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Under the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act, the Local Authority and schools have to retain information for varying lengths of time and according to varying degrees of security.

The Information and Records Management Society issued their 'Records Management Toolkit for Schools v4'  which sets out the schedule for schools retention of their information according to subject.

It also tells you how the information should be classified, ie whether it relates to the Data Protection Act or not and how it should be transferred, archived or destroyed and by what methods.

Child Protection Record Keeping for Schools

The Somerset Local Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) have issued guidance about the retention of Children's CP records and this can be found here

Goddard Inquiry

The Goddard Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has agreed with the ICO that the period of retention of records should be changed for the period of the Inquiry.  Below is an extract of a notice placed on iPost

The Goddard Inquiry into Child Abuse has stated that for the COURSE OF THE INQUIRY there should be a change in the time that data in schools (and other agencies) retain their data.  They have consulted with the ICO and agreed that the suggested retention dates for the storing of data can be extended.

This website (see link below) gives this advice which we strongly recommend that all schools follow:

Staff records

The general position is to retain staff records for 6 years after employment ends. For the duration of the Inquiry, records should not be destroyed at this time if they contain any reference to safeguarding concerns or allegations, including unsubstantiated allegations or where no action was taken.

Pupil records

The general position is to retain pupil records until former pupils reach the age of 25. For the duration of the Inquiry, records should not be destroyed at this time if they contain any allegations of safeguarding concerns. In reality the task of reviewing all pupil records before destroying to ascertain whether they contain information which may assist the Inquiry could be so significant that it may be an unwieldy administrative task. Given that files are being retained for the purposes of cooperating with the Inquiry, it is unlikely that Schools would be criticised for retaining all pupil files for the duration of the Inquiry, provided they are kept in locked storage or in computer files with secure access. This should be kept under review to ensure that data is not retained for longer than is necessary and schools must revert to normal data protection principles once the Inquiry has concluded .

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Contact Details

igover@somerset.gov.uk

Related Link

https://www.hcrlaw.com/blog/key-data-protection-issues-arising-result-goddard-inquiry/
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