Where does the proposal for Archives Accreditation come from?
Archives Accreditation responds to recommendations set out in the UK government policy Archives for the 21st Century, published in November 2009.
In March 2010, following widespread consultation with the archives, heritage and information sectors and their users in England and Wales, the Museums Libraries and Archives Council and The National Archives published Archives for the 21st Century in action, to help services develop the policy’s five core recommendations. Archives Accreditation is identified in this plan as a priority action.
What has been done so far?
In April 2010 the Museums Libraries and Archives Council and The National Archives commissioned a scoping study to investigate possible models, delivery mechanisms and costs for a new accreditation scheme.
The study was carried out by independent archive and heritage consultants Katrina Thomson and Janice Tullock. Information was gathered through desk research and through consultation with sector representatives and the strategic organisations for archives in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The final report was completed in August 2010.
In November 2010, The National Archives commissioned a second stage of research to progress recommendations made in the scoping study and to develop the UK partnership and planning necessary to prepare for the scheme’s creation. Stage two will be completed by the end of March 2011.
An Archives Accreditation workstream made up of representatives from the strategic organisations and professional bodies for archives across the four nations has been established to help guide the development process.
What are the main aims of the scheme?
Archives Accreditation will be driven and owned by the archives sector
The scheme will be purpose built to meet the needs of archives and their users. It will be co-created with the archives sector to provide a practical working tool that delivers support and encourages development where it is most wanted and needed.
Archives Accreditation will focus on user needs and experiences
The scheme will recognise and celebrate the enormous diversity that exists between archives and the communities which they serve across the UK. Archives Accreditation will acknowledge local needs and priorities, accommodate differences and be scaleable and proportionate in its expectations.
Archives Accreditation will be affordable and deliver value for money
The scheme will help archive-holding organisations employ minimum resource to maximum effect. It will be streamlined with other relevant tools and data-gathering processes, including Museum Accreditation, to eliminate unnecessary duplication of effort.
Archives Accreditation will replace The National Archives’ current Self Assessment Scheme and will dovetail with processes for securing Place of Deposit and Approved Archive status, and with monitoring arrangements relating to Section 60 Schemes produced in Wales.
Archives Accreditation will promote confidence, trust and enjoyment in archives
The scheme will be externally validated and highly visible, providing the public and funding bodies with the evidence and reassurance of responsible practice, high quality services and money well spent.
What happens next?
The process of writing and piloting the scheme will take place during 2011-2012. The archive sector will play a central role in the creation and testing of the scheme.
The ambition is to launch a new Accreditation Scheme during 2012. The National Archives Self Assessment Scheme will continue to operate until such time as a new Archives Accreditation Scheme becomes fully functional.