Accreditation advice for North West Museums

November 2021

Arts Council England have released their November update on the Accreditation Scheme. Read the full update here.

In summary:

For all Accredited museums
Your current Accreditation award status has automatically been extended to 1 April 2022. That applies whether a museum is expecting to be invited to make a return or has already submitted a return and are awaiting assessment and an award decision.

There’s no risk of a cut off in April 2022. An award of full Accreditation is valid for approximately five years, at which point the museum will be invited to provide a return to demonstrate continuing compliance with the Accreditation Standard. Museums already holding the full award can expect this to roll over automatically until their next return and confirmation of an award decision at panel. If your last return was over five years ago and you haven’t already submitted, you don’t have to do anything yet.

The Scheme is now open to:

  • Provisional museums and fully Accredited museums who submitted their return to ACE just before the pandemic – ACE should have already been in touch to tell you what you need to do next. If you have not heard, please get in touch with ACE
  • First time applicants – either confirmed as Working Towards Accreditation or organisations wishing to submit an Eligibility Questionnaire. Apply as usual, as outlined in ACE’s Accreditation guidance documents

At this stage, ACE are not able to confirm its full revised returns schedule in England. Its next update will be in January 2022.

It does not expect to fully re-open the scheme until summer 2022 at the earliest. It will continue with the 6-month invitation window, so museums won’t need to provide a return immediately when the Scheme fully reopens. Although unconfirmed, ACE’s intention is to invite their first new returns on 1 July 2022. Museums will still have time to prepare ahead of the first (estimated) deadline of 31 December 2022. As this is an unfolding situation, ACE’s current thinking is subject to change and further Government advice.

When the returns begin to fully rollout again the priority museums for invitation will be those who had originally been invited to submit a return in March or April of 2020. Further details for these are in the FAQs document in the Accreditation update.

The latest Standard and accompanying guidance are available here

Read more about the scheme and the application process on the Arts Council website here 

Accreditation webinars
As part of Museum Development UK’s support for museums and Accreditation, four new short webinars on the Accreditation scheme have been produced.

They are aimed at museums currently undertaking a return, wanting a refresher, new to the scheme or museums which have been using this time whilst the Accreditation scheme has been paused to review their policies, plans and procedures in advance of the scheme fully reopening.

The webinars are presented by Jennie Pitceathly, the Accreditation Adviser for the North West since 2018, and Heather Lomas, Accreditation Adviser for the East Midlands and North East.

The webinars cover:

  • Getting started (and the technical bits) (13 mins)
  • Organisational Health (23 mins)
  • Managing Collections (23 mins)
  • Users and their experiences (17 mins)

Hosted on MDNW’s YouTube channel, they are accessed via the Resources section of the Museum Development UK website.

MDNW support
Since April 2015 Accreditation technical advice and support has been provided by MDNW as part of our programme. From 2019-20 Jennie Pitceathly,, has been the Accreditation Adviser for the North West, sub-contracted by MDNW to provide Accreditation technical advice support to North West museums.

Jennie is still available to provide general Accreditation advice, via email, to:

  • Museums preparing to submit an Eligibility Questionnaire
  • Museums Working Towards Accreditation who are preparing to submit an application
  • Museums using the paused period to review and prepare documentation against the Accreditation standard in preparation for when the scheme resumes

Please email Jennie directly for one-to-one support.

We intend to resume Accreditation training for museums preparing their Accreditation return when the scheme resumes. The method of delivery will depend on the circumstances at the time, and the timing may alter depending on any changes to the published Accreditation timetable.

Guidance and resources
The Accreditation scheme is managed directly by Arts Council England and detailed requirements on the scheme, including how to apply and accompanying guidance can be found via the Arts Council website –

Resources to support Accreditation can also be found on the Collections Trust website –


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