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By Susan Dixon, Marketing Director, Savenet Solutions
December 05, 2012

SaveNet Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Data Retention for EU Funded Projects – Are you Compliant?

EU requirements for data retention are pretty specific and usually relate to financial information. Here we pick three of the big areas of EU project funding and give you the lowdown on how long you need to keep your Data. It’s worth noting that there is no general requirement for EU data retention as each projects requirements will depend on the funding source.

The funding areas we’ll look at here are:

  • FP7 funded Projects
  • Projects funded by EU Structural Funds or Argicultural Policy
  • EU Social Fund Projects

FP7 FUNDED PROJECTS

Annex II to the Grant Agreement  (FP7 Grant Agreement – Annex II General Conditions V6 24/1/11 ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/docs/fp7-ga-annex2-v6_en.pdf) states the following rule:

“The beneficiaries shall keep the originals or, in exceptional cases, duly authenticated copies – including electronic copies – of all documents relating to the grant agreement for up to five years from the end of the project.” (Article II.22. Financial audits and controls, p24)

Note: the obligations in Annex II are the same for all FP7 funded actions/projects. This is the only source of obligation for preserving the documents produced by a FP7 project [that we can use] when working on E-Domec rules.

PROJECTS FINANCED BY STRUCTURAL FUNDS OR AGRICULTURE POLICY

Their Basic Regulations establish the retention periods for documents in possession of beneficiaries. For example: Article 9 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 885/2006 of 21 June 2006 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 as regards the accreditation of paying agencies and other bodies and the clearance of the accounts of the EAGF and of the EAFRD (agriculture policy) (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2006R0885:20081029:EN:PDF)

“Article 9 Conservation of accounting information1. The supporting documents regarding the expenditure financed and the assigned revenues to be collected by the EAGF shall be kept at the disposal of the Commission for at least three years following the year in which the Commission clears the accounts of the financial year concerned under Article 30 of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005.2. The supporting documents regarding the expenditure financed and the assigned revenues to be collected by the EAFRD shall be kept at the disposal of the Commission for at least three years following the year in which the final payment by the paying agency has taken place.3. In the case of irregularities or negligence, the supporting documents referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be kept at the disposal of the Commission for at least three years following the year in which the sums are entirely recovered from the beneficiary and credited to the EAGF or the EAFRD or in which the financial consequences of non-recovery are determined under Article 32(5) or Article 33(8) of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005.4. In the case of a conformity clearance procedure provided for in Article 31 of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005, the supporting documents referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall be kept at the disposal of the Commission for at least one year following the year in which that procedure has been concluded or, if a conformity decision is the subject of legal proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Communities, for at least one year following the year in which those proceedings are concluded.”

EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND PROJECTS

Article 90 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:210:0025:0025:EN:PDF)

“Article 90 Availability of documents 1. Without prejudice to the rules governing State aid under Article 87 of the Treaty, the managing authority shall ensure that all the supporting documents regarding expenditure and audits on the operational programme concerned are kept available for the Commission and the Court of Auditors for:(a) a period of three years following the closure of an operational programme as defined in Article 89(3);(b) a period of three years following the year in which partial closure took place, in the case of documents regarding expenditure and audits on operations referred to in paragraph 2.These periods shall be interrupted either in the case of legal proceedings or at the duly motivated request of the Commission.2. The managing authority shall make available to the Commission on request a list of completed operations which have been subject to partial closure under Article 88.3. The documents shall be kept either in the form of the originals or in versions certified to be in conformity with the originals on commonly accepted data carriers.”

Retaining Data and Compliance responsibilities

It is important to remember that “reasonable requirements” are to be made to ensure that data is retained and also secure. It is also worth noting that in most cases the 3 year date is from the end of the project and it’s funding so total record keeping can stretch to much longer for some projects. These days that means having an enterprise standard online backup service that automatically backs up and encrypts your data. It also means that Disaster recovery planning is necessary to ensure that any project doesn’t ever face a “clawing back” of EU funds that can put the entire project in peril.

SaveNet Solutions, powered by Asigra, is an Irish cloud backup and disaster recovery company. SaveNet’s solution is specifically designed for Mid-sized to Enterprise organizations. SaveNet offers numerous value-added solutions, coupled with industry leading features, such as: – agentless technology, FIPS 140-2 certification, deduplication, and more.

About the Author: Susan Dixon is a Marketing Director at SaveNet Solutions, an Asigra powered cloud online data backup and disaster recovery company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.

 

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