Anyone who runs an out of school club knows how much paperwork you can accumulate in just one year. Who has space to store everything, but what can you safely dispose of?
In this article we take a look at what types of information and records you actually need to keep, and for how long.
Ofsted-registered clubs are required to keep records of complaints, child details, attendance, contact information, accidents and medication. However there is some difference between the Early Years and Childcare Registers:
- Clubs on the Childcare Register must keep child records, contact records, daily registers, accident records, and medication records for at least two years after a child has left the provision, and records of complaints must be kept for at least three years after the date of the complaint.
- Clubs on the Early Years Register must keep records pertaining to individual children and complaints for a 'reasonable period of time after a child has left the provision' but no specific retention period is given. It is up to providers to decide how long to keep records. (It is worth noting that until 2012, the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage stated that both types of records should be kept for three years.)
We therefore recommend that Ofsted-registered out of school clubs keep the types of records listed above for at least three years after a child has left your care. As well as ensuring that you meet all Ofsted requirements, this is also for your own protection should a parent later come back to you with complaints or allegations about some aspect of your care.
Why would you keep child records for longer?
If you have the storage space - and the inclination - you can keep certain records for longer than the required amount of time if you deem it necessary.
One point to bear in mind is that the statute of limitations under which a minor can claim damages for injuries is up to the age of 25. Therefore it is theoretically possible for someone to come back to you many years after the event and claim that because of some medication or first aid treatment that you gave them when they were say, seven, they are now suffering some ill effects.
If you wanted to be certain of defending yourself against such claims you might want to keep your accident records and records of medication given for significantly longer than the statutory two year minimum. In practice however, very few settings have the space to keep records for extended periods. To rationalise your storage you might decide to only store for an extended time those records that relate to children who experienced an accident or unusual incident whilst in your care.
Retention of other records
As well as the Ofsted requirements to retain child records and complaints, there are numerous other types of information that all businesses need to retain. These are outlined briefly below.
- Records of any death, injury, disease or dangerous occurrence that was reportable to the HSE under RIDDOR, must be kept for 3 years. (statutory requirement)
- Staff accident records must be kept for three years. (statutory requirement)
- Accident or medical records as specified by COSHH regulations must be kept for 40 years. (statutory requirement)
- Personnel files and training records should be kept for six years after the end of employment. (recommendation)
- Wage records must be kept for six years. (statutory requirement)
- Records of SMP, SSP, income tax and NI must be kept for three years after the end of the tax year to which they relate. (statutory requirement)
- Accounts must be kept for three years from the end of the financial year to which they apply for private companies, and for six years for public companies or charities. (statutory requirement)
- Minutes must be kept for ten years for companies and six years for charities. (statutory requirement)
Whatever data you store about identifiable individuals (children, parents, staff, volunteers, or others) is subject to the provisions of data protection legislation. Since May 2018, the relevant legislation has been the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). In essence, this means that you need to keep personal data secure, ensure that it is accurate, allow individuals to request copies of their data, and to keep no more data than is necessary and for no longer than is necessary. Remember that if your organisation has a good reason for keeping data for an extended period, then this is allowed so long as you are able to justify your practice, for example in order to meet Ofsted, HMRC or insurance requirements.
See our articles on the GDPR for more information about the requirements that you need to meet.
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