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Business archives and accreditation


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Presentation slides from a session for the ARA Section for Business Records April 2015, understanding archive service accreditation for business archives

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Business archives and accreditation

  1. 1. Melinda Haunton Autumn 2013 Archive Service Accreditation Introductory Workshops Introduction to Archive Service Accreditation Melinda Haunton/Jane Shillaker
  2. 2. Introduction to Archive Service Accreditation: Aims • By the end of the session, participants should: - Understand the role and potential benefits of archive service accreditation for business archives - Understand the Standard and its structure - Understand the accreditation programme in outline and know where more information can be found - Be familiar with the tools, guidance and support for action planning available when they begin their own applications - Feel encouraged to address some of the less familiar elements of the Standard in their own service But not - Reading out the Standard and the guidance very, very slowly from start to finish
  3. 3. About the scheme • A UK-wide partnership to develop and deliver accreditation • Supported by coalition of partners (ACE, ARA, ARCW, NRS, PRONI, SCA, TNA, Welsh Government) • Live scheme is maintained by a governing Committee • Replaces The National Archives Standard • Supports ongoing relationships with statutory schemes like Places of Deposit, Acceptance in Lieu • Developed through co-creation with the sector and tested through a pilot with 20 highly varied archive services • Planning, Performance, Profile, Patronage, Partnerships, People and Professionalism: what museum accreditation has supported, according to its applicants
  4. 4. What changed and why? • Change within sector: digital transformation, changes to established delivery models, integrated heritage/info services • Localism: importance of co-creation/sector ownership • New-style national ‘standards’ in place: PAS197, PAS198, PD5454: emphasis on professional judgement -------------------------------------------------------------------------- • More flexibility on applicant types: broader eligibility • Scaled requirements for different types of service • Broadening understanding of collections and access to include digital as business as usual • Greater emphasis on responding to the service’s community – internal/external – and particular role of service • Above all, developmental, not a single-point assessment
  5. 5. Accreditation mission statement “To improve the viability and the visibility of UK archives” •Archive services are sustainable, effectively managed, collections are safe •Archive services are well recognised, and meet their communities’ needs •To do this… archive services plan effectively for future challenges and developments
  6. 6. Understanding the standard • Three modules: - 1. Organisational Health - 2. Collections - 3. Stakeholders and their experience • Requirements under each module: - 1. Mission, governance, planning and resources (premises, finance and workforce) - 2. Collections management approach, policies, plans and procedures for collections (development, information and care) - 3. Access and engagement with the service’s identified community • Requirements are phrased with outcomes: explaining the why as well as the what
  7. 7. Understanding the process • Eligibility • Scalability • Application system (online) • Guidance and case studies • Submit responses with supporting documentation ---------------------------------------------------------------------- • Assessment by home nations assessor bodies • Validation visits in some cases – role of peer review • Panels make awards • Feedback and ongoing development
  8. 8. Understanding eligibility Setting the scope: to be eligible for accreditation, a service must: - Hold archives - Of a reasonably significant size - Give some form of external access to those archives - Hold some archives which are analogue* - Have identified workforce to manage archives (including professional staffing in public sector) - Have dedicated, secure storage for collections *To review!
  9. 9. Understanding scalability • Gives the scheme its flexibility • Recognises statutory and institutional drivers/provisions differ • Sets broad expectations – not an exact science, your service may cross divisions • Top level divisions reflect governance/legal position: Local authority Other public sector (National) Private and third sector  most business archives • Scaled divisions: 1-2(-3) – mission, scale and scope varies, particularly in terms of audiences reached
  10. 10. Understanding how to apply • Questions An application form which asks about how the archive service meets the standard. Largely narrative, following pilot feedback. Also asks for background information (not assessed). • Evidence Documents uploaded to support application and in some cases shown at validation visits • Flexibility Format-blind in most cases. If it fulfils the function effectively for your service, the name/format is irrelevant.
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  12. 12. Understanding guidance and support • Guidance underpins the standard and application form • Specific guidance for Accreditation, understanding the Standard and ways you can respond, referencing related standards • Scaled guidance, reflecting expectations for different types • Tools and resources: • Support available from assessor national bodies – TNA in England • Wider guidance for service development, from key bodies (TNA, ARA, DPC, BL) • Ongoing development: specialist templates and support • Case studies: building evidence and examples
  13. 13. Understanding assessment, validation and award • Assessment by home nations assessor body (SCA/NRS, PRONI, CyMAL, TNA) with arrangements for national bodies • Assessment is at (sub-)requirement, not question, level • Assessment is scaled: at a level appropriate to service’s mission • A proportion of applications are validated by site visit (minimum 25%, aim higher in practice) which may involve peer review • Site visits allow verification of sensitive documents and additional discussion incl with peers • Assessments → recommendation to Panel, with feedback • Scheme is managed by the Committee, who form the Panels • Panels award accredited or provisionally accredited status (for set period), or make no award
