Planning short-term changes to services

The pandemic response has required archive services to manage their operations with different levels of access at different times. The checklist below is designed to support services at a point when access is being reduced during the pandemic. It is based on the experience of archives in the first half of 2020, as captured through The National Archives’ webinars and surveying.

Please note: None of the information on our webpages or in our checklists should be followed in preference to advice or rules issued by Public Health England, the UK Government or the devolved administrations.

New restrictions may be applied with relatively short notice, so this checklist is designed to support archive services with business continuity planning and preparation ahead of any changes. Areas where prior preparation can help to manage rapid change include:

  • reviewing and updating business continuity plans, grab lists and check lists
  • preparing for remote access to collections
  • preparing remote work for staff and volunteers
  • addressing known issues staff had in previous remote working, where possible
  • securing remote access to systems, where possible

The checklist is designed for ready reference in an emerging situation. It does not cover medium-term activities, although these remain relevant. Issues such as service funding, contact with project funders, and continuing to develop collections should form part of plans as changes are made. Please also ensure that you keep a line of communication open with The National Archives, particularly for Accredited Archive Services and Places of Deposit for public records.  Changes to access arrangements in these circumstances will not affect Archive Service Accreditation or Place of Deposit appointment. However, we would be grateful for information about changes to access and other services, and on plans for operations once restrictions have been lifted.

For support with reopening and increasing access, please visit our ‘Making plans for re-opening‘ webpage.