Freedom of information response

Disposal of confidential paper

Publication date: 
Tuesday 8 October 2019

1. Can you please provide me with an electronic copy of any policies, procedure or guidance which you issue to staff in relation to the disposal of confidential or sensitive paper?
2. Do you have a disposal procedure?
3. Do you provide facilities for recycling paper and how do you ensure, staff do not disposal of confidential waste in these bins?
4. Please send me a copy of any email bulletins or intranet news and/or notices pertaining to the safe dispose of information, media and equipment within your organisation

5. Do you regularly carry out bin audit\check ?

6. How do you ensure staff don't place confidential waste in the general waste bins ?


1. This is covered in our Data Security Policy (see extract below).

7.Standards for Secure Document Management

As an employee, elected member, agency worker, third party organisation or other authorised personnel, it is your responsibility to maintain the security of information owned or held by Thurrock Council by ensuring that it is accessible to those authorised to access it, and that it is not accessible to anyone else.  An important aspect of this security is achieved through the storage of information. These standards apply equally to manual records, electronic records and emails.

All staff should be aware of and comply with the following guidelines:

  • All records (manual and electronic) must be held securely. Records and ICT equipment (that contain records/data) must not be left in insecure locations (e.g. left in vehicles).

  • You should store documents to allow access to authorised users and appropriately restrict unauthorised users.  This can be achieved through information technology (IT) security controls on network folders, documents and files or physical measures on rooms, cupboards or cabinets.

  • You should not store confidential and non-confidential documents under the same access control. 

  • You should regularly review (at least annually) stored documents, files and folders in line with the Council’s document retention policy. 

  • When disposing of documents, files or folders, then this must be undertaken securely.

  • If you are responsible for shared documents, you should ensure that you understand your responsibilities and have the skills necessary to control access appropriately.

2. Not required as our policies are clear on requirements.

3. Recycling bins are provided throughout Civic Offices for use of disposal of paper and all recyclable materials. Our policies require staff to dispose of records securely.

4. See insight 13 March 2018 (see extract below)

In our day to day business we collect a lot of information from individuals and external organisations and also generate a wide range of information.

This information can be retained as 'hard' paper records or in electronic form. We may need to keep specific documents in order to meet statutory requirements, evidence events/agreements in the case of disputes, meet operational needs and ensure documents of historic value are kept as necessary.

The deletion or destruction of documents that need to be kept could cause the council difficulty in defending claims, operational problems, embarrassment and failure to comply with new and more stronger data protection rules.

Before disposing of any records, members of staff must follow the council's Document Retention Policy and Schedules.

It is also helpful to familiarise yourself with the Corporate Records Scanning and Disposal Procedures, which covers how to scan in data with MFD printers and then the process of how to destroy the original copy.

Please use the confidential waste bins on each floor to dispose of ALL confidential information. Do not use the normal domestic waste bins.

5. No.

6. Covered in our policies.

You are free to use any information supplied to you for your own use, including non-commercial research purposes.  However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Where the copyright is owned by Thurrock Council, you must apply to the Council to re-use the information.  Please email if you wish to re-use the information you have been supplied. For information where the copyright is owned by another person or organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their permission.

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which the council have managed your FOI request you can pursue an Internal Review by contacting us using the above email address.  Your request will be considered by the Strategic Lead for Information Management who will update you with the outcome of the review. 

If you remain unhappy following the outcome of your Internal Review you may wish to refer your case to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), details of this organisation can be found at . Please be advised that the ICO will not consider your case until they have confirmation that you have already been through the Internal Review stage with the council.

Request reference:
FOI 9374