Organisations delivering European funded projects are required to maintain adequate project records and make them available to the Welsh Government and to auditors when requested. As we are approaching the end of the European Structural and Investment Fund programmes in Wales, we have gathered all the key dates and information that is currently available about the document retention periods across all three funding programmes since 2000.
The previous two programmes have been closed and the document destruction dates are included in the tables below.
2000-2006 EUROPEAN STRUCTURAL FUND AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVE PROGRAMMES
|Programmes and Community Initiatives supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)||Document Retention Period|
|URBAN II||25 February 2014|
|INTERREG IIIA||7 April 2016|
|Objective 2 & Objective 2 Transitional||10 December 2016|
|Objective 1||30 April 2017|
|Programmes supported by the European Social Fund (ESF)||Document Retention Period|
|Objective 1||2 June 2017|
|Objective 3||9 October 2017|
|Programme supported by the Financial Instruments for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG)||Document Retention Period|
|Objective 1||1 July 2017|
|Programmes and Community Initiatives supported by the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)||Document Retention Period|
|LEADER+||18 November 2014|
|Objective 1||30 September 2017|
2007-2013 EU STRUCUTRAL FUNDS PROGRAMMES
|Programme||Document Retention Period|
|East Wales European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regional Competitiveness and Employment||21 August 2022|
|East Wales European Social Fund (ESF) Regional Competitiveness and Employment||2 April 2023|
|West Wales and the Valleys ESF Convergence||3 June 2023|
|West Wales and the Valleys ERDF Convergence||24 September 2024|
2014 – 2020 STRUCUTRAL FUNDS PROGRAMMES
Unlike in the previous programmes, retention periods are no longer linked to the programme closure process, which means that average retention periods will reduce to between 5 and 10 years from the date that a project declares expenditure to WEFO or, if applicable, to an Intermediate Body (such as WCVA, for those organisations that receive funding from the Active Inclusion or Social Business Growth Funds). This means retention until at least 2027, but as WEFO guidance states, beneficiaries must retain all documents until WEFO advises otherwise.
If you are currently delivering an EU Structural Funds project, please refer to WEFO’s best practice guidance for further details on preparing for project closure.
3-SET has also produced a project closure online module which is available for free on the Knowledge Hub.
If you have any questions about the document retention periods or project closure, please contact 3-SET on firstname.lastname@example.org.