Document/record retention

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    Anyone have any idea how long we should keep benefit claim records for? Do they need to be destroyed after a particular length of time?


    Isn’t it 6 years?

    Kevin D

    Take a look at HBRs 108 to 112 (particularly HBR 110 & HBR 111(b)).

    In my view, an “appropriate” period is 6 yrs. That time span is consistent with the Limitations Act and general accountancy practice (&, I think, Tax requirements?).


    Julian Hobson

    Agree with Kevin – the only caveat being where the claim is unsuccessful. We shouldn’t keep those any longer than required and i suggest the december following the financial year in which the decision was made allows for any audit that might include them.

    I’d appreciate views on this – I have had two requests to delete details, from unsuccessful claimants. I have refused and given my reasons with an assurance that come December 2007 I will do it.


    Would it depend on exactly what you, as the LA, are doing? My thoughts relate to recovery of debtors etc and so I think retention of docs. in this case should be determined by recovery action. On a new defective claim, for example, I think that keeping for a financial year and a little bit extra would be adequate, as long as there aren’t any older outstanding issues on any files.

    Ready to be shot down in flames!!

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................


    Resurrecting this topic as I’m trying to write a local policy on deleting documents and data relating to “dead” claims. Our legal department’s view is that we should delete/destroy data as soon as possible after it ceases to be held for the reason we gathered it, that being to assess entitlement to HB/CTB. I am told by our finance department that HMRC’s 6-year rule doesn’t apply to the kind of data we hold.

    Having poked around on the Information Commissioner’s website, it appears that DWP’s policy is to destroy documents & data 14 months after the end of a welfare benefit claim, which is based on a 13-month appeal deadline – clearly they don’t adhere to the 6-year rule.

    Internally, the restrictions on keeping documents and data relating to seem to be:
    a) 5 years from the date of a proven or admitted fraud;
    b) 6 years from the date of an overpayment (or from the date of the last contact with a debtor, if later);
    c) until the subsidy claim for the year in question is fully settled.

    The last of these obviously applies to every claim which ended in the financial year in question; the first two to individual claims.

    I am therefore swaying towards a policy which says to keep all data & documents for fraud or overpayment cases for 5/6 years respectively, and all data & documents for every other case until the settlement of the subsidy claim for the financial year in which they ended.

    Would appreciate knowing others’ thoughts on this – also whether anyone believes there to be a difference between copies of customers’ documents stored electronically and user-generated data based on the information in those documents (ie a scanned wageslip vs. a database entry showing the customer’s earned income)…

    Ozzies Mate

    Does that mean that if you have them electronically stored & have kept certain paper copies & then wish to delete data for a claim that had been running say for 2 years then you would have to locate all paper copies from storage to be destroyed individually?


    Hi ,

    Have you got the deletion policy in place ? could you please help as i am trying to write a retention and Deletion policy for our HB document

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