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Archives and Records Management Framework (ARMS)


A unified Quality Improvement Framework (QIF), with its strategic element “How Good is Our Culture and Sport?” (HGIOCS?) has been drafted to assist local authorities and other service providers to evaluate the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of their culture and sport provision.

HGIOCS? is designed to be entirely compatible with the “Public Service Improvement Framework” (PSIF) and "How Good is Our Council?", and will help local authorities to evaluate their culture and sport provision in that context as part of councils’ application of those frameworks. A partnership of local authority bodies, HMIe, national culture and sport bodies and Scottish Government has been developing the various elements of the draft QIF, and has planned for trials of the framework, starting in the first half of 2010.

As an integral part of the QIF, sector specific tools are being developed that will enable local service providers to 'drill down' from HGIOCS? and apply the same self-evaluation framework to particular aspects of their culture provision. Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) have produced a Quality Improvement System (QIS) - "Taking a Closer Look at our Museums and Galleries"; and the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) has produced a Public Library Quality Improvement Matrix (PLQIM) - "Taking a Closer Look at our Libraries". 

"Taking a Closer Look at Look at Archives and Records Management Services" (ARMS)

In 2009, the Scottish Council on Archives commissioned a Quality Improvement Framework draft for the Archives and Records Management sector-“Taking a Closer Look at Archives and Records Management Services’’(ARMS).  In addition to defining relevant performance indicators for the sector, ARMS aims to support integration and co-operation between archives and records management services. ARMS will serve as a vital and practical tool for archive and records management services and will underpin the future development of the sector

The ARMS Pilot

To ensure that the framework is fit for purpose, throughout 2010-2011, the SCA invited volunteers to pilot ARMS. The following services came forward to participte in the ARMS pilot: Glasgow City Archives, the Western Isles Archives, the Lothian Health Services Archive, the Grampian Constabulary and the Perth and Kinross Council Archive.

Between October 2010 and January 2011, ARMS pilotees attended facilitated briefing sessions. The purpose of these sessions was to review the ARMS framework and self-assessment process and to ensure pilotees were well prepared prior to the collection and submission of evidence for the pilot. Valuable feedback about the content and format of the framework was also gathered from pilotees at this stage.

The pilotees then submitted evidence for their selected Quality Indicator(s). In order to evaluate the evidence submitted by each service and to discuss their experience of using the framework, throughout the summer or 2011, validation visits were carried out for each participating service. The validation visits are supportive, peer led exercises which aim to ensure that the service gains maximum benefit from the self evaluation process.

Next Steps

The SCA has successfully piloted the ARMS framework and is now exploring the potential of making ARMS available as an online tool. In the coming months, the sector will be invited to a general consultation on the ARMS framework which will address how the tool can best be used to support the implementation of the Public Records (Scotland) Act, 2011.

The ARMS pilot generated an overwhelmingly positive response from participating services. It is anticipated that ARMS will have application as an essential advocacy and improvement tool for local authorities, public sector, and other organisations. 

Further information and updates about the further development  and application of ARMS will be posted on the SCA website and blog in the next few months.A current draft of ARMS and further information about the pilot process can be downloaded below. If you have any comments or questions about ARMS, please contact info@scoarch.org.uk  

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