Aims and approach


The overall aim of The Charity Archives Development Plan is to raise the profile of charity archives. Working collaboratively alongside the charity archive sector and other stakeholders, The National Archives will implement this action plan which will complement the work of existing networks. The purpose of the plan is to:

  • Promote the value of archives and records to charitable organisations for institutional identity, good governance, supporting transparency and accountability, and enfranchising missing narratives
  • Encourage effective management and preservation of charity archives and records
  • Raise the profile of charitable collections as cultural and research assets with the public, academic community and archive sector, highlighting their value as sources of personal and collective memory
  • Raise awareness of the importance of archives and recordkeeping with charitable umbrella organisations and regulators, and advocate for the development of standards of recordkeeping for registered charities
  • Expand and develop effective networks and partnerships between archivists working with charity collections in the public, private and academic sectors
  • Improve the capacity of charity archivists and records managers through better advocacy and professional training


A flyer titled 'Islamic Relief: Rwanda Appeal'

Image credit: Islamic Relief Archive

The project will take a phased approach:

Phase 1

  • Develop and publish action plan
  • Create mechanism for risk mitigation

Phase 2

  • Develop resources, guidance and training
  • Engage umbrella organisations

Phase 3

  • Embed work with decision-makers and regulators


  • Support and advise charity archives / collections
  • Encourage charity archives to become accredited
  • Liaise with networks and initiatives


Working with a steering group of key stakeholders, The National Archives will publish, promote and regularly review this plan. The plan will focus on three main themes:

Research and regulation

  • Foster links with the academic sector, supporting research that uses charity collections and/or focuses on charity archives
  • Advocate for the development of minimum standards for recordkeeping for registered charities with charitable umbrella organisations and regulators
  • Supporting the documentation and mapping of collections

Guidance and support

  • Provide advice and support to charity archives and collections
  • Support and encourage charity archives to apply for and retain Archive Service Accreditation
  • Develop guidance around archives management issues
  • Develop a risk mitigation and monitoring mechanism

Advocacy and partnerships

  • Support the development of, and links between, existing and new networks and initiatives
  • Create an advocacy tool or document for charity archives


As a result of this work:

  • Established and emerging charity archives are supported in their development
  • Standards of best practice are improved across charity archive collections through the development and dissemination of guidance, and more archives use the Archives Service Accreditation standard
  • There is improved knowledge on current and emerging issues facing charity archives and these are understood by the sector and The National Archives
  • There is improved public and sector knowledge of charity archives. This will be achieved by supporting the documentation and mapping of collections, and the promotion of appropriate tools such as Manage Your Collections
  • Risks to charity records are better understood and planned for within the sector, resulting in charity records facing less risk through dispersal, sale or destruction
  • Existing and new sector networks continue to develop, support their members, and collaborate with one another and regional thematic archive networks
  • The academic sector is aware of the value of charity archives, leading to partnership opportunities and research projects that use charity collections and/or focus on the charity archive sector
  • Charitable umbrella organisations and regulators are aware of the challenges facing charity archives and records and the need to explore methods to improve these, such as developing minimum standards of recordkeeping for registered charities