In response to queries, the Archive Service Accreditation programme partners and governing Committee want to update award holders and applicants as to how the programme will respond to escalating public health measures against the outbreak of Covid-19. Above all, we do not want Accreditation to be an additional concern at a time when archive service management and planning is under considerable strain.
Exceptional service reductions and closures
We recognise that Accredited archive services will be required to close for periods under public health guidance, or as a result of individual institutional risk management. We have had enquiries from services undertaking contingency planning for long-term closure scenarios. If services remain open, it is likely they will need to reduce their offer if staff are unable to come to work due to health concerns or caring responsibilities, or are redeployed by parent organisations. We want to reassure all award-holders that we recognise the current circumstances are exceptional, and that reduced service due to the pandemic will not affect Accreditation status.
Arrangements for applications and assessments
The programme remains open for applications. Site validation visits for new applications will be considered on a case by case basis. Where necessary we will seek to replace these with conference calls. While this is not a full substitute for viewing premises and meeting a range of staff in person, we will work with assessment panels to ensure that applicants who are not visited in person are not disadvantaged. In some cases, this may mean postponing consideration of the award until a site visit can form part of the assessment process.
Arrangements for provisional awards and midpoint reviews
The programme remains open for scheduled reviews. We recognise that some archive services will have reduced staffing during the outbreak, and will not have capacity to meet their scheduled submission date. Please let your assessor body know if this is the case, stating whether you need a time-limited extension or an extension for the duration of the outbreak. Your Accreditation status will not be affected if you need to postpone a review in these circumstances.
Possible future schedule changes
We currently aim to deliver the programme as planned during the Covid-19 period. However, some of the provisions above may mean applications come in at an irregular pace. Our staff capacity may also be affected at times, so that assessment and award schedules may have to change. We will keep you fully informed if so, and your Accreditation status will not be affected. If a backlog of cases develops during or at the end of the current restrictions, we may take some time to clear it. We hope you will bear with us in getting back to normal service.