What are the retention periods for legal documents?

Having a good records management strategy is essential for Law firms owing to the vast number of sensitive documents that they handle, which may include various forms of agreements, instructions, and case notes, among other things.

The general consensus is that the minimum legal document retention time for most types of records should be at least six years, as this is the primary limitation period under the Limitation Act of 1980. Other legal documents, on the other hand, must be retained for a period of at least 15 years or more.

Some businesses will keep all of their records in order to be prepared for any potential problems in the future. However, this strategy can take up a lot of physical space, and it can be time-consuming and expensive to properly sort and preserve documents. This is where having a working grasp of more specific legal records keeping laws can be extremely beneficial.

This short guide will emphasise some of the most important aspects of legal document preservation that you should be aware of, and it should serve as a reminder of the kind of papers that you should maintain.

Legal records that must be retained for a period of at least six years

As previously stated, many legal documents should be kept for a period of six years, as this is the principal limitation period under the 1980 Limitation Act. This includes records pertaining to the following:

  • Crime
  • Immigration
  • Litigation in County Court
  • Debt collection

Legal records that must be retained for a period of at least fifteen years

Certain files should be kept for a period of 15 years, in accordance with the long-stop provision of section 14B of the Limitation Act of 1980. These documents are pertinent in circumstances where claims may be asserted outside the principal limitation period. This includes records pertaining to the following:

  • Children and family matters
  • Commercial transactions
  • Financial Services
  • Matrimonial matters
  • Commercial property
  • Property sales
  • Residential property purchases
  • Probate
  • Sales of leasehold properties
  • Employment
  • Personal injury

Legal records that must be retained for longer than 15 years

Other more critical files should be retained for a longer period of time than 15 years – ideally, they will not be discarded at all. These records include the following:

  • Change of name
  • Company formation
  • Court of Protection
  • Declaration of trust
  • Patents/intellectual property matters
  • Pension schemes
  • Lasting power of attorney and enduring power of attorney
  • Wills

Deeds and Wills storage

Only original wills and deeds are legally binding, which is why it is critical to have the originals safely stored. Wills are subject to modification and updating over time, but the most recent version will be used in court to divide an estate. Additionally, original deeds may contain other information that may be beneficial in the event of a dispute, such as legal borders and the prior owner.

Different law firms will have varying practises on how long they retain an original will or deed, with some holding it permanently while others retain it for a finite period (30 years from creation, for example). Whatever the rule, it is critical that it is communicated clearly to the customer and organised in such a way that records retrieval is made simple when necessary.

Possession of legal files

Prior to destroying a legal document, it is necessary to ascertain who owns the document’s contents. The majority of records will contain documents that are yours and those that belong to the client or third parties. Documents in your custody on behalf of a customer or a third party must be handled precisely according to their instructions – not yours.

Safe storage

Working with a dedicated document storage specialist such as Flexible Storage Solutions third-party document storage provider can assume the responsibility for document retention on your behalf, ensuring that you are compliant with all applicable rules and have access to your papers at any time. To learn more about our services, visit our website. If you wish to learn more about storage solutions and related topics, visit our blog.

Space savings tips for paper storage

Whether you want to store personal paper records or professional paper records, setting up a storage solution can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are not prepared. Some will prefer digitalising everything while others will choose archive storage. If you plan to keep your files for a long period of time, consider storing them in an archive storage facility. This will make organising your office or home easier, as well as freeing up additional space while keeping your vital documents safe and secure.

If you decide to store your important files in an archive storage facility, there are a few tips you should follow in order to make the experience as smooth and painless as possible. In this article, we will give you all the keys you need to self-store you important papers efficiently.

Setting up for storage

Paper that will be stored long-term should be printed on acid-free paper whenever possible as acid-free paper has a much longer lifespan than regular paper. It is  also necessary to regulate the humidity levels and light and heat exposure in your unit. Taking all these precautions will allow you papers to stay in good condition on the long run.

Unexpected damage could occur despite taking all essential procedures to ensure the integrity of your documents. Accidents or natural catastrophes are examples of events that might cause significant damage. However this is not in your control. To avoid stress linked to this possibility, you should consider making multiple copies of originals and consider digitising everything, or at least the most important files.

