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Children's Services retention schedule

Version 11, adopted Mar 2022, expires end Mar 2023. A pdf version of this retention schedule, including full version history, is held in the EDRM retention schedules folder.


See an explanation of the 6+ Rule and all other standard disposition codes.

Important note: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

In July 2015, all local authorities in England and Wales received a letter from the Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), ordering the retention of any documents of relevance to the Inquiry. The letter acknowledged that it was “not yet clear” which local authority records would be required as evidence, but ordered a “thorough search” of both digital and paper records, to ensure that “everything of potential relevance to the Inquiry is retained”. Although an appendix to the letter gave some useful examples of records that might be needed by the Inquiry, it was not a comprehensive list.

The initial response of Derbyshire County Council's Records Management service was to re-issue retention schedules marked with instructions to suspend most destruction activity until further notice. However, the council had not been ordered to retain all records forever, only those of relevance – so the next action was to assess the risk of accidentally destroying something which the Inquiry would later ask to see. The resultant risk assessment has been submitted to IICSA, and acknowledged without objection. In July 2019, this document was reviewed, with no changes affecting Children’s Services.

The order is still in force. In 2018,IICSA issued a guidance note on records retention reaffirming that “[t]he obligation to the Inquiry to retain documents will remain throughout its duration”, and an interim report committing the Inquiry to considering “whether it can recommend [record keeping] changes that would particularly benefit victims and survivors of child sexual abuse”. In November 2021, IICSA added that “the requirement to retain records is now more easily defined; institutions must at least retain information that falls within the scope of the Inquiry’s 15 investigations”.

Of the 15 investigations:

  • 5 relate to specific geographical areas outside Derbyshire
  • 1 relates to a named individual not connected to the council, Lord Janner
  • 5 relate to institutions outside the local government sector
  • Accountability and reparations
  • Child sexual exploitations by organised networks
  • Effective Child Protection leadership
  • Abuse and exploitation facilitated by the internet

This was a welcome clarification of the order. However, these themes are very broad, so no change in practice is justified. Where a rule is marked “DO NOT DESTROY until IICSA has given permission”, please retain the affected records. The order is still in force.

The 6 Plus Rule and other standard retention periods

For simplicity, Derbyshire County Council has a default rule for records, known as the 6+ Rule. It means: destroy six years from the end of the financial year in which the record was last modified. This aligns with the right to launch certain types of claim under the Limitation Act 1980. In systems which use calendar rather than financial years, retention should be rounded up to 7 years.

Where the 6 Plus Rule is not appropriate, other standard retention periods are available:

  • DOB+25: Destroy 25 years after date of birth – useful for records relating to minors, who may possibly launch a legal claim on reaching maturity
  • DOB+100: Destroy 100 years after birth – approximately, lifelong retention
  • CASE+25: Destroy 25 years after entire case is closed
  • CASE+6: Destroy 6 years after entire case is closed
  • ACTION+15: Destroy 15 years after last action, use or modification
  • ACTION+25: Destroy 25 years after last action, use or modification
  • ACTION+50: Destroy 50 years after last action, use or modification
  • ACTION+75: Destroy 75 years after last action, use or modification
  • ACTION+100: Destroy 75 years after last action, use or modification
  • TERMS+6: Destroy 6 years after expiry of terms of e.g. ordinary contract
  • TERMS+12: Destroy 12 years after expiry of e.g. sealed contract
  • PERM: Offer to Derbyshire Record Office when no longer required
  • D<1: Destroy within one year, e.g. transient data awaiting final deletion

Child protection (safeguarding) records

CHILD 1.01: Individual case assessment, investigation and management of children involved in child protection. Covers records of: (a) investigations under S.47 of the Children’s Act 1989, leading to a conference and Child Protection Plan; (b) investigations terminated without a conference; (c) investigations leading to a conference but no Child Protection Plan; (d) any other safeguarding concerns

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: Action+100 if subject to a Child Protection Plan (formerly Child Protection Register); Action+75 in other cases. Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Strategy discussion / meeting notes
  • S.47 pro-forma, assessment pro-forma, etc.
  • Notifications relating to people who pose a risk of harm to children (“Schedule 1 Offenders”)
  • DV notifications
  • Child protection concerns shared from third parties

Rationale: Common practice and business need

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 1.02: Managing allegations that practitioners working with children may have caused harm to a child (Local Authority Designated Officer)

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: Action+75. Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • All documents relating to process, including LADO minutes,
  • LADO Strategy discussion/meeting minutes

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

Children in care, adoption and children in need records

CHILD 2.01: Individual case management of children looked after by the local authority. This includes children and young people: (a) in children’s homes (see 2015 regulations for full requirements); (b) fostered; (c) subject to court orders: child arrangement, supervision, residence, guardianship

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: DOB+100 Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Young person being looked after file
  • Looked after child client files
  • Guardian file. (For private fostering, see CHILD 2.06)

Rationale: Business need, exceeding minimum requirements of statutory basis: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 No. 959, Regulation 49; Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 2.02: Process involved in adopting a child including the case management of the adopted child

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: ACTION+100 Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Minutes and recorded decisions of adoption panels,
  • Adoption files.

