You might have seen that The National Archives was among the latest batch of archive services to have reached the Archive Service Accreditation standard. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may also know that I’m very closely involved in managing the Archive Service Accreditation programme. So… how did that work, then?
National bodies are Accreditable too
Previous standards schemes in the UK haven’t been open to The National Archives. This time we are one of eight partners who developed Archive Service Accreditation, and that gives the scheme enough flexibility for us to apply. It was really important to us to demonstrate our sector leadership by getting involved with sector issues and programmes – Accreditation was a great opportunity to do that. We volunteered to be a pilot service, to test the draft Standard, and we have now gone through the full Accreditation.
Accreditation works through a principle called ‘scalability‘: archive services should demonstrate they provide a good service taking into account what type and size they are. So the expectation for national bodies is that, “They will offer visitor facilities appropriate to a national organisation, holding and developing a collection of national and international significance.” That is obviously not something we would expect of a small hospital archive or a private business collection. Continue reading »