Organisation

  • Make sure that each box or container is neatly labelled with a permanent marker pen or with stickers before you begin putting you documents in storage. This will make finding what you need much quicker next time you need to find a document.
  • Make a note of everything that you wish to store to ensure that you know exactly what is stored and where it is stored.
  • Creating a list while you pack for storage will allow you to keep track of everything and will help you see if anything has been forgotten or misplaced.
  • Make sure your boxes are evenly distributed. Boxes should not be overloaded. Your boxes should then be arranged evenly, with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on the top.
  • Put the most frequently used documents at the front of the box. Organise your storage unit by placing any items that you believe you will need in the near future at the front of the unit. You will then be able to conveniently access them without having to completely unload and repack your entire storage unit.

If you are interested in storing your important documents, we can help! We offer an archive service with free initial box collection, fireproof storage, storage to destruction service as well as document indexing, tracking & retrieval. Our facilities are fully compliant with GDPR and are

ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 certified. We offer business archive storage, financial storage, legal archive storage, medical archive storage, document indexing, document scanning, document storage boxes as well as an online file management service.

With our archive services, you are in control. We make the storage process very transparent so  you can keep an eye on everything. With our management service you can simply manage documents, index, search, and retrieve information from the convenience of your own home or workplace. For storage, you can use your own boxes or we can provide you with archive boxes.  You can contact us anytime for document retrieval or more. We will accompany you all the way to secure destruction of no-longer-needed documentation. We will assist you even step of the way! To learn more, visit our website or get in contact with us.

Why choose Flexible Storage Solutions

There are so many storage companies on the market. So why should you choose us over hundreds of other companies? As you are aware, selecting organisations with whom you can establish a long-term connection and rely on can be a challenging task. Here are some of the reasons why choosing us is a good decision for your business.

Our ethos

We consider our work to be more than simply a job; we take great pride in the solutions we offer for our customers. We endeavour to provide services to a high level of excellence to ensure client satisfaction. At Flexible Storage Solutions we strive to reach the highest standards of quality.

Our experience

Flexible storage was established in 2005. Since then, a lot has happened. We have served hundreds of clients at our state-of-the-art storage facilities. The level of service we offer has resulted in us building a great reputation and a strong client base. We have learnt a lot along the way which helps us provide you with the best possible services every day.

Friendly advice and assistance

We want your storage experience to be as stress-free and flexible as possible, which is why we’re always available to make sure you’re satisfied with your unit and that you’re getting the most out of your new storage facility. Our friendly customer service team are available to resolve any issues you face whilst utilising our self-storage, archive storage or confidential waste services. Issues are unlikely but if they do arise, we will solve them as soon as we possibly can.

Safety

At flexible storage solutions, we take safety very seriously. This why we have put in place many security protocols to make sure that our clients, our employees, and everything that we store are always safe. Our storage premises are fireproof, waterproof, and monitored by CCTV 24/7. But our security processes don’t stop there! We also care about your data. We are fully GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant and make it our mission to be the securest option for all your needs. You may rest easy knowing that your belongings are in good hands thanks to our top-notch security.

Trust

Over the years we have created many strong relationships with clients in all sorts of industries. From healthcare to law firms to global freight, we have been chosen by the best professionals out there. When you sign up with Flexible Storage Solutions, you are in good hands.

Transparency

No hidden costs or charges. We believe in being upfront with fees and costs which is why we will always inform you of any changes to your account. You are in total control, always.

Simplicity

We are easy to work with. No fuss and no nonsense, we focus on providing you with exactly what you need. We are dedicated to delivering exceptional service. If you would like to find out more about how we could support your business, please contact our team.

Benefits of Holding Medical Files Off Site

Medical Files are highly confidential, and a well-organised system is vital to delivering professional healthcare services. For both public NHS and private healthcare organisations, storing your medical files off-site can be one of the most efficient ways of managing your medical records and documents. This blog will help you understand the benefits of holding medical files off site.

