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Accreditation News


Museum Accreditation COVID-19 Update November 2021

Along with our partner organisations across the UK we are taking a phased reopening approach in Northern Ireland.

 Who are we open to now?

The programme is open for the following groups now:

·       Organisations interested in applying for the first time and ready to send in an eligibility questionnaire

·       New applicants who are confirmed as Working Towards Accreditation and applying for the first time or reapplying after a period of non-participation. They will need to be formally Working Towards Accreditation and will need to complete an Eligibility Questionnaire and be confirmed as eligible before they can apply

·       Museums holding a Provisional award

·       Museums holding a Full Accreditation award who have already submitted their return to us

 We should have already been in touch to tell you what you need to do next. If you have not heard from us and you are in one of the above groups, please get in touch by email to the central team

What’s happening with returns who haven’t yet submitted?

In line with our UK partners, we do not expect to fully re-open the scheme until Summer 2022 at the earliest. We will continue with the 6-month invitation window, so museums won’t need to provide a return immediately when we reopen. Although unconfirmed, our intention is to invite our first new returns on 1 July 2022. You’ll still have time to prepare ahead of the first (estimated) deadline of 31 December 2022. As this is an unfolding situation our current thinking is subject to change and further Government advice.

There’s more information on this in the updated ACE FAQ document (November 2021).

The next update from the UK Accreditation partnership will be in January 2022.

 Who’ll be up first when we start the returns rollout again?

We will begin sending out invitations to submit returns to the following groups when we reopen fully next year:

·       Museums who had been invited to submit their return for a deadline prior to or by end March 2020 but had not submitted. These museums will form the first batch of invitations

·       Museums who had been invited to submit a return and were preparing this ready for the next deadline by end April 2020

·       Museums who had not already received their invitation for return but were expecting to make a return sometime from April 2020 onwards during the Scheme pause. A small number of museums from this group will be invited. We’ll plan these with guidance from museum development and areas.


See the latest update (November 2021) of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about what’s happening with Accreditation and the plans for phased reopening again



Museum Accreditation Light Touch Review

Light Touch Review

Museum Accreditation review update – April 2018

As you know, we've been working with our Accreditation partners - Arts Council England (ACE), Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) and Museum, Archives and Library Division of the Welsh Government (MALD) - on the review of the Scheme. We want to keep you as up to date as possible throughout the process, so please see the infographic summary of the feedback we have received from across the UK.

NIMC is delighted that so many of you took part in the sector wide survey and have given us comments about the Scheme over the last seven years. We're continuing to work with the Accreditation partners to make sure that we develop the Scheme going forward to be as useful and as user-friendly as possible, while retaining its purpose of being a professional standard that can support the whole UK museum sector.
We, with the partners, will be launching the refreshed Scheme later this year.



Museum Accreditation review update – June 2017

In January this year we announced that we will be undertaking a review of certain aspects of the Museum Accreditation Scheme. Planning and scoping for the review is underway and has been shaped by the UK Accreditation Partners (Arts Council England, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Welsh Government, and Northern Ireland Museums Council) and wider stakeholders including Museum Development Network, the Accreditation Committee, and the Association of Independent Museums.

Particular areas of focus for the review will include:

·         Improving the communications about the Scheme – we want to make sure we’re celebrating the significant achievements of museums and that the benefits of participation are being promoted.

·         Looking at the process of applying and the schedule for returning participants – we want the process to be as user-friendly and as clear as possible for those involved and the schedule to be appropriate and sustainable.

·         Reviewing the Standard and the scalability – we know that the types of museums involved in the Scheme varies hugely so it’s important to ensure that Accreditation is a useful health-check and a meaningful achievement for museums of all sizes. We want to ensure Accreditation is focused in the places where it can have most impact.

·         Supporting museums interested in applying to the Scheme– we’d like to encourage museums of all sizes to apply and this requires clearer eligibility guidance and updated information around governance models being available.

·         Reviewing the Museum Mentor criteria– we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure a sustainable approach to professional advice. The review will help support and thank mentors for their role with volunteer-led museums as they are a vital part of the scheme.

·         Looking at our internal processes - we are aware that there have been some issues with our internal processes and we are sorry that some of you will have been affected by this. We will be putting in place robust measures to ensure smooth running of the Scheme in future.

A Senior Project Manager for the Accreditation Review has been appointed. Ellie Collier started in post at the end of May on a 10 month contract. Priorities include developing the detail of the project plan and setting up an External Reference Group to help guide the review.

There will be opportunities to input into the review later in the year, but in the meantime if you want to raise points which are relevant for the review please email:

The refreshed Accreditation Scheme will be re-launched in Spring 2018 to coincide with the scheme’s 30th anniversary. In the meantime we’ll keep you updated as the review progresses.