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Records Management Service

What is the Records Management Service?

The Records Management Service manages and stores paper semi-current records for Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council. Records are semi-current when they are no longer needed on a daily basis in the Office, but may need to be referred to occasionally. Records Management is an integral part of future strategy for Information Management.

The Service supports the efficiency with which all other Services and activities can operate as recorded information is essential for practical and legal business reasons (corporate benefit), but also for public access linked to democratic accountability of decision making (community benefit).

There are many advantages to Records Management. It is enables more cost effective use of office space as storage in high density record stores costs roughly one tenth of the price of storage in prime office space, and, when done properly, improves search and retrieval time of information.

Transferring consignments to the Records Management Service

Departments from Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council are encouraged to send their paper records for deposit with the Records Management Service when they are no longer needed on an everyday basis. This is either paid for corporately or is recharged to departments quarterly depending on the authority.

The service is also available for schools and academies (charged for annually). Please contact the service for more details.

Departments wanting to send material in. Please contact  to request our standard “Flat Pack” boxes, to ensure you have the right transfer form and to arrange a date when the consignment can be transferred.  Please note that we can only receive material in these standard boxes to achieve cost-efficient storage. The boxes are bought in bulk to achieve cost savings, which are passed on to the departments that use them.

When filling boxes it is important that the electronic records transfer form (ERC2) is completed at the same time. This form comes in two formats Case format, for Social Care and other client files and General format for everything else.

The ERC2 form contains the following sections:

Consignment Box Number: just number the first box as "1" and continue from there. This is only a temporary number until we designate an RC Box Location.

File Description a short sentence listing the file’s title, or description so it can be identified, and verified (with case files also add Case number / PRN Number and date of birth of the subject)

Action Date this refers to the Retention period: this is the time the file has to be retained before destruction or appraisal. Retention periods are usually established by legislation or best practice and each authority has a corporate retention schedule that must be followed.

Name Please write your name or your Line Manager’s name on the form followed by the name of your service. This allows us to return the list to the correct person and also to know who is authorising the keeping of these files.

When the form is completed and the boxes are ready email the form to who will check that all is in order and confirm the date when the consignment will be received. After the boxes have been delivered to the Record Management Service the following information is added to the ERC2 Form

Consignment Number This is a unique number created by adding the Group Reference Code (a coded description of the function of the section sending the consignment) followed by the next consecutive number of the consignments entered onto our database.

RC Box Location the number in the storage sequence we have assigned to the box.

RD Unit Number: Each item in the box is given a number to uniquely identify it from similar items that may have the same title, e.g. “John Smith”

A copy of the completed ERC2 form will be sent to the depositor of the boxes once this information is entered.

Please note that we cannot accept delivery of boxes between the following times:- 12.30 pm and 2.00 pm and after 4.30 pm

Please comply with the following or we may have to refuse to accept your boxes

  • Do not overfill boxes or fill in a manner that will stretch the box.
  • Do not submit boxes in excess of 12 kg.
  • Do not stick forms or labels to the outside of the box: forms should be sent by email and if you feel obliged to send physically put inside the boxes.
  • Please do not write anything on the outside of the box except the consignment box number which corresponds to the form, as this compromises security.
  • Ensure that the erc2 forms are completed and also e-mailed to us before your boxes are sent.
  • Please remove all lever arch / ring binders from boxes to maximise space.
  • Please get an agreed date from records management prior to sending the boxes.

Withdrawing and returning records

When you need to request back a record, simply contact quoting the following information from the ERC2 form.

Consignment Number This is a combination of departmental code and consignment Number e.g. HR 43

RD Unit Number  

RC Box Location Number

Title / File Number

Please give your name, council, department, telephone Ext., and address if outside Borough Hall.

The file will be retrieved and booked out on the RMS database and the person who requested the file will be contacted for collection. An Orange tracer Label will be attached so that the document can be returned to the RMS, booked in on our database and returned to its storage location.

Please do not remove this label unless it is to be permanently withdrawn in which case write perm on it and return it to us. Please do not remove or deface the barcodes or any other labels on the boxes as these are either for identification or storage location.

We aim to retrieve all files within one day but with a considerable proportion of our holdings now kept in offsite storage facilities this is not always possible or practical. If an offsite file is required urgently as long as it is ordered before 2.45 pm it should be delivered the following day. Alternatively we can order an urgent delivery within 4 hours but you will have to pay the delivery charge for this.

Files can usually be collected between the 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday-Friday from Room 007 Borough Hall. Files for Central and Luton councils will be sent by the next available courier unless other arrangements are made with us.

When you receive the file you have requested you are expected to take appropriate measures to prevent the loss or unauthorised access to the information held on the file. The information on the file must only be used for a legitimate business purpose of the council which owns the file.

Disclosure of personal data held on the file must not take place other than to comply with the rights of the relevant data subject or otherwise as obliged by the Data Protection Act 2018. Where the council which owns the file has discretion to disclose personal data under the Act the specific requirement of the Act must be in place (as well as any relevant code, policy, procedure or the like of the relevant council) before such disclosure may take place.

When you have finished with a file please return it to the records management service as soon as possible.

Destruction of records

The Records Management Service will arrange for the destruction or review of material at the end of its retention period. Some records are retained for long periods of time and it is vital that the Records Management Service is kept abreast of changes in departmental structures and personnel so that it can notify the appropriate owner of the records of their duties under the review or destroy instruction on the original RC2 form.