Save Physical Space

While many medical files are now being stored online, there are also legal requirements for most to be stored as a physical paper copy. This takes up valuable space within surgeries. By storing medical files off-site, you can use the space to improve treatment zones.

Improve Access Efficiency

All medical files are collected, indexed and stored within a specialised archiving centre. This ensures excellent organisation for all documents and records. Storing your medical files off-site still allows you easy access to the documents you require through digital document management. This gives you full online access to manage and retrieve files from your computer while being fully compliant with GDPR regulations. As a result, this can help you improve patient confidentiality and accuracy. Storage facilities can also efficiently accommodate organisations with complex patient record archive arrangements. This makes sure you comply with all responsibilities set out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

GDPR Compliant and ICO Registered Filing Systems

One of the most challenging yet crucial aspects to storing medical files is ensuring you are fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 1998. Off-site storage for your medical files ensures you are fully compliant. This gives you more time to focus on your day-to-day work. Additionally, off-site file storage is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Easily Access and Audit Medical Health Records

You can conveniently access medical files through the highly secure digital document management system. This system helps you remain compliant with keeping medical audit records. Once medical files are logged and stored off site, the system will record any activity or changes to the files. This creates an accurate audit trail. This is then documented and kept for the lifespan of the medical file.

Digitisation of Frequently Used Medical Files

One of the benefits of storing your medical documents off site is that you can access files in current use on an on-going basis. Through secure digital document management, you can quickly access a ‘live’ version of the medical file online. This ensures your records remain secure, accurate and up-to-date.

Advanced Security for Medical Files

One of the most important benefits to holding medical files off-site is the extensive levels of security. This applies to all physical copies of documents. In facilities such as flexible storage solutions, highly secure steel storage units hold all files. These are also water and fireproof, keeping files as safe as possible from theft, burglary or vandalism. 24-hour CCTV surveillance protects the facility. This is then operated by DBS-checked staff. This guarantees that all documents receive the maximum level of protection possible.

If these reasons for holding medical files off-site can benefit your organisation, get in touch. One of our storage consultants can arrange to visit you to discuss your requirements.

What do I need to do with my practices old medical records?

What do I need to do with my practices old medical records

Medical practices in the UK are required to store medical records for long periods of time, which can make storage a bit of a challenge, especially for smaller practices. NHS standards mean long periods of retention for most medical records including notes, medical records and legal documents in case they are needed in the future.

How to decide which records to dispose of and which to store?

As mentioned above, most medical records are required to be stored for long periods of time, so it is vital you correctly identify which documents can be disposed of and which require storage.

Categorising paperwork is the easiest way to begin the process of deciding what can be disposed of and what needs to be kept. Any materials that can be categorised as financial, meeting minutes or marketing material should be able to be disposed of without hassle. We do recommend utilising a certified confidential waste disposal service when disposing of and shredding to ensure you maintain patient confidentiality and comply with GDPR policies.

Patient records are usually required to be stored safely and accessibly for the duration of the patient’s life, and in some cases for up to 10 years after death. You can use a range of government tools to cross-reference information including the government’s Will and Probate Search. If you are a small practice, it is likely you won’t have the physical storage space to safely store all documentation. This is why we offer medical archive storage as well as providing you with medical storage boxes also known as ‘Lloyd George’ storage boxes.

Can Flexible Storage Solutions store my practice’s old medical documents?

Yes, here at Flexible Storage we offer medical archive storage solutions to make the storage of your documents simple and reduce the amount of paperwork stored on-site at your practice. We store medical records using Lloyd George records boxes, these boxes have been used for years in the UK and provide secure storage of confidential medical records and documents. 

Our team have years of experience safely and securely storing medical records. Our file management system is fully GDPR-compliant and gives you online to access to manage and retrieve medical documents stored at our facility from your desk.

Can Flexible Storage Solutions destroy my practice’s old medical documents?

At Flexible Storage, we offer a confidential waste service, meaning that we can indeed dispose of any obsolete medical documents. We can facilitate the secure destruction of your confidential medical waste through our fully licensed, GDPR-compliant partner. Our service guarantees that your documents will be professionally shredded, and each destruction will come with full certification for peace of mind.

