Retention, Archiving and Secure Disposal of Documents

All offices within Finance should review regularly all the files and records they hold, confirming what data needs to be kept (and for how long), and what can be destroyed, to make way for the next set of data. This applies to all data formats, print or electronic. Electronic data includes that held in Oracle, on desk top, tablet and laptop computers (C drive), P or G drives, CD’s, DVD’s, memory sticks, floppy discs, iPhones or as part of e-mails.

A few key points to bear in mind are that:

  • Information needs to be found efficiently so it should be properly labelled and stored in a logical and secure filing system;
  • It should be clear which is the latest version of the data and duplicate versions should be avoided;
  • Records should be securely deleted when they are no longer required.

Staff should be aware of the University’s Retention Schedule. This is an advisory document, created and maintained by the Records Management Office, which suggests time frames for keeping a wide range of University documents, from student records, to health and safety management. If the document you are looking for does not appear on the schedule, or you require information on the archiving of documents please contact the Records Management Office for advice and guidance.

HR Services have produced a guide for managers on the retention of any records they hold which concern members of staff, for example records of annual leave, and records held which concern other individuals such as job applicants. If you need further advice on this schedule, please contact HR services.

If you no longer need to keep documents that contain personal data, please ensure they are disposed of securely. Finance has a Shred-it console and a cross-cut shredding machine for the secure disposal of paper documents, located on the mezzanine floor outside Room MLG.008 (near the Procurement Office). Please note that the “blue bag” recycling bags are NOT a secure method for disposal of confidential documents.

IT Services can advise on the secure disposal of electronic devices, hard drives, external storage devices etc. Old computers, both laptops and desktops, may have recoverable data on them even if all files have apparently been deleted, so must be disposed of using the University’s official contractor. All laptops must be encrypted. When PCs and printers are no longer fit for purpose they are wiped and passed on to an external company for disposal. IT Services will collect PCs, printers and associated equipment, please contact them at (0)161 306 5544. Further information is available in the IT Services page.

Contacts are available for further assistance.


There is detailed information on all the above topics on the University website:

Paper records that contain confidential or personal data must be disposed of either by shredding or by making arrangements through Shred-it, the University’s approved supplier of shredding services. Please note that the “blue-bag” collection service is not a secure method for disposal of confidential waste. Examples of data which require secure disposal can be found in this document.

The University’s Information Governance Office oversees the retention, storage and management of University data, and their website includes more detailed policies and guidance.

While data protection is a continual process, it may be helpful to have a regular “spring clean” of stored data to ensure that there is no build-up of information that is no longer required and can now be disposed of.

Contact us