Full National Archives Accreditation awarded to Special Collections and Archives

Information Services’ Special Collections & Archives team have now been awarded full Archive Service Accreditation from the National Archives, which is recognised until 2023.

Last year in March our accreditation was officially recognised by the National Archives’ Director of Public Engagement Caroline Ottaway-Searle and Sector Development Manager Hannah Jones. Full accreditation has been now awarded as all of our special collections are back on site after completion of the new, humidity and temperature – controlled archives in the Templeman Library.

This accreditation, from the UK Archive Service Accreditation Partnership is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery. The standard looks at an organisation’s ability to develop, care for, and provide access to its collections, bringing the total number archive services achieving this to 104 nationwide.

‘We are delighted to have received accredited status from The National Archives (TNA), this is a fantastic achievement and recognition nationally for our service and teams delivering it. Achieving accredited status demonstrates that the University of Kent’s Special Collections and Archives met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing, in the care of our unique collections and what the service offers to our entire range of users.’ Karen Brayshaw, Special Collections and Archives Manager, University of Kent.

The University of Kent’s Special Collections & Archives manage the University of Kent’s unique and distinctive collections so that they are preserved and accessible for the benefit of teaching, scholarship and society. Located in the Templeman Library on the Canterbury campus they collect, curate, and manage material which supports the University’s research and teaching.

The collections, numbering over 150, are open to everyone, whether for personal interest or academic research including these specialisms:

  • the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive and popular and comic performance from the Victorian era to the present, including pantomime, melodrama and variety works
  • the British Cartoon Archive and other cartoon artwork and publications, particularly satirical works
  • the history of the University of Kent and the local area
  • photographs, scrapbooks, engineer records, and published books relating to wind and watermills
  • collections of 20th century prose and poetry first editions.
More information:
TNA have been very impressed with the pace and quality of developments and have advised that the award enables us to apply for funding from the Sector Sustainability Fund to support the development of a regional collaborative network external funding as well as enabling participation in the Major Archives Project Learning Exchange (MAPLE) – a forum for organisations to share their experiences, knowledge and plans of large archive projects, especially capital developments.


Archives Service Accreditation achieves impact at both national and local levels:

National level impact

  • Accreditation enhances the reputation and profile of the University Special Collections and Archive, as a nationally credible archive service.
  • Recognition for the University of Kent’s unique and distinctive collections, expertise and services through the nationally recognised Archive Service Accreditation award scheme.
  • Increased opportunities for collaboration with, and support for, other institutions following from independent verification of our best practice and maintenance of professional standards.

University level impact and benefits:

  • The University benefits from Archive Service Accreditation as a recognised standard that adds further weight towards grant funding proposals for strategic initiatives.
  • The Archive Service Accreditation was a significant element in the successful grant award from The Shirley Foundation for £100,000 in July 2018, towards the establishment of a National Philanthropy Archive at the University of Kent.
  • Accreditation supports the University Plan and supports the University in its objectives across research, education and engagement.
  • It enables us to benchmark our services and collections alongside other Universities who have achieved this standard, and plan accordingly.
  • The development of a suite of curatorial documentation ensure that consistent professional standards are applied across our collections and services and support both strategic management, and the everyday practical management of the SC&A collections.
  • Consultation and input from academic colleagues ensured the documentation supported the mission of the service and links to the wider activity of the University, laying strong foundations for future service and collection development.

Images: Matt Wilson

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