How long should minutes be kept in the archives?

Terri of Cupertino in California, USA has asked this question.

The answer is in two parts.

The first is to do with legislation or laws of the state you are in. Check with a local accountant as to how long financial records need to be kept – usually seven years in most jurisdictions, five in others, some have ten years – but check the law where you live.

Even though minutes are not necessarily subject to the same laws as financial records, this is a really good guide and it is smart to adhere to the same time frame as financial records.

Although it is rare, the rules or constitution of your organisation may dictate the time that minutes need to be kept also.

You must however check the laws in your state or country.

The second part of the answer is to do with the historical record.

It can be really great reading to read through minutes of 10, 15, or 30 years ago. The problem is that at the time they are recorded, people often do not see the historical value and so they dispose of the minutes.

My advice is to keep them for as long as possible if you can store them conveniently. You may like to keep a sample of minutes – say every 3rd or 4th set beyond 10 years. One thing is certain – historians find them fascinating and the more you can keep for as long as possible, future historians will thank you for it.

Please Note: The author accepts no responsibility for anything which occurs directly or indirectly as a result of using any of the suggestions or procedures detailed in this blog. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement.

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