To find out more about our medical archive storage and medical confidential waste disposal services, contact our team.

How do I know my documents and data are protected?

How do I know my documents and data are protected?

Here at Flexible Storage Solutions, we have years of experience storing and managing confidential, sensitive documents and items. To give you complete peace of mind your documents and belongings are in safe hands, we have detailed each of the steps we take to ensure the highest security standards below.

ISO 27001and ISO 9001 accredited 

What is the ISO 27001 accreditation? The ISO 27001 accreditation is an internationally recognised best practice framework for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). The accreditation demonstrates that a business is run to the highest information security standards and has taken the necessary steps to protect against potential threats. ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System with clearly defined business processes. The ISO 9001 accreditation demonstrates that a company is committed to providing products and services to a defined, high standard.

Flexible Storage Solutions is proud to be ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accredited, proving we have extremely high standards when it comes to safely storing and managing our customer’s documents and data.

Fully GDPR compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) came into effect in 2018, businesses are required to store and protect data in line with these regulations. We are fully GDPR compliant across all of our services including document storage, management and destruction. At Flexible Storage Solutions, we take all the necessary precautions and procedures to ensure your data is always protected.

Secure storage facility

Our storage facility is both water and fireproof, the units we use are made from 2mm thick steel and are protected by hardened steel locks. Our premises also have the highest security standards with security alarms, 24 hour CCTV surveillance and on-site staff to ensure protection 24/7 for all items in our care. We also use a secure code system that allows customers to access their storage units using a unique code that can only be used by them.

Vetted staff

To provide you with greater peace of mind, all of our staff have been security vetted and DBS checked. Every member of staff at our facility from our drivers to admin team, have been through rigorous background checks. We also provide our staff with full professional training in accordance with GDRP and security regulations.

If you would like to find out more about the protocols in place to protect your documents or items, or if you would like to enquire about our services, please call the team on 0800 652 1117 or use our online contact form.

Preparing to return for the office after lockdown

Preparing to return for the office after lockdown

For many of us, it has been a very long time since we were last in the office. Covid-19 has meant the majority of the UK workforce have turned kitchens, bedrooms and garden buildings into home offices. As restrictions begin to lift and we begin to return to some form of normality, there are a few things to consider when preparing to bring your team back into the office.

Space

As your employees return to the office, some form of social distancing is likely to remain in place and as a result of the pandemic your team are probably going to want a little more distance between them and their colleagues. 

The needs for more space between desks could leave you with surplus furniture, of course you won’t want to dispose of the furniture so you will be looking for storage. At Flexible Storage Solutions we offer secure self-storage at our storage facility. Our storage facility is fire and waterproof, has 24/7 CCTV surveillance and on-site staff giving you complete peace of mind that your furniture is safe and secure, ready for whenever you may need it.

Destruction or storage of confidential documents

A return to the office means there will be confidential documents on site once again, it is paramount that documents are stored or disposed of correctly. This is particularly important for those in financial, legal and medical sectors. 

At Flexible Storage Solutions we offer a range of options to ensure your documents are handled correctly. We offer a complete confidential waste disposal service that includes a scheduled or ad-hoc collection from your office, secure transfer of your documents for destruction and a certificate of destruction. Our confidential waste disposal service is fully GDPR compliant and all of our staff are vetted and trained to the highest standards. We also offer confidential waste bins with flexible contracts to support the implementation of clean desk policies.

Perhaps you don’t need to dispose of your confidential documents yet and instead need somewhere to securely store them. If this is the case, we recommend utilising our archive storage service which includes collection, indexing and tracking your documents. We also offer a document scanning service that allows instant retrieval and copies of your archived documents, this service uses our secure online file management system to ensure an efficient system for tracking and recording documents.

Safety protocols

As a business owner, you will likely need introduce some new safety protocols for your team, whether it’s a new health and safety assessment or a social distancing policy. You may also wish to implement new first aid and mental health training. There are lots of great places for information and we are always happy to discuss how we can help support your business.

For more information on any of our services please contact us on 0800 652 1117 or use our online contact form.

