Current practices regarding retention of records must be adapted for the duration of this Inquiry to ensure that information which may assist the Inquiry is not destroyed.
The general position is to retain staff records for 6 years after employment ends. For the duration of the Inquiry, records should not be destroyed at this time if they contain any reference to safeguarding concerns or allegations, including unsubstantiated allegations or where no action was taken.
The general position is to retain pupil records until former pupils reach the age of 25. For the duration of the Inquiry, records should not be destroyed at this time if they contain any allegations of safeguarding concerns. In reality the task of reviewing all pupil records before destroying to ascertain whether they contain information which may assist the Inquiry could be so significant that it may be an unwieldy administrative task. Given that files are being retained for the purposes of cooperating with the Inquiry, it is unlikely that Schools would be criticised for retaining all pupil files for the duration of the Inquiry, provided they are kept in locked storage or in computer files with secure access. This should be kept under review to ensure that data is not retained for longer than is necessary and schools must revert to normal data protection principles once the Inquiry has concluded.
Any other documents that relate to safeguarding should be retained as they may assist the Inquiry.
- The Inquiry effectively “trumps” data protection law
- Schools must retain any records that may be necessary to assist the Inquiry, even if they would usually be destroyed in compliance with data protection principles
- The Inquiry have issued advice: www.iicsa.org.uk/sites/default/files/retention-instructions-and-data-protection-requirements.pdf
If you have any queries relating to this please contact Emilie Darwin.