Managing performance

Managing performance helps to develop services that are better and more sustainable, and ensures resources are used efficiently and effectively.

This section focuses largely on developing a strategic approach to managing and developing your service, and showing your impact. We also provide information about specific areas of service development such as developing your audience, and developing and documenting your collections.

Much of the available guidance on managing performance has been created for local authority services. However, the general principles can be applied to all different sizes and types of archives.

Developing a stronger service

The London Heritage Change Programme ran from 2010-2011. It explored ways to support the development of the London local authorities’ heritage services, including archives.

The programme produced a wide-ranging guide to service performance review and development, which includes practical tools, links to other websites and support and policy outlines such as:

  • policy landscape
  • how to develop a ‘Future Operating Model’
  • a toolkit to develop strategic improvement goals, including options appraisals
  • resourcing and funding development
  • stakeholder management
  • case studies

The guidance was produced specifically for London, but most of it is applicable to all types of archives, whatever their location.

Helping you to identify outcomes and show evidence of contribution

The following documents support performance management and will help you to:

  • identify the outcomes which museums, libraries and archives contribute to
  • collect information on who is participating, and their levels of satisfaction
  • use robust, reliable performance management information and sector standards

MLA Outcomes framework v2 (PDF 233KB)
MLA Outcomes framework case studies (PDF 105KB)
Examples of performance indicators and targets 2007/08 (PDF 259KB)

These resources were produced to support the sector to make the case for inclusion in local area agreements. They no longer exist, however this information is relevant to archives measuring their impact and improving and communicating what they are doing.

Raising the profile of your archive service

The following guidance shows how you can develop effective communication to support development of your archive service by informing others about the purpose, role and achievements of your service.

Effective Communications: Raising the profile of your archive service

Measuring satisfaction

An essential part of good performance management for archives is knowing who is and is not using your service, and what users think of the service on offer.

The sector has a strong track record of using this information to plan improvement, for example working with particular groups or communities to deliver specific outcomes that they value, or to improve visitor experiences. Below are some of the methods that can be used to measure participation and satisfaction.


  • while a residents’ survey relating to the use of archives is not undertaken, local authority archive services can make use of CIPFA archive services actuals (registration required) of local archive services usage
  • the Public Services Quality Group survey archives gather socio-economic and demographic user data relating to users of museum, library and archive services
  • the Taking Part Survey offers a high level snapshot of participation in leisure, culture and sport


The following user surveys include satisfaction questions for users of museums, libraries and archives: