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Maintaining Safe and Accurate Records

By 2nd December 2015No Comments

Every early years provides, whether a nursery, preschool or childminder, has a fundamental responsibility to maintain records relating to the children in its care. Ofsted has set out the key requirements and guidelines regarding the nature of the information to be held, alongside the requirements of Data Protection legislation. It is important that proper storage facilities are in place to allow authorised persons to have efficient accessibility, whilst the confidentiality of staff and children is protected.

Document Management

There are two approaches to document management: maintaining paper records; and using electronic documentation, whether scanned in from paper documents, or information entered directly using IT services:

  • Paper documents need to be filed so that they can be easily updated and accessed by staff and parents, and must be kept securely. Once the child has left the setting, the documents need to be archived. The retention period must follow the regulator’s guidelines, and eventually the documents need to be securely destroyed. For many settings this will be the simplest method of working, although there are implied staff overhead costs, premises costs and the risk of losing or destroying documents in error.
  • Electronic documentation can either be information collected electronically (computers, data pads, smart phones) or paper documents scanned into a computer system. Such systems offer reduced overhead costs and better security of documents; however, the costs of the system needs to be thoroughly checked, particularly set-up costs and contract term. It is essential to choose your supplier well, to ensure that there are proper back-up procedures and screening of staff, as well as technical and physical security provisions.


Document management suppliers provide a service to safeguard paper documents in external locations. Key issues to check are the physical security of the building, fire and damage protection, costs for depositing documents, indexing the contents, storing, retrieving and destroying boxes, and the screening of staff. This is a complex area, and the costs need careful consideration.

Auditel is a regular contributor to Teach Early Years Magazine.