  14. 14. Archive Service Accreditation …and business archives
  15. 15. Meet the Modules
  16. 16. Module 1: Organisational Health
  17. 17. Module 1: Requirement 1.1 Mission statement • The words ‘purpose’, ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ are applied variously and often... Collectively, these terms should describe why a service or body exists; what/where it aspires to long term; and how it plans to get there. • Archives Service Accreditation has chosen to use the word ‘Mission’ to encapsulate these terms • For the objectives of Archive Service Accreditation, ‘Mission’ is defined as: ‘A strategic statement (or series of connected statements) which defines the purpose and direction of the Archive Service, in relation to the governing body it serves.’ • Archive Service Accreditation recognises that, in most cases, the archive service is some way removed from the main business of the organisation it serves. In these cases, the mission statement may be defined in different layers and in more than one type of document. • All stakeholders should be aware of the mission of the archive service and the mission should direct decision making and activity.
  18. 18. Community • “The concept of a community which the archive service is constituted to serve. In this specific sense the word ‘community’ does not necessarily refer simply to the population of a political unit or physical area (e.g. a local authority or town). • “For many archive services the community will extend beyond the formal boundaries of its responsible body (government, educational institution, private or voluntary organisation). • “The archive will probably serve multiple communities: local, national and international; different communities of researchers and of other types of direct and indirect users and of non-users. • “Different elements of the community may attract different priorities, types and levels of service. The ‘community’ to be served is defined through the stated purpose of the archive service.”
  19. 19. Organisational Health for business archives
  20. 20. Organisational Health for business archives 2
  21. 21. Module 2: Collections
  22. 22. Collections for business archives
  23. 23. Policies plans and procedures
  24. 24. Stakeholders and their experiences
  25. 25. Stakeholders and their experiences… and business archives
  26. 26. Takeaway points
  27. 27. Take a break State Archives of Queensland: Mrs Henrietta Harriet Johnstone pouring tea at her home, Mountain Park
  28. 28. Melinda Haunton Autumn 2013 Archive Service Accreditation Introductory Workshops Selling the Benefits of Archive Service Accreditation
  29. 29. Question: What do you (and your service) most want to get out of working with Archive Service Accreditation? Tell your neighbour!
  30. 30. Messaging the benefits • Group exercise: what messages/benefits would resonate with your service managers?
  31. 31. Benefits of working with accreditation • The developmental angle: Archive Service Accreditation is an improvement process, not just a badge • Reviewing your operation: taking time to step back and think • Effective, coherent policies and planning support your case to core and external funders: a bank of evidence • Requirements scaled to your mission and scope; supporting quality, professionalism and delivery • Evidence of external interest in your service: now and in future • Publicity and celebration opportunities incl press/web coverage • A mark of service quality, recognising the needs of archives • Peer support and ongoing professional development • It’s free! Including all support, advice, feedback and advocacy
  32. 32. Support to sell the benefits • Group exercise: who can help to sell the benefits of Accreditation, and how? • What can you do alone/in-service? • What else would help? • How can ARA and SBR help? • Accreditation programme? • Wider sector?
  33. 33. Melinda Haunton Autumn 2013 Archive Service Accreditation Introductory Workshops Working with Archive Service Accreditation
  34. 34. How to use Archive Service Accreditation • Developing your application → looking at your available resource, your stated mission, and how the two can come closer • Ensuring policies (why we do things), plans (how we get there) and procedures (how we deliver) all point in the same direction • Feedback on applications leads to action planning for the future • Successful applications → good news stories and publicity opportunities • Unsuccessful applications or not able to apply? → Use that in advocacy and planning, work with The National Archives and home nations to develop • Use the Standard as a development framework where helpful, for service and for individuals
  35. 35. Action planning • Planning your service’s response in advance is key to benefiting • Are you clear about why and how you do things? • What areas are new? What are you close to meeting? • When developing plans for the coming year(s), what are priority actions that bring you closer to Accreditation? • What will be useful to your service in future? • Is there an opportunity for profile-raising? • When could you (realistically) apply? What factors affect this? • Remember we’re neither expecting perfection nor imposing specific documentation • Action planning template available if it helps
  36. 36. Lessons from museums (courtesy of @emmachaplin)  Museums understand where regular ways of working fit with Standard  Understand where strengths and weaknesses are and incorporate them into planning  There is an understanding throughout the museum about what Accreditation involves  The Forward Plan is a key ‘living’ document for the museum  Staff/volunteers get confidence and skills through work on Accreditation Museums forget all about Accreditation in between submitting returns There is a mad panic to ‘tick boxes’ One person in the organisation is given all the responsibility for getting through Accreditation Policies/plans only written to fulfill Accreditation needs, not reviewed Accreditation is seen as a “necessary evil”
  37. 37. Melinda Haunton Autumn 2013 Archive Service Accreditation Introductory Workshops Taking Accreditation Forward
  38. 38. More information: this is just the start! • Scheme homepage: All documentation and guidance specific to the scheme is on this area of • You can also find out more supporting information in Developing Your Archives ( ) • Case studies on specific areas ( studies.htm) • If you’re interested in developing model policies and plans for particular sectors, get in touch
  39. 39. So (when) will you apply? accreditation@