Do I need to keep this information?
This is a question we’re often asked in the Governance office! Here are some general pointers. If in doubt you can always
contact the Information Manager for advice. We
also recommend the JISC
guide to managing information.
Is it on the retention schedule?
Check the relevant
retention schedule for your department or section. If an
item is on the schedule you probably need to keep it.
Is it the only copy?
Some of us still distrust electronic storage. You may keep
something electronically and also in paper form. Either is
fine, but it should be one or the other. This is very much
related to the next question!
Are you the only person holding a copy?
For many documents you are probably holding one of many
copies. The master set will be held elsewhere and as long as
you don’t need a copy for ongoing work you may be able to
reply on the master set. So papers for all the main
committees are held permanently by the committee secretary.
Most of them are also published on the
committees web pages. If the document is from another
organisation then check their website to see if it’s online
there instead of holding your own copy.
Is it the final version of a document?
Documents often go through many drafts on their way to
becoming a finished product. Once the final version has been
approved – be that of minutes, a policy, a leaflet or a web
page – you probably don’t need to keep the
drafts, especially if you weren’t directly responsible
for creating the item.
Is it the most recent version of a
This is subtly different from the previous question! Most
documents should be updated from time to time. You may not
need to keep old copies. Exceptions will be for policies
that are still relevant for existing students, even though
new students might be subject to an amended policy. You
might need to keep a set of superseded items to refer back
to, but you probably don’t need to keep multiple copies.
Did you print it from the internet?
It isn’t easy to read documents on the internet, but
printing them off and filing them for reference is not a
good idea. You will end up relying on your printed version
and not knowing whether it has been update or superseded.
It’s best to bookmark the page online or add it to your
favourites. If you want to print off some or all of it to
read when it first comes out, that’s fine, but it’s best
then to destroy the printed version and rely on the online
When did you last look at it?
If the item has been mouldering unnoticed in the back of a
cupboard for some time it’s quite possible that you really never
needed to store it in the first place (but do beware of items
that we need to store but will be rarely used. Check your
retention schedules before you reach for the recycle bin).
Feng Shui your office the records management
If you've got half a day to spare this internal
session is a lot more fun than you might expect - and really