The Need For Archive Storage When Working From Home

With the pandemic still clutching the world, many businesses have been forced to ask their employees to work from home. By working from home, many business owners and employees alike may have this false understanding that GDPR rules don’t apply to them any more. The truth is, you couldn’t be more wrong. If anything, this is where business’s, small or large, should be extremely cautious on how they handle information, especially documents containing personal details.


With employees quickly adapting to their new-found working environment, it’s easy to get lazy or complacent with how you handle any form of work related document. In the comfort of your own home, it’s not uncommon for people to put documents in a compromising location. We’re all guilty of leaving documents on the side where an unsuspecting loved-one may consider it rubbish and accidentally throw it away. For obvious reasons, this is a big problem.


Any organisation with a strong management team will have their own adequate approach to handling data for the best possible protection. However, if no clear rules have laid out then its absolutely imperative for employees to take it upon themselves to do the right thing. After all, if the worst were to happen, it would leave you at risk of losing your job or receiving necessary punishment.

With this is mind, we think it’s important that every business consider the option of collecting employees work related documents for archived storage. It goes without saying that archive storage has a multitude of benefits. So how will this benefit businesses working from home?


Why is it important for businesses to consider doing this?
For us, that’s an obvious answer. With every one of your employees working from home, it’s almost impossible to see the extent of personal documentation printed. For all you know, some of your employees may have taken older documentation home with them before the lockdown ensued. Depending on your line of work, it may be incredibly important to retain this information for future reference. The only way to protect your
customers and yourselves is to ask all employees to gather and store any work related documentation for the anticipated return to office.


You can’t leave anything to chance!
Every company out there wants to be seen as employee and customer friendly. The best way to achieve this is by being completely open, honest & transparent. It’s simply not good enough to trust every individual to be handling critical information correctly in their place of comfort. You should never leave anything to chance, especially when its actually for the broader benefit of everyone involved. Given how many months have passed, archive storage is undoubtedly the smartest choice to make.

What’s the best plan of action?
As lockdown measures slowly lift across the country, your companies handling of GDPR should have been outlined months ago. If you’re still uncertain on the best way to tackle what could be a mammoth task for you, we can only suggest the following,

  1. Ask all employees to gather any and all written or printed work related documentation
  2. Have a dedicated individual to collect these documents from all employees
  3. Store these documents in individually named & dated binders, folders or wallets
  4. Request a quote or call us for an understanding on costs and time frames

    If there’s any uncertainty regarding the need for this documentation in the future, we would still recommend Archived storage as the choice to make. For more information on archiving documents and the full list of benefits, please visit (here) linked

Clean Desk Policy

Clean desk policies were initially introduced to ensure workspaces were clutter free, making them great looking spaces – ones that would also help increase productivity.  It allowed flexibility of working spaces, making sure desks weren’t purely owned by one person.

With the implementation of GDPR in 2018, it became even more imperative to have a clean desk policy to help keep companies GDPR compliant – ensuring confidential files and information weren’t seen by prying eyes or falling into the wrong hands. 

And now in 2020, a clean desk policy is now imperative – not only to make your business and office compliant with GDPR legislation, but also to make it more hygienic.  If your desk is cluttered with paperwork, post-it notes, mugs and other personal possessions, how can you ensure everything is thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day, ready for any of your staff to use it the following day.

But I’m still working from home – why would I need a clean desk policy?

A clean desk policy doesn’t only relate to those people who are now back in the office.  It’s now becoming clearer that many companies will be adopting new work from home policies for their staff post lockdown.

If you’re one of the many professionals that is still able to work from home, a clean desk policy is not just there simply to provider a clearer space for cleaning.

What would happen if you were to leave a confidential file at home on your desk, and the worst happened – you were broken into and that file was taken?  What would be the legal stance for you, or your company in terms of GDPR?

What if you leave important documents on the kitchen counter and coffee was spilled on them – those ones being the only copy to work from – what do you do?

What if you have an important video call with a colleague or a client and private documents are on display?

A clean desk policy will help you organise your work space – reducing your stress and giving you that peace of mind you need.  With some simple organisation, you can save time finding important documents and know that when you don’t need them, they’re safe and GDPR compliant.

