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1.8.2 Case Records and Retention


  1. Retention of Documentation
  2. Destruction of Files

1. Retention of Documentation

All records, including files, records, photographs, floppy disks, USB Memory Sticks and other written or electronic and visual material that originates in connection with social work duties, are the property of Leeds Children’s Social Work Services.

Under no circumstances should the materials referred to above be retained in an employee's possession, whether at home or elsewhere.

Staff using computers at home for work purposes must transfer any material to an office computer the next working day. Subsequently, all material must be immediately deleted from their personal computer, hard drive or USB Memory Stick. No information should be retained that can identify any client or service user.

Staff are not allowed to remove case records from their office, whether this is to work at home or for meetings, except as agreed on a case-by-case basis by the line manager.

Any authorisations to remove case records from the office may be cancelled at any time and their return requested at any time, although reasons should always be given.

Managers should have systems in place to record any removal of documentation from the workplace and their return, with appropriate signatures and dates.

Any breach of these arrangements may lead to disciplinary action being considered.

2. Destruction of Files

  • The date for the destruction of a record should be written on its front cover (in the case of a paper file) and entered on the computer system when the case is closed (in the case of electronic records);
  • If a closed case is subsequently re-opened, care must be taken to erase the date for destruction on the paper and electronic record;
  • Whenever there is the possibility of litigation, the records and information likely to be affected should not be amended or destroyed until the threat of litigation has ended;
  • When records identified for destruction are destroyed, a register of such records should be kept with sufficient detail to identify the record and the date destroyed;
  • In all cases, the destruction of paper records should be coordinated with the deletion of any electronic corresponding records.

For detailed advice and information on the retention periods for specific records please refer to the Children’s Services Retention Schedule.

Please note - While the National Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is on-going, no children’s social care records should be destroyed. See the Independent Inquiry Website for full details.