Archive Service Accreditation Standard

Covid-19 and Archive Accreditation Update (August 2021)

Archive Service Accreditation has been suspended in Scotland during the course of the pandemic for applications, re-applications and reviews. This has been partly due to reduced or severely limited capacity of services and assessors and to restrictions on travel during lockdown. We understand that for many services the situation is still uncertain and difficult and, accordingly, are happy to discuss requests for delays to reviews or re-applications. However, as accreditation is continuing in some of the other home nations, we wish to re-start the process in Scotland for those in a position to submit applications as soon as is practicable.

We propose that potential applicants should confirm their intention to apply by early October 2021 by emailing and complete the application process by early December 2021, with a view to arranging visits from assessors in early Spring. The application will then go to the Accreditation Panel in March 2022.


The UK-wide Archive Service Accreditation standard defines good practice and identifies agreed standards, encouraging and supporting service development. It is aimed at organisations that hold archive collections and covers both private and public sector archives. It enables archive services to review and develop their policies, plans and procedures, identifying strengths of the archive service and providing a framework to improve areas of weakness.

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The UK National Archives, and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

Guidance for Scottish Services

The UK National Archives (TNA) is responsible for co-ordinating applications from across the UK with home nation assessor bodies. The Scottish Council on Archives and National Records of Scotland work in partnership to perform this role in Scotland. You can contact the Scottish Assessment Team by emailing:

The Assessment Team in Scotland will be accepting six applications annually. There is an approximately three-month review period for each application, aligned with the Panel meeting dates. We will do our best to accommodate your preferred dates, however applications will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Each review in Scotland will include an onsite assessment visit.

Expressions of interest from services intending to apply can be submitted at any time. This can be provisional and is not binding however, you will be requested to confirm at least one month before your application is due for submission. Following this, there are several stages to the assessment process in Scotland and some key dates:

Initial Expression of Interest: contact from the service advising the Scottish Assessment Team of the intention to apply. This should be emailed to and include (a) name of service, (b) lead contact(s) name, email and phone details and (c) first and second choices for a preferred panel meeting date at which the application will be reviewed.

Assessment Review: The Assessment Team will confirm the next available application review period and Panel meeting date. The application review period lasts for approximately three months. It begins with the online submission of the application and ends with the Panel meeting. For example, if a service wishes to be reviewed at a Panel meeting in November, the application should be submitted in early July.

Assessment Timetable: An initial timetable will be mutually agreed between the Assessment Team and the service. This will include details about the application review, assessment visit and outcome.

Documentation & Further Information

We recommend you begin by exploring the various Archive Service Accreditation web pages and supporting documentation published by the UK National Archives. The documentation is reviewed regularly and the most up to date versions can be accessed from the UK National Archives website.

If you are in the early stages of preparing for archive accreditation, the Archives and Records Management Services Quality Framework (ARMS) can help. The framework is a self-evaluation tool that has been mapped to the accreditation standard. ARMS can also be helpful in maintaining accredited status.

Contact Information

The Assessment Team in Scotland are available to help with any questions you might have. Please email us at:

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