Archives Unlocked

The ambitious strategic vision for archives, Archives Unlocked, focuses on the needs and potential of the archives sector, and realises in practical and tangible terms their unique relevance in preserving the diversity of our nation’s heritage.

Archives Unlocked is underpinned by a robust annual action plan that embodies this drive and outlines how we are working to make the vision of Archives Unlocked a reality. Both the vision and accompanying action plans are the result of extensive consultation and development work with the archives sector, our partners and beyond.

The Action Plan 2019-20

This latest action plan reports on the progress made in 2018-19, and looks at the work being delivered in 2019-20 under the themes of digital capacity, resilience and impact.

Read the 2019-20 Action Plan (PDF, 2.3MB)

Progress on the 2019-20 Action Plan

Since the latest action plan was written, a number of key pieces of work have progressed. These include:

  • The launch of our digital capacity building strategy, Plugged In, Powered Up, and the publication of its three-year action plan online
  • The Archives School, a free taught digital preservation programme here at The National Archives, has delivered its first sessions
  • The first meetings of the Digital Archives Learning Exchange (DALE) have taken place in London and Newcastle
  • Our workforce development strategy has been published online
  • The Archivist and Records Manager Apprenticeship standard is well into development
  • Collaborate and Innovate, our new funding programme encouraging innovative and collaborative practice across the sector, has opened
  • The 150th anniversary of the Historical Manuscripts Commission has been marked with celebratory events and a series of visits to archives across the UK by our Chief Executive, Jeff James

The Vision

Archives Unlocked (PDF, 12.7 MB)

Archives Unlocked – accessible version (PDF, 1.1 MB)

The Archives Unlocked vision and original action plan were informed by a two-stage consultation process led by The National Archives, which took place between April 2016 and January 2017. Sector and partner engagement included roundtables in Wiltshire, London, Manchester and Birmingham. The roundtables were attended by 179 people from across the archives sector whilst our first online survey received 235 responses. A subsequent public consultation on the draft vision included an additional online survey (which received 100 responses) and six expert panels attended by over 100 strategic partners. Throughout the consultation process, we were supported by a reference group from across the archives sector.