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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Access to justice and advice sector issues  →  Thread

Client files and length of storage

Tracey D
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Welfare benefits advisor - Peterborough City Council

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Total Posts: 127

Joined: 18 June 2010

Please could you confirm how long your organisation keeps welfare benefit client files in storage before you shred them.

Is there a legal minimum time limit or is it just down to the policy decision made by the organisation.

P.E.T.E
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Head of Welfare Rights at Barnsley MBC.

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Joined: 17 June 2010

Hi

Here in Barnsley its six years.  All linked to the CLS Quality Mark and time limits people have to take legal action for wrong / bad advice I understand.

Nicky
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Supervisor Welfare Benefits, Barrow-in-Furness, Citizens Advice Bureau

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We keep them for seven years.

However there are some that we mark keep for 16 years and that would be one’s like overpayments that are deemed not recoverable from DWP who then come back to the client in 10 years to say they’re going to take it out of their pension - we have had this happen to a client who i remembered and none of us could prove it had been deemed non recoverable as we’d shredded the paperwork and the client hadn’t kept it either.

I now tell clients to never get rid of the letter saying the overpayment has been deemed non recoverable and as i say keep it for 16 years.

Ariadne
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Social policy coordinator, CAB, Basingstoke

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It’s worth knowing that the time limits for legal proceedings do not run against minors (under 18) or persons hwo lack capacity - so you may need to keep those longer.

Tracey D
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Welfare benefits advisor - Peterborough City Council

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Total Posts: 127

Joined: 18 June 2010

Thanks to all of you for your input.

We are looking at drafting a new data rentention policy and I know when I was at CAB we kept benefit files for 7 years, but I have not been able to find anything in writing to confirm these time limits.

If anyone has a policy document on data retention I would be really grateful if you could let me have a copy.

Tracey.