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!!


    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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