Statutory basis (The Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005 No. 888.

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 2.03.1: Process involved in checking the suitability of people who have become adoptive parents

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: ACTION+100. Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Adoptive parent counselling files
  • Approved adopters

Rationale: Statutory basis (The Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005 No. 888)

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 2.03.2: Process involved in checking the suitability of people who have become foster carers

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: ACTION+75

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Foster carer files

Rationale: Statutory basis (The Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005 No. 888)

Fostering Regs (England)

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 2.04.1: Process involved in checking the suitability of prospective adopters who did not go on to full approval

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: ACTION+15

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Stage 1 assessment
  • Enquiry forms

Statutory basis (The Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005 No. 888)

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 2.04.2: Process involved in checking the suitability of prospective foster carers who did not go on to full approval

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: 6+

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Foster carer files
  • Form F
  • Stage 1 assessment
  • Enquiry forms

Rationale: Statutory basis (Foster Placement (Children) Regulations Statutory Instrument 1991, No. 910)

CHILD 2.05: Process involving individual case management of families or adults who have fostered children in their care

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: CASE+25 (closure point: carer ceases to foster)

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Foster carer files
  • Supported lodging files

Rationale: Common practice; Statutory basis (The Fostering Services Regulations 2002 No. 57)

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 2.06: Process involving children in need who have not been adopted or looked after and who have not been the subject of a child protection inquiry or plan

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: CASE+25 (closure point: no further action decision made)

Example(s):

  • Single Assessment, Family Assessment
  • Privately fostered children’s files
  • Records of interviews
  • Reports

Rationale: Common practice; Statutory basis (The Limitations Act 1980)

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

Early help records

CHILD 3.01: Individual case management of services or support to children and young people who have not met children in need thresholds, not been adopted or looked after and who have not been the subject of a child protection inquiry or plan

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: CASE+25 (closure point: no further action decision made)

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Assessment materials
  • Records of interviews
  • Reports
  • Multi-Agency Team single-focus plans
  • Team Around the Family plans

Rationale: Common practice and statutory basis (The Limitations Act 1980)

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 3.02: Number not used

Universal services or non-targeted services

CHILD 4.01: Processes involving administration and provision of universal or non-targeted services

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter: Disposition: 6+. Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Children centre records recording attendance at activities not related to targeted services
  • Registration details of parents carers not receiving targeted services

Rationale: Common practice

Statutory basis (The Limitations Act 1980)

Primary storage location: EH and Safeguarding Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

CHILD 5.01: Process involved in assessing and providing individual support for children who have need of special education support

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter: Disposition: DOB+35

Example(s):

  • SEND files
  • EHCPs

See also CHILD 9.05

Rationale: Common practice

Statutory basis (The Limitations Act 1980)

Primary storage location: Youth Services case management system

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

Educational psychology

CHILD 6.01: Process involved in assessing and providing individual support for children requiring educational psychology support

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter: Disposition: DOB+35. Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Educational psychology file

Rationale: Common practice; Statutory basis (The Limitations Act 1980)

Primary storage location: CS Education Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

CHILD 6.02: Process of studying video recordings of children interacting with parents / guardians / carers for educational psychology purposes

Disposition: D<1 (destroy 2 months from closure)

Examples:

  • Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) recordings (See DCC Confidentiality Statement for VIG)

Rationale: Business Requirement

Primary storage location: Secure network folder

Education case management records for children and families

CHILD 7.01: Process involving individual case management in the provision of support by the local authority to children young people and families

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter: Disposition: DOB+35 (unless child has been in care or has had SEND involvement in which case follow retention rules that apply to those records). Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Assessment materials
  • Records of interviews
  • Reports
  • Behaviour Support Service case files
  • Pupil absence penalty notices
  • Children Missing from Education records
  • Central pupil list on case management system

Rationale: Common practice; statutory basis (The Limitations Act 1980)

Primary storage location: CS EH and Safeguarding Case Management System, Education Case Management System

Other storage location: Offsite Storage, Secure network folder

Admissions and exclusions (schools, pupil referral units, etc.)

CHILD 8.01: Case files (including appeals)

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter: Disposition: DOB+25 (unless child has been in care, on Child Protection Plan, or has had SEND involvement in which case follow retention rules that apply to those records)

Example(s):

  • Appeal files
  • Exclusion files

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Education Case Management System

Other storage location: Secure network folder

CHILD 8.02: School admissions transfer and admission application forms

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter: Disposition: 6+

Example(s):

  • Application forms

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Secure network folder

Programme management and development

CHILD 9.01: Process involved in development of services or programmes for children

Disposition: 6+

Example(s):

  • Annual Plan
  • District Plans
  • Pupil Referral Unit Development Plans
  • Service Development Plans
  • Education Improvement Service records

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Secure network folder

CHILD 9.02: Process involved in provision of services or programmes to support the development of children and young people

