12 states that:

However, disposal must be done responsibly through a clear understanding of:

  • an organisation’s business functions
  • the value of the information to the business
  • legislative retention requirements including information of historical value under the Public Records Act
  • the technology that supports the information

We have produced step-by-step guidance to help you through this process.

Authorities should define how long they need to keep particular records, should dispose of them when they are no longer needed and should be able to explain why records are no longer held.

The planned disposal of paper information is a normal part of government life but this is not yet fully embedded for digital information.

What does your organisation do? You should start with a clear understanding of exactly what your organisation does.

All actions in managing your information should be based on an understanding of the value that information brings to your organisation.

There are a number of actions you should take to ensure that disposal takes place.

Information should be retained only as long as it is needed for business, legal or historical purposes and a retention policy needs to be devised and applied to all information held.

This checklist lists tasks along with useful tips and the things to bear in mind.

This section lists the pros and cons of three methods, along with useful tips.