The Archives & Records Association (UK & Ireland) seeks to ensurethat its membership, the holdings that archives acquire and manage, andthe users whom we serve reflect the diversity of our society.

Between 2012 and 2015 the ARA did a substantial amount of work around disability, including the creation of our Diversity Action Plan Disability.

Case Studies         

We also put together two case studies relating to current practice in the employment of people with disabilities within the archives, conservation and records management sectors. We will look at producing more. The two case studies are here:

pdf  Case Study 1 - Archives Services Manager

pdf  Case Study 2 - Archive Conservator


We undertook a survey to benchmark the numbers of people within the archives and records sector who consider themselves to have a disability (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) in 2012-2013.

pdf Diversity Surveys: Disability Report 2013 August 2013   

Access to Work Scheme

This is a major UK government scheme designed to help employers meet the extra cost of employing someone with a disability, should those costs arise (we are investigating to see if equivalents exist in the Republic of Ireland). Willingness to meet such costs can be key to the successful employment of someone with a disability, and the UK government scheme was designed to remove the problem of an employee with a disability potentially being dependent on colleagues.

Access to work can provide assistance in four main areas

  • Assistance with travel costs to work
  • Alterations to premises
  • Aids and equipment
  • Human support

Access to work covers physical and sensory disabilities, mental health issues, learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities.

The costs of Access to Work for the employer depend on the length of time the employee has been employed. For new employees, Access to Work covers 100% of the costs of adjustments if the employer/employee apply for assistance within the first six weeks of the job. The longer someone has been employed by an organisation, the more the employer is expected to contribute. If you are in the UK, you can find updated advice at https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview or from your local job centre as/when the need arises.

Archives and records management teams that have used the scheme have generally found it to be a very workable system, helps them to keep or provide employment to a colleague with a disability, and that it can be used to overcome the extra financial challenges that some disability adaptations might bring.

Disability Placement Providers

One way of increasing disability representation in your workforce is to offer voluntary placements to candidates with disabilities. Many charities exist to help marginalised people find work and they look to work in partnership with employment / work experience providers. If you would like to offer a placement to someone with a disability the following organisations would be pleased to help:

Agoriad develops employment possibilities for disabled and disadvantaged people in North Wales
Agoriad Cyf
Tŷ Gwydr / The Greenhouse,
1 Trevelyan Terrace,
High Street, Bangor,
Gwynedd  LL57 1AX

Tel/Ffôn: 01248 361 392
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National Autistic Society 
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+44 (0)20 7833 2299
Scope arranges voluntary and paid work placements for people with all levels of education and disability. They are currently running the Work Choice programme which covers:
1. The south east of England - Kent, Surrey and Sussex
2. North Wales – counties of Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey.
3. South Cumbria
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.