What is Accreditation?

The Accreditation Scheme is the UK industry standard for museums and galleries.  It helps everyone involved with a museum to do the right things, helping people to access and engage with collections, and protect them for future generations.

The Accreditation Scheme encourages all museums and galleries to meet an agreed standard in:

  • How they’re run
  • How they manage their collections
  • How they engage with their users

To find out more about the scheme, visit Arts Council England Accreditation page.

You can also check if your organisation is Accredited.


Thinking about applying for Accreditation for the first time?

Have a chat with your county Museum Development Officer.

Look at the Accreditation Standard so you know what’s involved and check if your organisation meets the eligibility criteria.  If it does, you will need to complete an Eligibility Questionnaire and send it to Arts Council England for assessment.  They aim to give you a decision within 6 weeks.

If you are deemed eligible, you will be given Working Towards Accreditation status and have 3 years to complete a full Accreditation application.


When does my museum have to submit a return?

Following the pause of the Accreditation Scheme as a result of Covid-19, Arts Council England published an interim returns schedule. Those museums due to complete returns in 2023 have now been contacted. If your museum is not included in the interim schedule, you don’t need to send Arts Council anything until you are asked for it. Your museum will remain fully Accredited.

The next invitation rollouts will start from January 2024. The detailed schedule confirming which museums will be invited to submit their return in 2024 will be published on the Arts Council website in autumn 2023. Museums will be prioritised based on the date of their last award, so if your last award was in 2015 you should expect to be invited earlier in 2024. If your last award was in 2017 or later, it is unlikely that you will be invited to submit a return in 2024. Further details about the 2024 Returns schedule can be found on the Arts Council England website.

Museums do not need to wait for an invite or return date to begin preparing for their return. Arts Council have published some guidance about how you can prepare for your Accreditation return in advance Accreditation: Maintaining the requirements between returns

If you think you may struggle to meet your deadline, or have any questions, please get in touch with the SHARE regional Accreditation Advisor. Or alternatively, contact the Accreditation team at Arts Council England.


What resources are available to help me submit a return?

To get started, download the Accreditation Guidance.

All returns and applications must be submitted via Grantium, the Arts Council online portal.  If you don’t already have a profile set up for your museum, you will need to do this.  It is not instant, so do allow enough time before your submission deadline.  The Arts Council have produced some useful guidance documents for using Grantium:

Getting Started on Grantium

Completing Your Application on Grantium

Remember to save your login and password details somewhere safe, so that you can find them again for your next return!

You can also find a helpful list of toolkits, templates and guides on the Collections Trust website for everything from Forward Planning to Risk Assessment.


Accreditation Advice for the East of England

Whatever stage you are at, SHARE Museums East can support you with Accreditation.  We will:

  • Provide an Accreditation Advisor who is able to answer queries about eligibility or membership of the scheme
  • Offer site visits and advice via phone or email
  • Help find you an Accreditation Mentor if appropriate
  • Share useful guidance documents and resources
  • Run training to help museums achieve, maintain and develop areas of Accreditation work
  • Offer grants that support Accreditation
  • Support is also available at a county level from your local Museum Development Officers.


Accreditation Mentors

We need museum staff from all backgrounds to support smaller museums with no professional staff to meet the Accreditation standards.  If you are interested in CPD opportunities and the chance to make a real difference to local museums, please contact your county Museum Development Officer. To find out more, see Arts Council’s information about Accreditation Mentors.


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