How long does a UK business need to keep paper and digital records?

Every UK company will hold some form of confidential, sensitive information within their organisation. It could be financial information; it could be information they hold on their staff including private home addresses.

UK laws require that your company keeps such documents and data secure and you could be open to legal issues if you do not comply with these laws. These laws also state of how and when this data should be disposed of. This data could be on paper or it could be on physical disks and hard drives.

As a company owner (or responsible director) you are probably aware you must retain this data as part of the data protection law, but do you know for how long; what the retention period is for different types of documentation?

And do you know the financial risks involved if you do not adhere to these laws?

Not only should you be keeping tax and expense account documents for up to six years from the end of your tax year, but did you know you should keep CVs and interview notes for up to six months – just in case there is a discrimination case? And, you must make sure you adhere to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations).

Some of the important mandatory retention periods are:

  • Bank records; including but not limited to statements, counterfoils and cheque stubs – six years
  • Expense accounts – seven years
  • Employee records; including but not limited to payroll records, sick pay records and income tax records – six years

It is your responsible to ensure your company understands and abides by the laws on data retention and Total Shred always recommends you speak with your legal team. You will also find lots of information on the Government’s website.

You may already have one of the best in-house systems for keeping on top of these retention periods, but what do you need to do when a document comes to its “end-of-life”. These documents may be secure and private; but it is essential that you, as the business owner or director, ensures the safe disposal of these documents. Even once these confidential documents are no longer needed, security should still be maintained.

Whilst you may have a staff member that can sit in front of a shredder; confidential documents are not then stored securely for a time, is removing that member of staff from potential fee-earning tasks and is actually very boring!

Outsourcing shredding is the most cost effective, secure and timely way of ensuring the continued security of your confidential information. You can engage on-site shredding services to guarantee that not only do your documents retain secure, but they are shredded professionally and sufficiently enough to prevent reconstruction. And, to keep it green, this shred is recycled.

So rather than risk a heavy duty fine, contact Total Shred for a no-obligation quotation for on-site shredding of paper documentation and hard drive/disk destruction using our mobile shredding vehicles.

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