Frequently asked questions for the Archive service accreditation scheme. 

Accreditation for archive services

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Who manages Archive service accreditation?

Archive service accreditation is supported by a partnership of the following bodies:

Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), Archives and Records Council Wales, Arts Council England, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives, and the Welsh Government through its CyMAL: Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

The scheme is overseen by the Archive Service Accreditation Committee. The committee is composed of members who are either nominated by the UK Accreditation Partnership or recruited externally through open competition. Members of the Accreditation Committee are current or recently retired archive sector practitioners.

The Committee is responsible for awarding accredited status through regular Accreditation Panels composed of Committee members.

Who can apply for Archive service accreditation?

Archive service accreditation is aimed at organisations which hold and make accessible archive collections, whatever their constitution, and covers both private and public sector archives.

Eligible institutions vary from dedicated archive services and integrated heritage services, to institutional archive and records management services which may primarily serve internal customers. See the eligibility guidance on the National Archives website for full information about eligibility criteria. 

 

How can a single standard apply to archives of many different types?

As with the museum standard, the Accreditation standard for archive services is underpinned by the concept of scalability, which is described in detail in the scalability guidance document. The guidance on completing applications for accreditation offers scaled guidance on expectations for different sizes and types of archive service.

Two connected concepts support making the Archive Service Accreditation standard fully flexible: the archive service’s mission statement and its identified community. A mission statement identifies the role and purpose of the service, and refers to its community.

Archive service accreditation works with the following definition of community: 

'The concept of a community which the archive service is constituted to serve - in this specific sense the word ‘community’ does not necessarily refer simply to the population of a political unit or physical area (e.g. a local authority or town). For many archive services the community will extend beyond the formal boundaries of its responsible body (government, educational institution, private or voluntary organisation).

'The archive will probably serve multiple communities: local, national and international; different communities of researchers and of other types of direct and indirect users and of non-users. Different elements of the community may attract different priorities, types and levels of service. The ‘community’ to be served is defined through the stated purpose of the archive service.'

How does Archive service accreditation relate to Museum accreditation?

Archive service accreditation has been developed to align effectively with and complement the Museums accreditation scheme. Both share the same focus on organisational health, collections and stakeholders and their experiences. Both schemes have the same ethos of helping to raise standards and award achievement.

We are a museum with a significant archive collection. We are already accredited as a museum. Do we also need to become accredited as an archive?

If the primary purpose of your organisation is to be a museum then it is appropriate that you apply for Accreditation under the museum scheme and your application may encompass all your collections, including the archives.

If you are a museum that is also a recognised Place of Deposit, then you will need to fulfil the requirements of the Archive service accreditation scheme in addition to those of Museum accreditation. For more information please see the separate guidance document: The Accreditation Standard and Places of Deposit.

If you are not a recognised Place of Deposit but wish to apply in addition to the Archive service accreditation scheme then you are welcome to. This is a choice rather than a requirement. The schemes have been aligned so that the submission of relevant information from one is applicable to the other. But please also note that participation in both schemes will involve two separate assessing organisations.

For more information on Accreditation for archive services including what the benefits are and how to apply click here.