Disposition: 6+

Example(s):

  • Sufficiency Strategy
  • Reports to Corporate Parents

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Secure network folder

CHILD 9.03: Number not used

CHILD 9.04: Process that assesses risks for home to school transport

Disposition: 6+

For SEND pupils, see CHILD 9.05

Example(s):

  • Application forms
  • Reports of routes
  • Correspondence

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Secure network folder

CHILD 9.05: Process that assesses risks for home to school transport of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Disposition: ACTION+25

Example(s):

  • Application forms
  • Reports of routes
  • Correspondence

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Secure network folder

Curriculum development

CHILD 10.01: Developing the curriculum

Disposition: 6+

Example(s): Curriculum Development Plan

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Secure network folder

CHILD 10.02: number not used (see SCH 5.3)

CHILD 10.03: Process to record daily events in schools or pupil referral units

Disposition: PERM

Example(s):

  • Log books

Rationale: Common practice    

CHILD 10.04: Process to record admission to schools or pupil referral units

Disposition: PERM

Example(s):

  • Admissions registers

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Pupil Management Information System

Other storage location: Secure network folder, Secure cabinet or room at establishment, Offsite storage

CHILD 10.05: number not used

CHILD 10.06: Pupil files

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: DOB+25

Example(s):

  • Pupil record cards
  • Daily records
  • Baseline assessments
  • Early intervention
  • Evaluations of placements

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to pupil management information system

Rationale: Common practice and Statutory basis (The Limitations Act 1980)

Primary storage location: Pupil Management Information System

Other storage location: Secure network folder, Secure cabinet or room at establishment, Offsite storage

CHILD 10.07: number not used

CHILD 10.08: The process to register the provision of a school service

Disposition: 6+

Example(s):

  • School meal register,
  • SMINC statistics

Rationale: Common practice

Primary storage location: Pupil Management Information System

Other storage location: Secure network folder, Secure cabinet or room at establishment, Offsite storage

Examination results

CHILD 11.01: Recording of public examination results

Disposition: 6+

Example(s):

  • SATS, GCSE, Adult Education course results

Rationale: Common practice

Note: Return unclaimed examination certificates to appropriate examination board

Primary storage location: Pupil Management Information System

Other storage location: Secure network folder, Secure cabinet or room at establishment, Offsite storage

CHILD 11.02: Number not used

Residential homes

CHILD 12.01: Summary management systems that manage children housed by the local authority

Disposition: PERM

Example(s):

  • Children’s home registers
  • Admissions register
  • Discharge register
  • Significant events register
  • Policy and procedures
  • Mission statements
  • Inspection reports
  • Formal meeting minutes

“Formal meeting minutes” means a formal record of meetings discussing issues relating to the operation of the home, including the children, staff, management, health and safety and the building itself. It is expected that:

Actions relating to an individual child will be recorded on that child's case file (see CHILD 2.01).

Staff supervision including annual leave arrangements will be recorded in a supervision file, kept for 7 years from closure (see HR 7.01\).

Pertinent information or evidence will be transferred from any records of daily handover discussions or other informal meeting to the relevant case management system or file.

Minutes of meetings which do not meet any of the criteria and are not needed for business or compliance purposes may be treated as team/unit minutes, kept for 3 years after the meeting (see section MA 2.1.3).

Rationale: Common practice. Exceeds minimum requirement of statutory basis (Children’s Homes Regulations 2015)

Primary storage location: Secure network folder, Secure cabinet or room at establishment, Offsite storage

CHILD 12.02: Operational records of residential homes for children

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter: ACTION+25

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s): Records of

  • administration of medicines
  • children's valuables / money
  • punishment / restorative actions
  • daily log / diary
  • visitors
  • staff duty rosters
  • fire drills
  • accounts
  • accidents

Rationale: Common practice; to cover 18th birthday of youngest resident plus 7 years (Limitations Act 1980). This exceeds the 15-year minimum requirement of the Children’s Homes Regulations 2015

Primary storage location: Secure network folder, Secure cabinet or room at establishment, Offsite storage

Youth offending records

CHILD 13.01: Records relating to case management of young people at risk of being involved or involved in criminal justice process

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: DOB+25

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Rationale: Statutory basis (Limitations Act 1980); Guidance (Youth Justice Board national standards 2009 & Youth Justice Board Case Management Guidance 2010)

Primary storage location: Youth Offending case management system, Secure network folder

Other storage location: Offsite storage

CHILD 13.02: Records relating to case management of young people who are subject to a supervision order or licence

Do not destroy until IICSA has given permission. Thereafter:

Disposition: DOB+25

Paper notes can still be destroyed as usual after the information has been transferred to case management system.

Example(s):

  • Supervision orders

Rationale: Statutory basis (Limitations Act 1980); Guidance (Youth Justice Board national standards 2009 & Youth Justice Board Case Management Guidance 2010)

Primary storage location: Youth Offending case management system, Secure network folder

Other storage location: Offsite storage