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.


ARA Statement on Diversity

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

The Archives & Records Association (UK & Ireland) recognizes that this commitment must be reflected in its working practice at all levels of the organization and is enshrined within its published Equal Opportunities Policy. In addition it has created a Diversity Working Group to support the delivery of targeted activity in support of this statement. The working party will promote existing best practice in terms of audience development, volunteering and collecting from diverse groups. However a key objective is to consider how to move on from this to attracting diverse groups to paid employment within the archives, records management and conservation professions.

In order to be effective the focus is on disability in the first instance. The working party will then go on to develop resources to promote other groups listed in the Equality Act.

In the Equality Act 2010, a person has a disability if:

  • they have a physical or mental impairment
  • the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities

Information on our website accessibility can be found here.


Equal Opportunities Policy

The Association is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all within the world of archives, records management and archive conservation, regardless of race, colour, religious beliefs or practices, ethnic or national origin, disabilities, gender, sexuality, marital status and age. In particular the Association is committed to encouraging equal access to education and training, employment and advancement within the profession.

The ARA Code of Ethics can be found here.      

Below are the results from our Equality Monitoring surveys.

pdf ARA Equality Monitoring summary 2012

pdf ARA Equality Monitoring summary 2013

pdf ARA Equality Monitoring summary 2014

pdf ARA Equality Monitoring summary 2015


ARA Equality Survey Consultancy Results  

A survey to benchmark the numbers of people who consider themselves to have a disability (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) within the archives and records sector.

pdf Diversity Surveys: Disability Report 2013 August 2013   


Case Studies         

We are developing a collection of case studies relating to current practice in the employment of people with disabilities within the archives, conservation and records management sectors. Some of these will be used anonymously in a Best Practice Guide or we may use them on our website with your permission. We are collecting this information to gauge current practice within the whole archives profession in the employment of people with disabilities. Please answer as fully as possible. Any case studies used on our website will be edited and available for your comment and agreement prior to uploading.

pdf Case Studies Form

docx Case Studies Form 

View completed case studies here:

pdf  Case Study 1 - Archives Services Manager

pdf  Case Study 2 - Archive Conservator


Diversity Working Group Objectives.

What do we want this group to achieve?

1) Increase membership of the Archives and Records Association by working in partnership with recognised disability charities/organisations: 1,2

2) Identify, challenge, overcome or reduce barriers discouraging archives and records organisations from employing people with disabilities 3, 4,

3) Help ensure that careers in archives and records are accessible, attractive and rewarding for people with disabilities 5, 6

4) Tie activity into overarching strategy for workforce development and ensure sustainability of activity by engaging long term partners, 7, 8


How will we achieve this?

1) Establish benchmark data by reintroducing anonymous membership equalities monitoring to evidence the impact of the group

2) Ensure the ARA website is fully accessible and compliant with DDA requirements

3) Establish a Disability webpage to bring together ARA's Diversity position statement, resources including updated Journal article and links relevant to meeting the aims of the group

4) Promote best practice within the profession by developing disability training roadshows and other methods

5) Survey members and non-members of ARA to discover statistical representation of people with disabilities within the archives and records workforce. Use this survey to: gauge interest in diversity; discover organisations members already work with; uncover existing best practice; identify mentors; test demand for a disability network; establish new research themes as suggested by participants.

6) Establish evaluation templates for volunteer and work experience placements targeted at people with disabilities to enable accurate and aggregated reporting at a national level from local activities

7) To engage the membership by promoting the activity of the group through ARA Today, ARC and at conference

8) To engage funders and partners to develop and support ARA's strategy for workforce development


Access to Work Scheme

This is a major government scheme designed to help employers meet the extra cost of employing someone with a disability, should those costs arise. It can be key to the successful employment of someone with a disability and it was designed to remove the issue of dependency by an employee with a disability on his or her 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 depends on the length of time the employee has been employed. For new employees Access to Work covers 100% of the costs of adjustments if assistance is applied for 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. Current advice from https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview or your local job centre should always be sought as when the need arises.

Archives that have used the scheme have generally found that it is 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
Contact: Robyn Williams This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Lyndsey Draper (Volunteers Coordinator)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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 - 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.


    • Turn to page 2 for Information Resources and Disability Portfolio downloads


Information Resources


  • Journal of the Society of Archivists - Volume 25, Issue 2, 2004

    Nicola Waddington: The employment of people with disabilities as archivists, records managers, conservators and assistants.

Archive work is often physically demanding and is not associated with being a practical career for people with disabilities. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), including the provisions for the employment of people with disabilities, has been in force since December 1996. This article therefore examines the liabilities and duties of all archive staff in the area of employment under the Act, looks at the motivators of change inside the structures within which many archives operate and examines some of the successes and failures of offices which already employ people with disabilities. Advice and ideas for ways forward in complying with this Act and opening up the profession for all are also included. The general aim of the article is to raise awareness and spread confidence but it is not intended as a definitive legal guide.

Read the full article here.

External websites



The Disability Portfolio, published by Resource, was designed as a collection of twelve guides on how best to meet the needs of disabled people as users and staff in museums, archives and libraries, giving advice, information and guidance to help overcome barriers and follow good practice. Eleven of these guides are accessible below:


Please note that these guides were published between 2003 and 2004 and may not reflect current legislation.

In 2005, The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council produced this Disability Access Self-assessment Toolkit for Museums, Libraries and Archives .