Museum Accreditation Scheme update November 2021

November 15, 2021

Arts Council England (ACE) has updated the series of FAQs regarding the roll out of the Accreditation returns schedule, detailed information is here . The next update from ACE will be in January 2022. The headline points and updates, which museums and Accreditation Mentors should be especially aware of are:

Arts Council England approach

Arts Council England is continuing a phased reopening approach in England. For all Accredited museums in the UK, their current Accreditation award status has automatically been extended to 1 April 2022. This applies whether an organisation 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.  Organisations 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.

Who is the Accreditation Scheme 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

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

Returns schedule

ACE does not expect to fully re-open the scheme until Summer 2022 at the earliest. The 6-month invitation window will continue and museums won’t need to provide a return immediately when the return schedule reopens. Although unconfirmed, the intention is to invite the first new returns on 1 July 2022. Museums will have time to prepare ahead of the first (estimated) deadline of 31 December 2022.

Who’ll be the first museums to receive an invitation to submit a return? 

The following groups will receive the first invitations in Summer 2022 (date unconfirmed).

  • 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.

MDEM will continue its support to all museums in the Accreditation Scheme.  We advise museums to regularly review all areas of the Accreditation standard to ensure operations, policies, plans and procedures are updated and current.

We have two upcoming Accreditation training events that you may be interested in, you can find the details here. As well as some Accreditation specific training films on our website.

If you have any queries, please contact Heather Lomas, MDEM Accreditation Adviser


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