Disposal of Confidential Information

Importance of routine disposal

It is essential for the effective administration of the University that redundant or time expired information is routinely disposed of.

When identifying information for disposal it is important to do so in accordance with the relevant records retention schedule, and to follow University guidelines and advice.
Data Protection legislation and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 place specific responsibilities upon the University to destroy information (both paper and electronic) appropriately, i.e. in line with an agreed records retention schedule, and regularly.  It may also be necessary to keep a record of disposal.

Confidential paper waste disposal

Papers that contain confidential information about University business, staff, students, or third parties, need to be disposed of carefully.

The type of information which should be handled and disposed of confidentially includes information about living people, whether they are employees, students, or have other links to the University, and where disclosure of information would compromise the University’s security, reputation, or financial and strategic wellbeing:

  • Small amounts of papers containing sensitive information should be disposed of using the secure waste disposal bins located across the University estate.
  • Alternatively, small amounts of papers can be shredded and disposed of using a paper recycling bin. Papers containing sensitive information must not be placed into the general waste or recycling bins without first being shredded.
  • Large amounts of papers containing sensitive information should be disposed of using the confidential waste bulk collection service provided through Estates and Buildings.

Follow the appropriate records retention schedule to ensure that different types of records (e.g. committee papers, individual employee files, project files) are reviewed, weeded, and disposed of systematically.

Secure disposal of IT equipment

IT Services have a policy on the appropriate and safe disposal of IT equipment.

Further guidance on the disposal of other types of electrical goods and electronic equipment, including disposable media such as CDs and DVDs, can be found on the Safety & Environmental Protection Service's webpages.

Disposal in SharePoint

When files are deleted in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams, it is important to note that they aren’t immediately removed.  Files are placed in the Recycle bin and will remain there for 93 days at which point they are automatically deleted. 

Further guidance on managing files in SharePoint, including deleting and restoring files, can be found on the Microsoft website.