be closed (i.e. made inactive) as soon as they have ceased to be in active use other than for reference
purposes. An indication that a file of paper records or folder of electronic records has been closed, together
with the date of closure, should be shown on the record itself as well as noted in the index or database
of the files/folders. Where possible, information on the intended disposal of electronic records should be included in the
metadata when the record is created.
All paper files should
- no later than 5 years after opening (with
some exceptions e.g. patient/client case files, personnel files relating to individual employees);
- as directed in Disposal Schedules (Local disposal schedules should
advise when files should be closed);
- when the depth of papers reaches
2.5cm limit. File covers are designed to be a protection for the records contained within. When the depth of papers reaches more than 2.5cm the file becomes hard to manage. Where this is the case the file should be closed and a continuation file opened;
the subject matter is finished;
- at the end of a calendar or financial
year where the file title relates to a particular year; or
no new papers have been added to the file for two years. A new file can be opened again if it becomes appropriate. Exceptions to this rule will be patient/client
case files, personnel files relating to individual employees.
a file is closed no further papers should be added. A yellow closure sheet (see Annex D, which should be reproduced locally on yellow paper) must be inserted
to every file closed. This reminds staff requesting a closed file that no further papers should be added. At this stage you should record on the file cover the date:
the earliest and latest papers
- of first review;
file is due to be destroyed; or
- the file should be transferred
to PRONI, whichever is appropriate.
The word closed
should be stamped on the outside of the file, using a ‘closed’ rubber stamp. If, when a file is being
closed, the subject to which it relates remains ‘live’ a continuation file should be opened.
storage of closed records should follow accepted standards relating to environment, security and physical
organisation of the files.