Retention of Documents
Objective 1 Programme 2000-2006
All Structural Fund programmes and Community Initiatives that operated during the 2000 to 2006 programme have been successfully closed. All document retention periods have lapsed and project files can now be destroyed.
Convergence Programmes 2007 - 2013
Project sponsors are responsible for maintaining adequate records (IT, paper, other recording media) to fully document all project records, including financial and accounting records and for making them available, as required, to WEFO and to auditors. Failure to provide supporting documentation relating to Structural Funds activity will result in a claw-back of grant funding.
All project documentation must be retained until the ‘documentation retention period’ has lapsed. WEFO will add further dates as they are confirmed by the European Commission.
State aid rules may require a longer document retention period. It is your responsibility to clarify and adhere to any state aid rules.
Convergence Programmes 2007 - 2013
|Programme||Fund||Document retention period|
West Wales and the Valleys ESF Convergence
3 June 2023
West Wales and the Valleys ERDF Convergence
24 September 2024
Download a copy of the WEFO Convergence 2007-2013 Management and Retention of Records Guidance.
ESI Programmes 2014 – 2020
Project sponsors are responsible for maintaining adequate records (IT, paper, other recording media) to fully document all project records, including financial and accounting records and for making them available, as required, to WEFO and to auditors. Failure to provide supporting documentation relating to Structural Funds activity will result in a claw-back of grant funding. This means retention until at least until 2026, but the project sponsor must retain all documents until WEFO advises otherwise.
Download a copy of the WEFO ESI 2014-2020 Best Practice Guide - Preparing for Project Closure.
Project sponsors also need to consider any additional requirements (including extended retention periods) that may be required relating to projects involving an element of State Aid – not only will you be required to keep records for the retention period of the programme, but as the state aid record retention period is normally 10 years from the date on which the last individual aid was granted, this period could extend beyond the period generally applicable to projects (three years following the formal closure of the Operational Programme) and therefore records relating to aid must still be retained until the State Aid record retention period has elapsed.
Document Management and Retention Policy
All EU funded projects must have a Document Management and Retention policy which should include storage instructions, retention dates and provide details of any protocols for management of sensitive data. It should also provide details of the location of documents especially in circumstances where the project lead sponsor is working with joint sponsors and/or where a project has procured services and the records are not being kept by the lead sponsor. Where records are kept electronically they should be available in a form that can be fully retrievable for the retention period set out in WEFO guidance. This should form part of the project archive.
The Lead Sponsor is responsible for the retention of all of the records for a project, so the policy should also detail the systems in place for the retrieval of those records/documents from a third party contractor in circumstances where they are unable to keep the records/documents. Where the lead sponsor cannot obtain a guarantee of this from other parties the project sponsor must retrieve all records for retention and audit purposes.
For more information on Retention and Management of Documents visit the Welsh European Funding Office
Last Modified: 07/01/2022
Back to top