Retention Schedule

With such a range of different documents governed by such a variety of different legislation, it can be difficult to know how long your organisation needs to retain an individual file in storage, and the reason for keeping it. For instance, do you need to keep asset registers for as long as personnel records? Is it a legal requirement to keep copies of purchase orders?

In the linked retention schedule pages below, we provide a handy guide to how long you will need to retain and archive different types of document.

Please note that the information provided by CAS in the tables below is for guidance purposes only. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the details provided here are accurate, CAS accepts no liability for any errors or discrepancies.

For each category of document (e.g. Admin, Health & Safety), we have outlined the specific type of document to be archived. For each type of document, we have provided a minimum retention period, and the reason for retaining these documents for this minimum period.

Reasons for retention:

  • Audit – you may need to supply these documents to an external auditor during an annual audit process
  • Corporate – you will need to retain these documents for management purposes within your organisation
  • Legal – you may be called upon to provide these documents, as there is specific legislation which governs the retention of these documents for the specified minimum period (e.g. the Data Protection Act 1998; Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 etc).

We hope you find our document storage guidelines for different categories of document helpful. If you would like any further advice, please do not hesitate to speak to one of the CAS team on 0845 50 50 003.

Archive category Specific archive type Retention period Reason for retention


Delivery notes Current plus 6 years Legal
Stock adjustment sheets 2 years Audit
Inventories Current only Corporate
Asset registers Current plus 6 years Corporate
Contractor timesheets 1 year after transfer to accounting systems unless required for VAT / tax purposes Corporate/legal
Copy purchase orders 3 years after original sent for payment Corporate
Copy correspondence 3 years after date of correspondence Corporate
Correspondence files 3-6 years Corporate
Complaints 3 years Corporate


Board minutes Permanently Legal
Board committee minutes Permanently Legal
Notice of general and class meetings Permanently Legal
Minutes of general and class meetings Permanently Legal
Report and accounts(signed copy) Permanently Corporate
Trust deeds Permanently Legal
Written resolutions Permanently Legal
Company registers Permanently Legal
Articles of association Permanently Legal
Change of name Permanently Legal
Circulars to shareholders Permanently Legal
Seal book Permanently Legal
Forms of application forshares, debentures etc Permanently Legal
Forms of acceptance andtransfer Permanently Legal
Share transfer forms Permanently Legal
Share dealing and administration 12 years after action has ended Legal
Trade and service mark documents 10 years after cessation of registration Legal
Requests for designating or redesigning Permanently Legal
Letters of request Permanently Legal
Allotment sheets Permanently Legal
Redemption discharge forms or endorsed certificates 7 years after date of redemption Legal
Forms of conversion  7 years after date of conversion Legal
Signed forms ofnomination Permanently Legal
Letters of indemnity forlost certificates Permanently Legal
Stop notices and other court orders Permanently Legal
Powers of Attorney Copy to be retained permanently Legal
Paid dividend & interest warrants 12 years after date of payment Legal
Dividend and interest mandates Until account closed Legal
Cancelled share/stock certificates 1 year Legal
Notification of change of address 2 years Legal

Employment Records

Maternity pay records Current year plus 3 years Legal
Personnel records 7 years after employment ceases Legal
Medical records 12 years Legal
Training course details & attendee list 6 years after course Corporate
Staff appraisals Current plus 1 year Corporate
Labour agreements Permanently Legal
Group health / accident policies 12 years after benefit ends Legal
Patent / secrecy agreements 20 years after employment ceases Corporate
Applications for jobs (unsuccessful) Up to 1 year Legal
Early retirement/redundancy documents 6 years after date of retirement Legal
Expense accounts 7 years Legal
Payrolls 12 years Legal
Staff personal records 7 years after employment ceases Legal
Salary registers Up to 5 years Legal
Salary revision schedules Up to 5 years Legal
Tax returns Permanently Legal
Time cards and piece work records 2 years Legal
Wage records (including overtime details) 5 years Legal

Health & Safety

Accident books, accident records/reports 3 years after the date of the last entry Legal
Equipment inspection records Varies according to equipment Legal
Geotechnical Assessment of Quarry At least 3 years from date record was made Legal
Copy of Declaration of EC Conformity including FinalInspection Certificate 10 years from date when safetycomponent was last manufactured Legal
Asbestos (health records) 5 years from date of monitoring or40 years if health record required Legal
Radioactivity (monitoring results) 2 years from the date on which they were made Legal
Radioactivity (Dose Assessment and Recording of Classified Person Approved Dosimetry Service) Until the person to which it relates has or would have reached 75, but for at least 50 years from the date made Legal
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) 40 years from date of last incident Legal
RIDDOR reports 3 years from date of notification Legal
Risk assessments Until superseded (should be reviewed after 3 years at maximum – earlier if circumstances change) Legal
Safe systems of work At least 6 months after completion of work Corporate
Permit to work systems A minimum of 12 months Corporate
Compressed air health records 40 years from date of last entry Legal
Machine maintenance books Life of equipment Legal
Construction – agent’s written declaration Life of health and safety file Legal
Gas maintenance of residential properties 2 years from date of check Legal
Statements/policies/guides Annual review Corporate


Public liability policies Permanently Legal
Product liability policies Permanently Legal
Employers’ liability policies Permanently Legal
Other policies 3 years after lapse Legal
Claims correspondence 3 years after settlement Legal
Accident reports and relevant correspondence 3 years after settlement Legal
Insurance schedules 10 years Legal


Contracts/agreements under seal 12 years after expiry Legal
Contracts/agreements not under seal 6 years after expiry Legal
Expired patents 12 years Legal
Leases 12 years after expiry of lease Legal
Planning permission 12 years after property interest ceased Legal
Title deeds Until transferred to purchaser Legal
Major agreements of historical significance Permanently Corporate


All trust deeds and rules Permanently Legal
Trustees’ minute book Permanently Legal
Fund annual accounts and Inland Revenue approvals Permanently Legal
Investment records Permanently Legal
Actuarial valuation reports Permanently Legal
Contribution records Permanently Legal
Records of ex-pensioners 6 years after cessation of benefit Legal
Pension scheme 12 years after cessation of benefit Legal
Investment policies Any benefit payable under the scheme Legal
Individual life policies under ‘Top Hat’ scheme 12 years after settlement of claim or final cessation of benefit Legal
 Group health policies 12 years after final cessation of benefit Legal
Group personal accident policies 12 years after final cessation of benefit Legal

Sales Records

Customer orders 3-6 years Corporate
Customer complaints Not less than 3 months Corporate
Nominal and private ledgers 10 years Legal
Sales ledger 10 years Legal
Sales invoices / credit notes 6 years Legal
Customer file 6 years after last entry Legal
Delivery documents Current plus two years Audit


Drivers’ record books Not less than 12 months Legal
MOT test records 2 years after vehicle disposed of Corporate
Mileage records 2 years after vehicle disposed of Corporate
Vehicle maintenance records 2 years after vehicle disposed of Corporate
Tachograph records 12 months Legal