Competency Framework

Work begins

‘The ARA’s Continuing Professional Development Working Group is working to deliver a comprehensive programme of CPD which supports all who work in archives through all phases of their careers. In order to help all those who work in the sector to plan and develop their CPD, a ‘framework of competencies’ – to cover the range of people who work in archives and records – is being produced.

What are competencies?

Competencies are generic examples of skills, knowledge and experience required to perform at different levels in the sector. A framework will identify not only the range of skills required to work in the sector but also multiple levels of competency for each skill. This will help those who work in the sector to identify their current and aspirational levels of performance and plan CPD routes to achieve this.

An example of a ‘competency level’ might be:

'Effective practitioner: Combines skills, knowledge and experience to perform at a strong, independent level'.

ARA members are being asked to contribute to a brief for the framework of competencies by developing a range of ‘user stories’ which reflects how the framework would be used.  Shirley Jones, who leads CPD work for the ARA Board,  explains: ‘If we just work to a list of job titles or general levels of work within an archive we may miss something. We need to know how you are planning to work with a competency framework to make sure that we develop a product which works for you.’

Two suggested ‘user stories’ are:

• ‘I am a qualified archivist undertaking Registration. A framework of competencies would help me to plan my personal development and focus my portfolio to benefit my future career’
• ‘I employ archivists. A framework of competencies would help me to write effective job descriptions and support my staff’

Input wanted from ARA members:

A draft list of ‘user stories’ is at If you would like to add to these ‘stories’ or suggest amendments to those listed, please comment on the discussion.