Suffolk Record Office achieves national accreditation

Published

Suffolk Record Office has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation.

SRO national accreditationAccredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage. Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery.

Achieving accredited status demonstrates that Suffolk Record Office has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing; the care of its unique collections and the service it offers its entire range of users.

The Suffolk Record Office has started its transition to create a reshaped service right across the county, with “The Hold: A Suffolk Archive Service for the 21st Century”, project.

The new Heritage and Archives Centre in Ipswich being created as part of this project is set to open its doors in Spring 2020, replacing the existing Ipswich Record Office in Gatacre Road, whilst the Lowestoft and Bury Record Offices will remain open.

The ongoing service transformation brings Suffolk Record Office in line with the latest national guidance and the highest standard of care, for preserving Suffolk’s archives.

The accreditation status awarded is provisional, and progression to full Accredited Archive Service status is subject to areas of planned development for the new, revitalised service meeting the national standards; for example the completion of The Hold building and movement of collections to improved accommodation. A review is scheduled to take place by March 2021.

Alongside a new bespoke heritage facility for the county’s archives, The Hold project will provide greater access to Suffolk’s archives via digital content, as well as a wide range of events and activities across the whole county, bringing people closer to Suffolk’s history than ever before.

Sue Roper, Assistant Director for Strategic Development at Suffolk County Council, said:

“Suffolk Record Office aspires to the highest standards of archive collections care, and today’s news confirms the excellent progress we are making.

“The Accreditation panel was highly impressed with the development of the countywide Hold project, noting the development opportunities for local communities across Suffolk. It also acknowledged that Suffolk Record Office has made significant progress in addressing the areas of weakness highlighted by the previous inspection, especially through the creation of new state of the art storage capacity so collections can continue to be acquired and safeguarded to the highest standard of care, for current and future generations.

“This is an exciting time for archives in Suffolk, with the building of a new Heritage centre and a programme of county-wide activities being rolled out, bringing history to life for residents across Suffolk and supporting the county’s tourist offer.”

The report highlights that the Archive Service Accreditation Panel

“admired the vision and extensive development activity which were making The Hold project possible. The new premises would mark a step change in preservation management for the county’s archives, and offer an exciting venue for audiences. They welcomed the project’s positive recognition of the need to reach out to broader communities across the area, with a varied access offer that meets their needs, and at multiple locations.”

The panel were impressed with the development of The Hold project, stating that

“The Hold is more than a building project, it is clearly seen as a development opportunity for the service, its partners and stakeholders, and the communities of Suffolk’…‘The investment in the service from external partners, national funders and Suffolk County Council is a welcome recognition of the value and impact of the service’s work.”