Records Management

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Childhood First holds records relating to the organisation and to individual Children/Young People, staff and communities.

This chapter identifies the organisational and legal requirements for the storage of records.

These records must be stored safely and securely, according to legal and organisational needs. When records are no longer required they should be disposed of appropriately.

OTHER RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Case Recording Policy and Guidance

Access to Records Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was refreshed in June 2019 and should be re-read.



Contents

  1. Current Situation for Records
  2. Personnel Records
  3. Financial Records
  4. Governance and Organisational Records
  5. Fundraising
  6. Other
  7. Storage Facilities


1. Current Situation for Records

There are legal requirements to keep some files (e.g. Children/Young People's records, financial records) for certain lengths of time and other material is kept for historic and research reasons. 

The materials are kept in various different places, at the different centres, at the central office, at various storage facilities, in paper and digital formats.

The records currently include files from as far back as the 1970s, i.e. from the Park House Approved School.


2. Personnel Records

During employment information about each member of staff is held at the place of work and at the central office, in paper format, electronic format and on the HR database. It will also be necessary for administrative purposes to hold salary and related information in other computer files. Paper files are kept in locked cabinets with restricted access and must not be left on desks or faxed to machines where unauthorised access is possible. Only authorised users with appropriate permissions will have access to the database and/or other computer files, all of which must be closed if the computer is to be left unattended.

Information which is likely to be held will include:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Date of Birth;
  • National Insurance Number;
  • Next of Kin / Emergency Contact details;
  • Application form;
  • References received;
  • Identity verification records;
  • Qualifications (with documentary evidence);
  • DBS Disclosure issue date, number and whether Standard or Enhanced;
  • Vetting Procedures Checklist;
  • Statement of Terms and Particulars of Employment (Contract) and any letters amending this;
  • Salary and Pension Information;
  • Appraisal Supervision and Training Records;
  • Records of Disciplinary Matters, Complaints or Grievances;
  • Copies of References sent.

Information obtained during the recruitment process which is not required to be retained under Children's Home Regulations or for administrative purposes will be destroyed on completion of the 6 month probationary period.

Details of Disclosure information are never kept on an applicants personnel file and are always kept in electronic format securely on the main server, with access strictly controlled and limited to those who are entitled to see it as part of their duties.

Records of disciplinary proceedings are held for the period of any warning. If a warning period expires without any further disciplinary action the records will be destroyed. A file note indicating that a warning was issued will be retained.

Records of any complaints or grievances will only be retained for as long as is necessary to resolve the issue.

Copies of references sent will be retained only for as long as necessary to respond to any queries relating to them.

Information in relation to salary and / or pension contributions may be shared with our financial advisers, insurers and pension providers.

The Children's Homes Regulations 2015 state that the following information for each employee must be kept for 15 years after the date of the last entry:

  • Name;
  • Sex;
  • Date of birth;
  • Home address;
  • Relevant qualifications;
  • Full or part-time, and if part-time the number of hours worked;
  • Whether the employee was resident at the home.

In addition the following information will be kept at the Home for 12 months, after which they must be forwarded to Head Office for storage:

  • Employment and engagement applications (including a full employment history, together with a satisfactory written explanation of any gaps in employment);
  • Interview notes;
  • References received (written and telephone verification forms);
  • Identity verification records, including a photograph. (For migration legal protection, should show rights to work in the UK);
  • Documentary evidence of any relevant qualifications;
  • DBS Disclosure log (number, date, type, and if recorded, the actions taken to ensure suitably of employee);  
  • Records of Protection Training Delivered (dates and provider);
  • Records of induction training and supervision meetings during an individual's probationary period.

This information will be retained indefinitely, together with name, date of birth, National Insurance Number, dates of employment and address at the time of leaving.

Other employee records will be kept for 6 months after the employee has left employment. After this period the records will be destroyed apart from the details above and the information needed to provide a reference for another employer.

Requests for references will be dealt with by the relevant Registered Manager who will ensure that all responses are objective and not negligent and /or defamatory. In certain circumstances e.g. where a reference has been agreed as part of a settlement, references will be sent by the HR team.

If the employee left as a result of a disciplinary matter, or for any other reason which might lead to a dispute or tribunal claim, then the records relating to the matter, and any supporting documentation, will be kept for 6 years.


3. Financial Records

Financial records must be retained for 6 years (Charities Act 1993, section 41, Companies Act s 221). Financial records are destroyed 6 years from date of archiving.

These records should be sufficient to show and explain the organisation's transactions and to show at any time the financial position of the organisation.

The records should include:

  • The full nominal ledger showing all transactions;
  • Sales ledger;
  • Daily receipts log;
  • Bank paying in books;
  • Bank statements;
  • Bank reconciliations;
  • Purchase ledger;
  • Invoices received;
  • Petty cash records;
  • Payroll records;
  • Any other documents and records which are considered necessary.

These records should be kept at the accounting centre for at least 1 year after the end of the year to which they can refer. They can then be archived.

Some of the records can be stored electronically, i.e. a back up of the SAGE accounts will include the nominal ledger, sales ledger, purchase ledger.

After 6 years the records should be recalled from the archives and destroyed.

The Trustees annual report and accounts for each company will be kept permanently.

Budgets and management accounts should be kept for 3 years.


4. Governance and Organisational Records

Trustee minutes and the register of members and directors should be kept permanently.

Property purchase and sales should be kept for 12 years after the sale of the property.

Agreements, contracts, service level agreements should be kept for 7 years after their termination.

Insurance records should be kept for 7 years.

Health and safety inspections of equipment should be kept for 6 years after the disposal of the equipment.


5. Fundraising

Fundraising records will be stored on the ThankQ database. There is no time limit on how long these will be kept for.

Other records (e.g. of events) will be stored as needed.


6. Other

Other information and records should be regularly reviewed and sifted out. Where relevant to current matters they should be retained in the office. Other information might be relevant to the history of the organisation, e.g. strategic plans. These can be retained electronically.


7. Storage Facilities

Some information relating to the Children's Homes Regulations, i.e. Children/Young People's records and Children Homes' records, need to be stored at the community. However after the child or young person leaves the community then this should be transferred where possible to electronic format and stored securely at Head Office. This will be password protected and accessible, using the necessary software, only to authorised users. The process of transferring records to electronic format takes time to implement.

Other records - information which can be destroyed after 7 years or less should be stored in paper format. These can be stored either at the community or office, depending on space and legislation, or stored by the File and General Storage Company Ltd.