Accreditation advice for North West Museums

In 2017, Arts Council England led a review of the scheme on behalf of UK partners, driven by feedback from the sector. This review aligned with the Mendoza Review, which recommended that the Arts Council becomes a stronger and more assertive leader of museum development. Following the review, the UK partners have now developed a more effective scheme that is clearer, more streamlined and welcoming.

Download the new Standard here

Changes to the Museum Accreditation Scheme include:

  • Extending the Accreditation period from three to five years
  • Updating the 2011 Accreditation Standard, with improvements made to its focus, tone and structure
  • Changing eligibility criteria and accompanying guidance, to bring these more in line with changing governance models in the sector
  • Publishing a new extended returns timetable
  • Replacing the suite of guidance documents with a single, clearer document, published by the end of the year

Full guidance will be available by the end of 2018 as a single document covering all three sections of the Standard: organisational health, managing collections and users and their experiences.

An updated set of questions will be available for national museums and those using a nationally styled name at this time.

The Collections development policy template is the same as the 2014 version and has been reprinted for use with the 2018 Standard.

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

Returns schedule
The returns schedule has increased from three to five years so all museums will have a new return deadline during 2018-2024. The timetable for North West Accredited museums is here – North West Accreditation returns timetable 2018-24. To see the full national list go to www.artscouncil.org.uk/accreditation-scheme/accreditation-how-apply#section-3. Should you wish to discuss your current position in the returns cycle please contact the Accreditation team at ACE at accreditation@artscouncil.org.uk.

Museums currently holding a provisional award are not included in the list because they already have a deadline for a provisional review which overrides their return deadline. These museums will be slotted back into the returns schedule, to be agreed with ACE as part of the provisional review.

Museums will be invited to provide returns six months before the submission deadline. You’ll receive a letter to confirm this and invite you to reapply. You don’t have to wait for your reminder letter to start preparing for your next return. Accreditation is a living framework for making sure you have appropriate governance structures in place, your collections are well managed, and the public continue to have access to your collections.

MDNW support
Since April 2015 Accreditation technical advice and support has been provided by MDNW as part of our programme.

We will specifically provide technical advice and support to Accredited museums and those officially working towards Accreditation. Technical advice provides guidance based on the content of the Accreditation guidance documents to:

  • New applicants and returning participants preparing a regular compliance return
  • Provisionally Accredited museums
  • Museums which may require a significant change review

We will:

  • Work in partnership with other bodies delivering Accreditation specific training and/or awareness workshops
  • Advise museums regarding interpretation of the standard to their size and scale
  • Promote and signpost opportunities to undertake the Museum Mentor role and to facilitate conversations between potential mentors and museums seeking a mentor

What support is available?
All Accredited museums will be offered support, with museums that are not nationals, NPOs, English Heritage or National Trust sites contacted by us at the time they receive their invitation to apply.

  • Museums in batches 1-4 will be offered individual support
  • Museums from batches 5 onwards will be able to access support via a training programme from July 2019 specifically to address the requirements of the Accreditation standard for museums preparing a return
  • We will provide an update on Accreditation at regional meetings and forums
  • Guidance is available via the Arts Council website (see below)
  • One-to-one support is available via email or phone with the Accreditation Adviser
  • The development programmes run by MDNW will support museums to achieve or maintain Accreditation, directly or indirectly
  • In 2019 we will provide a programme of support specifically for Accreditation Mentors, in collaboration with Museum Development Yorkshire and Museum Development North East

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 –http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/supporting-museums/accreditation-scheme-0.

Resources to support Accreditation can also be found on the Collections Trust website – https://collectionstrust.org.uk/accreditation/.

What if my museum isn’t Accredited?
For museums and other heritage organisations which are not Accredited or officially working towards Accreditation, we will deliver a workshop once a year to look at the benefits and practicalities of applying to become Accredited. We will also support organisations wishing to complete an eligibility questionnaire to start to officially work towards Accreditation. Staff and volunteers from non-Accredited museums are welcome to attend MDNW training although priority is given to Accredited members.

For further information and guidance on Arts Council’s Eligibility Questionnaire see https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/accreditation-scheme/support-and-advice#section-3.

Who to contact
If you have read the Accreditation guidance documents and require further support in applying to or renewing Accreditation:

  • For Accreditation return support – Lynsey Jones, Museum Development Officer & Accreditation Adviser, lynsey.jones@manchester.ac.uk, 07748 147240
  • For queries regarding when to expect to hear back once a return has been submitted, to apply to become a mentor, to submit an eligibility questionnaire, or to receive a copy of your previous application – accreditation@artscouncil.org.uk
  • Technical queries regarding the online form – Arts Council’s customer services team, enquiries@artscouncil.org.uk, 0845 300 620
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