With Flexible Storage Solutions we can offer you Business Document Storage, Financial Document Storage, Legal Document Storage and Medical Document Storage.  We’re fully compliant with GDPR data protection regulations, so you’re in the safest possible hands.  With our online file management service, we can index all of your business documents to make it easy for you to track and retrieve any of your files in storage, allowing you to have your space back at home and adhere to your clean desk policy…..and if the mood takes you, you can give your own workspace a quick wipe down!

The dreaded return to work

So working from home was your dream – no more early starts, the freedom to work in your pyjamas and avoiding the dreaded commute!!

Then lockdown began to ease…

In light of the current situation surrounding Covid-19, it is now more important than ever for those companies who are already open, or beginning to reopen, to implement a clean desk policy, not only for the security of documents but for your own staffs health and safety.

At Flexible Storage Solutions we can help you with the hire of our confidential waste disposal bins.  You can ensure maximum hygiene standards are maintained at all times in the office. A simple slot in the top of the bin allows you to simply drop the documents in, leaving yourself and the bin virus free.  No more office shredders, being operated by multiple people all day. 

We’ll ensure contactless deliveries and collections and replace the waste disposal bags when it’s convenient for you.  GDPR compliance is adhered to at every level; drivers and staff are vetted and DBS checked and your confidential waste has a certificate of destruction for every batch!

The New Normal For Legal Staff

For years now, the push for businesses to implement ‘’work from home policies’’ and practices has been a conversation piece that’s never really taken off. The legal profession is typically slow to change, but being forced into the situation by the global pandemic, it has become clear that legal work can be done effectively and efficiently whilst working from a home office, or the kitchen table.

Due to coronavirus, working from home has rapidly become the chosen way of doing business for many industries, including the law. According to a new study involving legal staff, nearly two thirds  of those who took part want to continue working from home after the lockdown restrictions are lifted. A third stating that not having to commute to the office was the top motivator, followed by not having to sit through so many meetings and a fifth cited the cost saving of not having to travel in daily.

What Happens Post-Lockdown?

Through talking to individuals within the legal profession, it has become clear that work from home policies are indeed going to outlast the pandemic, with many offices remaining empty and even closing, saving on rent, cleaning, parking and more. With this in mind, there are certain aspects of the working from home situation that requires a lot of care around handling confidential documents and the storing of these files.

Having access to a cloud based documentation is great and is very secure, however having physical copies of documentation around the house can cause its own problems. From family having access to the workspace where you complete your work, to the prying eyes and hands of children that can easily misplace something that they may have knocked off your desk or kitchen counter. Storing these documents at home can be overwhelming and can lead to your home office feeling cluttered and disorganised. Admin at home can be a large task too, with the cataloguing and managing of the legal records that you have started to accrue, this can be very time consuming, not to mention frustrating.

Adhering To GDPR Regulations

Legal documents should be securely stored but easily accessible, as some files such as wills will have to be retrieved at an indeterminate point in the future. The introduction of GDPR regulations in 2018 have made it more important than ever to ensure all of your legal documents, files, contracts and records are appropriately stored and easily retrieved.

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we collect, index and store all of your documents and legal records in our specialist archiving centre. Our storage services can be tailored to your specific needs and range from will storage to long-term ‘deep storage’ to an online file management service that gives you full access to manage and retrieve documents via the Flexible Storage Solutions website.

Legal Document Destruction And Confidential Waste

Legal documents and records can build up very quickly. Any files that are no longer useful or have exceeded their retention period will need to be securely destroyed. Do you have a confidential waste bin? Or are some legal documents ending up in a see through recycling bag that goes outside on a certain day of the week? Having a confidential waste bin located in your home office is a great way to ensure that the most sensitive of information and documentation is dealt with in the correct manner. Our team can arrange collection of the bins on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis dependent on your needs

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we can ensure that your confidential documents are professionally shredded with our fully licensed partner company, certification will be issued after every destruction.

By taking advantage of our legal document storage services, you can securely store, track, dispose of and manage all of your legal files without worrying about finding the space in your home office to keep them.