I am working with SharePoint 2016 On Prem. My goal is to add an Information Management Policy to a document library at the site level that deletes all files older than 30 days.

When I create the Document Library, there already exists a Site Collection wide policy that is set for the parent content type. This policy defines only auditing, and helps ensure site collection wide auditing is performed for documents for management purposes. It does not have retention specified.

One of the side effects of this policy, is when I go to my local site and try to add a Information Management Policy with retention, I get the message:

You cannot change the policy settings for this content type because it inherited the settings from its parent content type or a site level content type. To change these policy settings, change the settings for the parent of this content type.

My fear is if I change the settings to the parent, and add retention to the parent policy, that this will be applied to all document libraries of the site collection. I don't want this applied site collection wide, just at the one document library at the site.

Is there a way to get a local retention policy applied to a document library that already has a site collection wide policy that specifies auditing?

2 Answers 2


Yes, if you change the setting to the parent, it will inherit across the site collection. Because of this you need to create a new content type which will not inherit any policies from its parent content types. Only then you can apply the local policy (plus the policy you have site collection wide, if you wish that to apply as well).

If you have defined the policy at a very parent level of content types (e.g. to content type "Document"), I'm afraid that's a mistake. A somewhat good practice is to not apply any information management policies into built-in content types due to their nature of being unique - thus not something you could create by yourself. This can be only fixed by creating an immediate child-level custom content type, apply the desirable policy, and change your content into this content type. The "change"-part isn't trivial.


I'd just add some extra guidance to Moe's good answer. It's possible to apply information management policy settings in different ways. Doing via Content Types might be the best way, but has limitations unless you create a new content type to apply the policy to (as Moe describes).

I'd recommend reading this guide by SP Maven; he details the different ways you can apply a policy - to a site collection, content type, list/library or to a folder. Personally, since our Sharepoint is probably not ideally configured (I wouldn't use a content type policy), we're gone down the route described in the SP Maven's link in section 3. How to set Retention Policy for the Document Library. As you'll see in section 3.5, you can apply the policy on a Library or Folder - so the policy is specifically targeted to the Library, not a content type.

Further Reading

I know your question was just to delete a document after x days, but I thought I'd mention that you can hook up your information management policy to an OOTB Disposition workflow, as Kim Frehe described in her excellent post.

The Disposition workflow, initiated once the date criteria are satisfied, will generate a 'review task' - this could be useful for more important HR / Finance documents where you might want a person to review prior to deletion.

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