Guide for Archiving Documents

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Guide for Archiving Documents

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Guide for Archiving Documents

Throughout this document archiving guide, we will guide you through the various processes in place to help you archive, help us find the correct archive material efficiently and deliver the correct item back to you when required.

The process is not difficult but has to be done in the correct way consistently to achieve the best results. Our main ambition is to offer cost efficiencies that can only be achieved by following the guidelines. If you are unsure about any part of the process, feel free to browse our FAQs for Archiving Documents.

Your welcome pack gives you a tool kit to manage the whole process. At any point if you are having difficulty please just phone our Customer Service Centre on 01506443240 and they will be able to help you.

 Document archiving options

Once you are ready to place archive material off-site, you will need to have a few pieces of information on hand.

document storage warehouse

Ready to box up?

  • Have you got your welcome pack with bar codes and new box deposit schedules?
  • Do you know you account number?
  • Are you retrieving by file or by box?
  • Have you chosen your archive boxes and are they in stock?
  • Do you know the retention criteria?
  • Have you catalogued the box and know the contents?
  • How do you reference your boxes?
  • If you are doing it online, have you got your username and password?

Once you know answers to all of the above questions, you can proceed.

packing boxes

Box by box archiving

The simplest way to archive documents off-site is to operate at what we refer to as ‘Box Level’. This way you fill boxes, you barcode them, you log them on the New Box Deposit Schedules and we pick them up. If you need one back you let us know the box barcode or your reference on the box and we return it to you. For your reference, all bar codes are prefixed with a ‘B’.

This way we never go into your boxes to retrieve files and have no ‘interest’ in the contents of your boxes. However, if the box is full of patient records, it’s not an efficient way to operate given that you probably only require one record out of the particular box. If not adding boxes online, you must fill in each heading of the new box deposit schedules. Each box or item must be listed individually. If performing this process online, these forms are options.

It is a mandatory obligation for you to fill in the review date. This not only helps with good housekeeping in the future but also makes sure that you only store the material that is to be kept and are not incurring unnecessary cost. It also means that we can produce accurate meaningful management information which helps with budget planning accuracy.

Lastly but most importantly is to ensure that the full box weights do not exceed 16kg which is the maximum weight guidelines for UK Health and Safety legislation. Please do not overfill boxes and ensure that the lids on the boxes are flat fitting.

File by file archiving

Operating at ‘File level’ is a little more complicated but is better suited to records that are very specific i.e. relate to a particular patient or customer.

file storage

The paper trail starts in the same way as the box except this time you complete New File Deposit Schedules and use file bar codes. All file bar codes are prefixed with an ‘F’.

This way you can catalogue or bar code your files as they go into the boxes and then bar code the box. It is not essential to bar code the files, but it does help the audit trail and increases your options on file finding and retrieval.

When you require a file, you simply ask for the file name and identify the box. If it has not been bar coded we will always bar code the file before it leaves our premises. If the file is already bar coded you can just give us the name or file bar code details and we will ensure the correct one is delivered.

packing boxes

Box retrieval and collection

How do I get a box back?

Once you have identified the box you require, you have a few options.

The best way to order a box is online. Assuming you have an access account, simply search for the box online, add it to your cart, go to the checkout and order it. You will then receive the box you have requested on the next delivery run. Normally this is on a next day basis.

If you do not have web access then you can just order the box via fax or e-mail. Faxed requests tend to be more reliable than e-mail especially in large organisations.

In extreme cases we will accept verbal requests, but understandably this must be followed up with a written request. At all points through the process we form the audit trail and that request with a signature is an important part of it.


You can retrieve electronically if you have an e-account. Initialising this process takes a few days once the appropriate authorisations are in place. For further information on this service please contact our Customer Care advisors who will deal with your request. We also offer a scanning service for archive material that is accessed frequently or if there is a lack of office space for current material.

archiving documents

We collect boxes and files on the same trip. Large collections of new boxes (more than 100) are best planned in advance and your assistance in planning for large moves is appreciated. There is often an element of preparation at the client’s end that needs to be completed for large-scale moves to ensure a smooth exchange.

Large collections of files for cataloguing is also that requires an element of planning as we always intend to offer business continuity through the transfer process.

If you are transferring from another provider once we have authorisation we will deal with all of the planning with the incumbent supplier to ensure business continuity and giving you less hassle in the process.

There may be costs involved in terminating the incumbent suppliers contract and those costs will invariably have to be settled prior to moving.

For transfers we offer full consolidation, cataloguing, packing and transport within the service to assist the process.

CustomCustom online access computer icon

Online access

Encrypted secure online document access is available to all users with unique usernames and passwords which change on initial entry. There is a cost for this of £50 per user so unless you have more than 200 boxes in offsite storage then it is difficult to justify.

There are significant benefits though which will help your cause. All details captured on the system are live so at any time you can see exactly what you have in storage and all fields are searchable in full or in part. The main fields relating to the contents and description of the box are fully editable giving you full control.

Additionally you are in control of your review dates – an ever important part of the process.

If you work at file level then we would recommend you use the online ordering. This is a far simpler method of operation and achieves far greater accuracy of data.

Purchase order requirements


document retention

Where purchase orders are required for payment of invoices it is important that you issue purchase orders for the estimated annual value of the storage and services in advance. This saves on huge amounts of time and gives you control over your annual spend. For small sums we prefer to issue invoices quarterly or annually to save on administration.

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“Once again, all very well mannered, hard working and diligent.”

Packing of medical files

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Removal of storage boxes from the attic

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