Each thematic strand of the Charity Archives Development Plan has associated activities, which feed into The National Archives’ strategic vision for the archive sector, Archives Unlocked. The key deliverables of the plan are:

  • A framework in which to publish and promote an action plan for charity archives including the establishment of an inter-disciplinary steering group
  • A set of best practice case studies
  • Guidance around archives management issues, including an advocacy document for charity archives, and associated training or events
  • A mechanism to monitor and mitigate charity archives at risk
  • A map of archive services that collect charity archives for use in research and for consultation when responding to charity archives at risk
  • A PhD on charity archives at risk
  • A set of case studies about accredited charity archive services
7 small figurines of elephants

Image credit: United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG)

Retention and transfer management framework

This retention and transfer management framework is designed to support recordkeeping for the charity and voluntary sector. Charities and voluntary organisations play a significant role within our society, representing a variety of aspects of daily life.

Archivists and Records Managers share a common interest in managing the records lifecycle and this framework unites approaches to records retention from archival and records management. The framework provides tools that both professions can use to manage each stage of the records lifecycle, as well as model rules for the retention of records.

Before reading the framework, please first read the special notice about documents relevant to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

SWOT analysis

The below list highlights the current perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) associated with charity archives that were identified during consultation with the project’s steering group.


  • Enables good governance in organisations
  • Operational value within organisations
  • Demonstrate how society operates
  • Important for research across fields
  • Can enfranchise missing narratives and support vulnerable and marginalised groups
  • Transparency and accountability


  • Limitations to funding and resources exacerbated by the pandemic
  • General lack of awareness of the importance of charity archives and recordkeeping across sectors
  • No statutory obligation for charities to maintain archives
  • Not all charity archives have access to archival expertise


  • Increased academic and public interest in charity archives
  • Focus on accountability within the charity sector
  • Improved recordkeeping results in operational improvements and efficiencies
  • Increasing appetite to use archives and records to support equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Promotional use by charities


  • Sustainability of archive functions within charities
  • Risk of loss
  • Lack of expertise and knowledge
  • Sensitive data and lack of understanding of data protection legislation
  • Preservation and conservation