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 categorySpecific archive typeRetention periodReason for retention


Delivery notesCurrent plus 6 yearsLegal
Stock adjustment sheets2 yearsAudit
InventoriesCurrent onlyCorporate
Asset registersCurrent plus 6 yearsCorporate
Contractor timesheets1 year after transfer to accounting systems unless required for VAT / tax purposesCorporate/legal
Copy purchase orders3 years after original sent for paymentCorporate
Copy correspondence3 years after date of correspondenceCorporate
Correspondence files3-6 yearsCorporate
Complaints3 yearsCorporate


Board minutesPermanentlyLegal
Board committee minutesPermanentlyLegal
Notice of general and class meetingsPermanentlyLegal
Minutes of general and class meetingsPermanentlyLegal
Report and accounts(signed copy)PermanentlyCorporate
Trust deedsPermanentlyLegal
Written resolutionsPermanentlyLegal
Company registersPermanentlyLegal
Articles of associationPermanentlyLegal
Change of namePermanentlyLegal
Circulars to shareholdersPermanentlyLegal
Seal bookPermanentlyLegal
Forms of application forshares, debentures etcPermanentlyLegal
Forms of acceptance andtransferPermanentlyLegal
Share transfer formsPermanentlyLegal
Share dealing and administration12 years after action has endedLegal
Trade and service mark documents10 years after cessation of registrationLegal
Requests for designating or redesigningPermanentlyLegal
Letters of requestPermanentlyLegal
Allotment sheetsPermanentlyLegal
Redemption discharge forms or endorsed certificates7 years after date of redemptionLegal
Forms of conversion 7 years after date of conversionLegal
Signed forms ofnominationPermanentlyLegal
Letters of indemnity forlost certificatesPermanentlyLegal
Stop notices and other court ordersPermanentlyLegal
Powers of AttorneyCopy to be retained permanentlyLegal
Paid dividend & interest warrants12 years after date of paymentLegal
Dividend and interest mandatesUntil account closedLegal
Cancelled share/stock certificates1 yearLegal
Notification of change of address2 yearsLegal

Employment Records

Maternity pay recordsCurrent year plus 3 yearsLegal
Personnel records7 years after employment ceasesLegal
Medical records12 yearsLegal
Training course details & attendee list6 years after courseCorporate
Staff appraisalsCurrent plus 1 yearCorporate
Labour agreementsPermanentlyLegal
Group health / accident policies12 years after benefit endsLegal
Patent / secrecy agreements20 years after employment ceasesCorporate
Applications for jobs (unsuccessful)Up to 1 yearLegal
Early retirement/redundancy documents6 years after date of retirementLegal
Expense accounts7 yearsLegal
Payrolls12 yearsLegal
Staff personal records7 years after employment ceasesLegal
Salary registersUp to 5 yearsLegal
Salary revision schedulesUp to 5 yearsLegal
Tax returnsPermanentlyLegal
Time cards and piece work records2 yearsLegal
Wage records (including overtime details)5 yearsLegal

Health & Safety

Accident books, accident records/reports3 years after the date of the last entryLegal
Equipment inspection recordsVaries according to equipmentLegal
Geotechnical Assessment of QuarryAt least 3 years from date record was madeLegal
Copy of Declaration of EC Conformity including FinalInspection Certificate10 years from date when safetycomponent was last manufacturedLegal
Asbestos (health records)5 years from date of monitoring or40 years if health record requiredLegal
Radioactivity (monitoring results)2 years from the date on which they were madeLegal
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 madeLegal
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)40 years from date of last incidentLegal
RIDDOR reports3 years from date of notificationLegal
Risk assessmentsUntil superseded (should be reviewed after 3 years at maximum – earlier if circumstances change)Legal
Safe systems of workAt least 6 months after completion of workCorporate
Permit to work systemsA minimum of 12 monthsCorporate
Compressed air health records40 years from date of last entryLegal
Machine maintenance booksLife of equipmentLegal
Construction – agent’s written declarationLife of health and safety fileLegal
Gas maintenance of residential properties2 years from date of checkLegal
Statements/policies/guidesAnnual reviewCorporate


Public liability policiesPermanentlyLegal
Product liability policiesPermanentlyLegal
Employers’ liability policiesPermanentlyLegal
Other policies3 years after lapseLegal
Claims correspondence3 years after settlementLegal
Accident reports and relevant correspondence3 years after settlementLegal
Insurance schedules10 yearsLegal


Contracts/agreements under seal12 years after expiryLegal
Contracts/agreements not under seal6 years after expiryLegal
Expired patents12 yearsLegal
Leases12 years after expiry of leaseLegal
Planning permission12 years after property interest ceasedLegal
Title deedsUntil transferred to purchaserLegal
Major agreements of historical significancePermanentlyCorporate


All trust deeds and rulesPermanentlyLegal
Trustees’ minute bookPermanentlyLegal
Fund annual accounts and Inland Revenue approvalsPermanentlyLegal
Investment recordsPermanentlyLegal
Actuarial valuation reportsPermanentlyLegal
Contribution recordsPermanentlyLegal
Records of ex-pensioners6 years after cessation of benefitLegal
Pension scheme12 years after cessation of benefitLegal
Investment policiesAny benefit payable under the schemeLegal
Individual life policies under ‘Top Hat’ scheme12 years after settlement of claim or final cessation of benefitLegal
 Group health policies12 years after final cessation of benefitLegal
Group personal accident policies12 years after final cessation of benefitLegal

Sales Records

Customer orders3-6 yearsCorporate
Customer complaintsNot less than 3 monthsCorporate
Nominal and private ledgers10 yearsLegal
Sales ledger10 yearsLegal
Sales invoices / credit notes6 yearsLegal
Customer file6 years after last entryLegal
Delivery documentsCurrent plus two yearsAudit


Drivers’ record booksNot less than 12 monthsLegal
MOT test records2 years after vehicle disposed ofCorporate
Mileage records2 years after vehicle disposed ofCorporate
Vehicle maintenance records2 years after vehicle disposed ofCorporate
Tachograph records12 monthsLegal


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