Document retention

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Martin West 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • GaynorLF

    Sorry if this has been asked before..

    My MD has asked me to revisit our Document retention Policy in view of the GDPR. My question is do we use the ESFA retention periods? or do i have to retain documents as per the ESF retention policy (which is a very long time)? Does the ESF policy relate to the ESFA and the ESFA policy relate to Providers (us)?
    I don’t think we have the capacity to retain learner files until 2030.

    Appreciate any advice as this is not something I have been involved with before.


    Martin West

    It applies to Providers, see the AEB funding rules:
    116. You and your subcontractors must follow the retention of documents, ‘publicity’ and horizontal themes rules and provide evidence as detailed in the ESF 2014 to 2020 funding rules.

    As the AEB is used for ESF match funding by the ESFA the following applies

    The paperwork evidencing the delivery of the ESF project must be kept for six years after the final payments have been made to England from the Commission. The 2014 to 2020 final payments will be made in 2024 (spend can continue up to the end of 2023 and the final claim will be the following year) and so documentation will need to be kept for audit until 2030.

    You must maintain original invoices, delivery evidence, management information returns and all other documents necessary to verify the services in relation to this contract until 31 December 2030. You must maintain the documents for yourself, your subcontractors and grant recipients.




    Thanks Martin

    Just to confirm, we only deliver Apprenticeships. As these are co-funded by the ESF the same retention periods will apply?

    Thanks again


    Martin West

    Hi Gaynor,
    Apprenticeships from May 2017 are not used for match funding for ESF projects and as such you only need to retain original invoices, management information returns and all other documents necessary to verify the Provision for 6 years.


    Cris Hale

    Hi Martin,

    If I can revive this thread, where does this information come from? Is it all from this link, which doesn’t appear to specify what it apples to?

    And you said that apprenticeships from May 2017 are not used for match funding – I assume that means the ones before then are?

    Any idea how I would find out about the retention period for apprenticeships before 2014?

    Thanks in advance,



    Martin West

    Hi Chris,
    All contracts with the ESFA includes the following and this covers the document retention requirements for both the ESFA and ESF.

    The records referred to in this Clause (Contractor’s Records and Audit) will be retained for a period of at least six (6) years, subject to any requirements for a longer retention period set out in the Funding Rules, after the end of the Contract Period.

    The 10 year requirement applies to funding model 35 which is used for matched funding as is any non-levy delivered under funding model 36 from May 2017.

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