Archive Service Accreditation 10-year review

We are pleased to announce that that Phase 2 of the second Review of Archive Service Accreditation is now underway.

In April 2024 the Archive Service Accreditation Committee met to discuss the recommendations from Phase 1 Review of Archive Service Accreditation (PDF, 0.23 MB) and to agree a way forward based on these recommendations.

Phase 1 of the Review, carried out by our contractor, Kazby, represented a period of extensive consultation with stakeholder groups, archive services and individuals who worked with archive collections across the UK. Through a series of interviews, surveys and focus groups, participants explored how the following themes could best be incorporated into a revised Archive Service Accreditation Standard:

  • Embedding Inclusive Practice
  • Digital Preservation Delivery
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Audiences and future expectations

Following a discussion by members of the Archive Service Accreditation Phase 2 of the Review has now been agreed based on the recommendations outlined in the report (PDF, 0.23 MB) as follows:

  • Embedding Inclusive Practice: To explore further through a series different draft proposals how best to strengthen inclusive practice across the standard at requirement level whether as a new requirement or part of existing requirements before formally agreeing the detail of any changes.
  • Audiences and future expectations: To make the language in section 3 of the Standard (Stakeholders and their Experiences) clearer and more consistent and reduce repetition, and to provide greater opportunity to include the wide range of methods an archive service may use to engage with its different audiences.
  • Digital preservation delivery: To separate out the risk management of analogue and digital collections in requirement 2.4.3 and to reinforce risk management more generally and to include the DPC RAM in 2.4.3 as an alternative to NDSA levels of Digital Preservation for applicants to complete in this section.
  • Environment and sustainability: To include an open question about that will enable applicants to demonstrate an awareness of these themes across the archive service and how the service was planning changes in this area. This area will be kept under regular review by the Committee as practice, evidence and guidance develop.

Any changes across the standard, guidance and application form will take into account scalability and the different types and sizes of archive service that might apply for accreditation.

Full details of the agreed changes are included in the Minutes of the Annual Archive Service Accreditation Committee Meeting April 2024 (PDF, 0.11 MB).

Over the coming months – May 2024 to March 2025 – we are planning to incorporate  these agreed changes across in the standard and its associated documentation. Some of the changes will be straight forward to implement and will simply require revisions and clarifications to the application form and the guidance documentation. Some of the changes, in particular around inclusivity, will require more extensive work, to determine how these will be implemented across the standard.

We plan to appoint an external contractor to take forward and implement the recommendations of the first phase of the review concerning inclusive practice and audiences.

At the moment we expect the revised standard and supporting documentation to be published during 2025 with the first archive services applying under the revised standard at least six months after the new documentation is published.

We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to Phase 1 of the Review as part of the consultations whether by participating in a focus group, the survey, or an interview. These contributions will help shape any coming revisions to the standard and make sure any changes are realistic and achievable for the many different types of archive services across the UK.