Following the launch of the Goddard Inquiry last year to investigate, on a national basis, the extent to which institutions in England and Wales have discharged their duty of care to protect against sexual abuse, and as the enquiry now begins to look at a number of specific institutions in accordance with that inquiry, the government have announced that no records (be they paper or digital) are to be destroyed that may be relevant to the inquiry.

Institutions are therefore advised to carefully consider, before destroying any records (current or historic), whether such records could be of assistance should the inquiry request information from them. These could include staff records, pupil records, minutes of staff meetings where staff/pupil welfare was raised or addressed, and attendance records to name but a few.

It is likely therefore that any institution that fails to protect the records that they hold, or fails to ensure that the guidance or systems that they have in place for the preservation of records are adequate, will come under heavy criticism in light of this directive.