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Dull and Weem Parish Church of Scotland

Scottish Charity Number SC 001465 Congregational Number 271608


1.  Introduction 

1.1. Church of Scotland congregations gather personal information from individuals and

external organisations as well as generating a wide range of personal data, all of

which is recorded in documents and records, both in hard copy and electronic form. 

1.2.  Examples of the types of information accumulated and generated are set out in Appendix 1 of this policy and include but are not limited to minutes of Kirk Session

meetings; membership rolls; baptismal information; employment records;

newsletters and other communications such as letters and emails.

 1.3.  In certain circumstances it will be necessary to retain documents to meet legal requirements and for operational needs.  Document retention is also required to evidence agreements or events and to preserve information.

 1.4.  It is however not practical or appropriate for congregations to retain all records.  Additionally, data protection principles require information to be as up to date and accurate as possible.  It is therefore important that congregations have in place systems  for  the  timely  and  secure  disposal  of  documents  that  are  no  longer


 1.5.  This Data Retention Policy was adopted by the Congregation on 1st May 2018 and will be implemented on a day to day basis. 



2.  Roles and Responsibilities 


2.1.  Congregational office bearers and those involved with safeguarding will adopt the

retention and disposal guidance at Appendix 1 of this policy and strive to keep

records up to date.


2.2.  Advice will be obtained from the Law Department or Safeguarding Department of

the Church Office at 121 George Street if there is uncertainty about retention


3.  Retention and Disposal Policy

 3.1. Decisions relating to the retention and disposal of data should be guided by:- 

 3.1.1.  Appendix 1 – Document Retention Schedule – Guidance on the recommended and statutory minimum retention periods for specific types of documents and records.

 3.1.2.   Appendix 2 – Quick Guide to document retention. 

 3.2.  In circumstances where the retention period for a specific document or category   

of documents has expired, a review should be carried out prior to disposal and

consideration should be given to the method of disposal.



4.  Disposal 

 4.1.  Documents containing confidential or personal information should be disposed of

either by shredding or by using confidential waste bins or sacks.  Such documentation  is likely to includ  financial details, contact lists with names and addresses and pastoral information.

 4.2.  Documents other than those containing confidential or personal information may

be disposed of by recycling or binning. 


4.3.  Electronic communications including email, Facebook pages, twitter accounts etc

and all information stored digitally should also be reviewed and if no longer required, closed and/or deleted so as to be put beyond use. This should not be done

simply by archiving, which is not the same as deletion.  It will often be sufficient

simply to delete the information, with no intention of ever using or accessing it

again, despite the fact that it may still exist in the electronic ether. Information will

be deemed to be put beyond use if the Congregation is not able, or will not attempt,

to use it to inform any decision in respect of any individual or in a manner that

affects the individual in any way and does not give any other organisation access to


 4.4. Deletion can also be effected by using one of the following methods of disposal:- 

·  Using secure deletion software which can overwrite data;

·  Using the function of “restore to factory settings” (where information is not

stored in a removable format);

·  Sending the device to a specialist who will securely delete the data.

Appendix 1

Illustrative Data Retention Schedule

This Schedule is provided as a guide to common types of documents but is not exhaustive.  

NOTE: There may be an historic interest in the Congregation’s records. Kirk Session minutes are archived after 50 years. If you think that

archiving other records is preferable to destruction, you should be in touch with the Department of the General Assembly, which will organise

archiving where appropriate.

Avoid retaining information if there is no reason for doing so.  Consult with the Law Department if you are unsure.


Minutes of meetings                                                                              6 years

Kirk Session meetings                                                                         50 years

Pre-employment enquiries/applications/notes/letters/references     6 months after completion of                                                                                                                            recruitment  (unless data to                                                                                                                          be retained for a future similar                                                                                                                    opportunity, in which case                                                                                                                           1 year)

Safeguarding Service confirmation of advice, emails, letters       100 years

Confidentiality Agreements                                                               100 years

Covenants of Responsibility (managing those who pose a risk)     100 years

Safeguarding Service Risk Assessments                                           100 years

Complaints concerning people                                                           100 years

Congregational Register                                                                     100 years

Safeguarding Audit for Congregations and Presbyteries              100 years

Transfer Forms                                                                                  100 years

Employee records including: contracts, time records etc                Duration of employment + 6 years

Volunteer records                                                                               Duration of placement + 6 years

Databases for mailing lists/distribution                                           Reviewed annually, delete out of                                                                                                                date information

Miscellaneous contact information                                                  Delete once there is no longer a                                                                                                                   requirement to hold such                                                                                                                               information

Arranged accommodation/placements (e.g. overseas visitors)     3 years following end of                                                                                                                               event/placement

Documents relating to litigation or potential litigation                Until matter is concluded plus

                                                                                                             6 years

Hazardous material exposures                                                      30 years

Injury and Illness Incident Reports (RIDDOR)                             5 years 

Pension plans and retirement records                                           Permanent

Salary schedules; ranges for each job description                         2 years

Payroll Records                                                                               Minimum, 6 years.  No maximum

Contracts                                                                                           6 years following expiration

Construction documents                                                                  Permanent

Fixed Asset Records                                                                        Permanent

Application for charitable and/or tax-exempt status                 Permanent

Sales and purchase records                                                           5 years

Resolutions                                                                                      Permanent

Audit and review workpapers                                                      5 years from the end of the period in                                                                                                          which the audit or review was


OSCR filings                                                                                  5 years from date of filing

Records of financial donations                                                     6 years 

Accounts Payable and Receivables ledgers and schedules        6 years

Annual audit reports and financial statements                          Permanent

Annual plans and budgets                                                            2 years

Bank statements, cancelled cheques, deposit slips                     Minimum of 6 years 

Business expense records                                                              6 years

Cash receipts                                                                                  3 years

Cheque registers                                                                            Permanent

Electronic fund transfer documents                                            6 years

Employee expense reports                                                           6 years

General ledgers                                                                            Permanent

Journal entries                                                                             6 years

Invoices                                                                                         6 years

Petty cash vouchers                                                                     3 years

Tax records                                                                                 Minimum 6 years

Filings of fees paid to professionals                                          6 years

Environmental studies                                                               Permanent

Insurance claims/ applications                                                 Permanent

Insurance disbursements and denials                                      Permanent

Insurance contracts and policies (Directors and Officers, General

Liability, Property, Workers' Compensation)                       Permanent

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