Today we are publishing the new Archive Service Accreditation Standard, and its supporting guidance.
I’m more pleased than I can express here to be able to write that sentence. I’ve been closely involved in developing Archive Service Accreditation with partners for 18 months, and it has been a sector-wide aim for much longer than that. So, personally, it’s a day of real celebration. We’re crossing the finishing line of a marathon effort.
I hope it’s a day of celebration across the archives sector too. That’s certainly our intention: that this new standard should be a real support and guide for the sector in the coming years.
The new Standard sets out expectations for an archive service in three key areas:
- Organisational Health
Is this a service that can define why it exists, what it is aiming to do and for whom? Does it plan effectively, is the governance and reporting in place to offer robust support? And does it have the resource (premises, people and funding capacity) to deliver what it aims to?
Collections are at the core of work with archives – so does this service collect effectively to reflect the community it serves? Does it describe its collections in a way that follows standards and allows information to be shared? And of course, are collections secure, well cared for and at minimal risk? If the answer is no to any of this, what is the service currently doing to improve things?
- Stakeholders and their Experiences
Every service has stakeholders, but how well are their needs understood? Is access to collections offered in ways that work for users as well as the service? What is the offer to parent organisations or depositors who have loaned collections for public benefit?