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SCARRS Project Background

This section of the site provides you with background on the SCARRS project and will be kept up to date to reflect current progress.

Project Background

The SCA carried out a project to create generic retention schedules for Scottish local authority records. The schedules are freely available to help local authorities determine what series of records should be kept, and for how long. This was to help achieve consistency across local authorities and to reduce the amount of duplicated effort involved in Records Managers regularly researching legislation and guidelines for themselves.

The delivery of the schedules has proved timely, coinciding with the recent passing of new legislation concerning record keeping in Scotland, the Public Records (Scotland) Act, 2011. An examination of record keeping practices and existing legislation was prompted by Tom Shaw’s ground-breaking report, Historical Abuse Systemic Review by Tom Shaw (2007). In part, the report focussed on the records of residential schools and children’s homes in Scotland, and highlighted the need for the management and preservation of historical records to ensure access for former residents.  


The generic retention schedules are based around the functionality of local authorities, following the structure of the Local Government Classification Scheme (LGCS) developed by the Information and Records Management Society. They cover retention driven by legislation  and regulation, as well as overall business requirements. As the schedules cover internal functions such as finance, human resources and management as well as front line services, they should also prove a useful resource for the wider Scottish Public sector community.


Draft schedules were drawn up, informed by a number of robust retention schedules already in existence in Scotland and the UK, both generic and SLA specific. These were then reviewed by volunteers from among the IRMS and ASLAWG membership who, where possible, involved relevant colleagues in the services to which the schedules related. Several workshops were also run to discuss issues relating to schedule development and implementation, the output of which was used to enhance the schedules themselves and to develop associated guidance.

Next Steps

The next step will see the implementation of a reviewing mechanism for the ongoing maintenance, updating and development of the schedules. An agreed review mechanism will be put into place to address omissions, errors, amended legislation and changes within the SLAs and broader Scottish public sector environment to ensure that the schedules remain fit for purpose.