Resilience Indicator

The indicator is designed as a generic tool to be suitable for use acrossarchives and RM services of all types and sizes.

A service resilience indicator – beta version

Guidance notes

1. Introduction

This tool has been created by archive and records management professionals on behalf of the Archives and Records Association and the partners of the UK Archive Service Accreditation Standard (Archives and Records Association, Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives, and the Welsh Government through its Museums Archives and Libraries Division). It aims to provide a broad-brush and quick method of assessing the resilience of an archive and/or records management service. The indicator is designed as a generic tool to be suitable for use across archives and RM services of all types and sizes. The content of the indicators is informed by the following standards:

It is intended to be answered spontaneously through your general sense of the status of the service rather than requiring detailed work such as research or consultation. However, in answering the indicator questions you may find this prompts ideas for further action or research, or awareness of gaps in knowledge about the service.

2. Overview

There are three different indicators available (links at the end of the page):

  • An archive service without a records management function
  • An archive service with a records management function
  • A records management service

Choose the indicator which best represents your service.

The tool comprises four spreadsheets (‘Form’) covering: Archive Organisation, Archive Collections , Archive Stakeholders and Records Management. Each of these spreadsheets has a series of questions organised into categories. These responses then automatically feed into a ‘Summary Scores’ and a ‘Reporting’ spreadsheet. Each type of indicator is made up of a suitable combination of these spreadsheets.

No question is mandatory so you may wish to purely answer questions relating to individual parts of a service rather than the whole organisation (e.g. finance, future resilience, just the records management element of a combined archive and records management service) to provide assessment of specific areas. You can decide which questions you want to focus on.

3. What the indicator reports on

There are four reporting sections:

  • Position against operational elements
  • Current resilience
  • Future resilience
  • Comparison of current and future resilience

Position against operational elements
This graphs the responses to the questions under ‘Policies’, ‘Plans’, and ‘Procedures’ for each element. Its purpose is to give a sense of what the service has in place. For Archive Organisation, Archive Collections and Archive Stakeholders these elements map onto the elements identified the Archive Service Accreditation Standard. It is NOT an indicator of whether a service meets the Archive Service Accreditation Standard but it will flag up individual areas which a service needs to focus on to ensure a coherent and professional service.

A pie chart depicts the overall extent to which the service has operational elements in place.

You can go back to the ‘Forms’ spreadsheets to see the detail of how the service has scored.

Current resilience
This graphs ‘Current status’ and ‘Current engagement’ for each element. It is a broad-brush look at the current impact and standing of the service with a view to providing a basic assessment of the strength of the service at the current time.

A summary pie chart depicts the overall resilience of the service.

You can go back to the ‘Forms’ spreadsheets to see the detail of how the service has scored.

Future resilience
This is an opportunity to capture how you think the service could fare in the near future. It summarises responses to the ‘Future forecast’

A summary pie chart depicts the overall expected future resilience of the service.

You can go back to the ‘Forms’ spreadsheets to see the detail of how the service has scored.

Comparison of current and future resilience
This aims to provide a sense of the direction of the resilience of the service i.e. is it expected to become more or less resilient both overall and with regards to individual elements.

4. Filling in the indicator

The purpose of the indicator is to provide a quick overview of your service. You may wish to complete it alone or with a team. The intention is that respondents complete each question with a ‘gut feel’ of their response rather than undertaking extensive research. However, it is up to the individual respondent how they would like to approach completion.

Specific instructions for the indicator are as follows:

  • In each worksheet entitled ‘Form’ answer the questions by putting an ‘x’ in the relevant answer box (No, Partially, Yes, Don’t know, Not applicable). The box will be highlighted with the appropriate colour to provide a visual guide to the state of the service. If the box does not highlight you have probably put the ‘x’ in a box outside of the response area.
  • ‘Future forecast’ questions ask you to look forward and contemplate the likely experience of the service in the coming years. No specific time frame is identified as this will depend on the service e.g. the planning cycle, passing a major deadline, aligning with a specific reporting timeframe. The indicator was designed with an expectation of roughly a 3 to 5 year time frame but it is entirely up to the respondent what time frame is used.
  • No question is compulsory and you may wish to complete only those questions relating to a certain aspect of your service.
  • Please only put x in the box or it will not recognise your answer.
  • Do not put a space before or after the x or it will not recognise your answer
  • If you tick more than one box in answer to an individual question the reporting will count both answers
  • If you tick the wrong box just delete the entry and put it in the right box. The ‘Summary Scores’ and ‘Reporting’ will automatically update
  • You can change any answer at any time and the reporting will automatically reflect these changes
  • In certain elements there may not always be three sections marked ‘Policies’, ‘Plans’ and ‘Procedures’ but a combination of one or two of these.
  • Each question has an ‘Action’ column which is provided to note activities that might be necessary to develop this area of the service. This ‘Action’ column is entirely voluntary and has no impact on the ‘Summary scores’ and ‘Reporting’. Its purpose is merely to assist a service in thinking about action planning for development.

If you are filling in a sheet relating to records management this tool has been designed to provide categories for records management that are similar to Archive Service Accreditation Standard elements to provide a framework for structuring the tool. The use of the term ‘Accreditation equivalent’ does not suggest any sort of accreditation for a records management service.

5. Reporting
Your answers are automatically tabulated to provide a numerical summary in the ‘Summary Scores’ worksheet. This summarises both the absolute scores and proportions of the scores for each element.

Your answers are also depicted in a series of graphs in the ‘Reporting’ spreadsheet. They show the overall position for each form you completed (i.e. Archive Organisation, Archive Collections, Archive Stakeholders, Records Management) and the proportional breakdown of your answers for each element.

These graphs can be printed out by clicking on ‘File, then ‘Print’, at which point you can decide to save the print out as PDF instead. You can also click on individual charts and copy them to paste in them into other documents.

As well as the ‘Summary’ and ‘Reporting’ spreadsheets you can also review the individual ‘Form’ spreadsheets where you can quickly identify aspects of your service including:

  • Answers coloured red or yellow to spot areas of concern
  • Answers coloured purple to identify areas that you do not have sufficient knowledge on
  • If you complete the ‘Actions’ column you will end up with a basic list of activities or issues that your service needs to address to improve specific aspects of the service which could be used as the basis for developing an action plan for improvement either across the whole service or for individual elements.

6. Feedback
This is the first iteration of a resilience indicator. We are keen to know whether this tool is useful. If you have any comments or questions please contact:

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We would be particularly interested in knowing:

  • Is the reporting meaningful and useful to you?
  • Are the right questions being asked to help you assess resilience of your service?
  • Would you use this tool?
  • Was it reasonably quick and straightforward to complete?
  • Have you noticed any errors?
  • Is there any other reporting you would like the indicator to generate?

 Download documents;

Below is a link to an online training session for ARA members only;

Online Training Session for ARA Members: The Resilience Indicator