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Icon welcomes individuals and organisations from all backgrounds who identify with the conservation and preservation of our cultural heritage.  Our membership embraces the entire conservation community as well as members of the public who are keen to learn more or show their support for conservation work.

Home Accreditation Committee Accreditation CPD Thinking About Accreditation?

Thinking About Accreditation? PDF Print E-mail


The Professional Accreditation of Conservator-Restorers (PACR) implements standards for the care of our cultural heritage across a range of disciplines. Accredited Conservator-Restorers (ACR) have demonstrated to assessors that they have the appropriate knowledge, practical skills and sound professional judgement. The processing of accreditation applications is overseen by the Accreditation Committee. The overall management of the PACR process is carried out by the PACR Management Board.

To apply for accreditation you must be a member of at least one of these professional bodies: the Institute of Conservation(Icon), the Archives & Records Association (ARA), or the British Horological Institute ( BHI). These three PACR participating bodies subscribe to the PACR professional practice assessment and follow the same procedures. Administration connected to PACR is undertakne by Icon for all applicants. You need to identify with which of the three professional bodies you wish to be accredited. For Icon members to be eligible, 'Full' level membership is required

pdf Plenty of Reasons to Apply 28/05/2009,12:37 1.97 Mb Newly accredited conservators were recently asked to give the two most important reasons why they went for accreditation. This leaflet tells their story.  

pdf Three steps to PACR This is a summary of steps to PACR Accreditation and what is required by an ACR (accredited conservator-restorer)

All Full members of Icon who are working towards applying for accredtiation will be asked to join the PACR Pathway

FAQ’s about PACR accreditation

This information addresses common enquiries about accreditation.

1) What is PACR accreditation?

Professional Accreditation of Conservator-Restorers (PACR) assesses a conservator's professional practice to become recognised as a professional conservator. PACR provides a recognised standard of professional expertise beyond qualifications gained from training courses. Accreditation is a significant achievement and the accredited conservator will have demonstrated a high degree of competence, sound judgement and an in-depth knowledge of the principles which underpin conservation practice.

The PACR accreditation framework applies a common standard across the profession, regardless of the development route taken to reach a professional level of capability, the conservation specialism, or the context in which the conservator may practice.

The accreditation framework has three components:
i. a process for accrediting professional capability against explicit standards that are owned by the profession (the assessment and accreditation process)
ii. a system for ensuring maintenance and enhancement of professional capability through ongoing learning and development (continuing professional development – CPD )
iii. a means of removing accredited status from practitioners who fail to maintain a minimum standard of practice and ethics (the disciplinary procedure).

2) How many PACR accredited conservators are there?
There are currently 736 PACR accredited conservators (22 Dec 2010)

3) Are all PACR accredited conservators listed on the Conservation Register?
No. The Conservation Register (CR) provides a list of businesses providing conservation services.  The lead conservator within the business needs to be accredited in order for the business to be eligible for inclusion on the CR. Go to for more information

4) Do I need to be a member of Icon to be eligible for accreditation?
You need to be a member of at least one of these professional bodies: the Institute of Conservation (Icon), Archives & Records Association (ARA, formerly the Society of Archivists), or the British Horological Institute (BHI).  These three PACR participating professional bodies subscribe to the PACR professional practice assessment and follow the same PACR procedures. Administration connected to PACR is undertaken by Icon for all applicants. You need to identify with which of the three professional bodies you wish to be accredited.  For Icon members to be eligible, ‘Ordinary’ level membership is required

5) Do I need a mentor when I go through the application process?
You do not have to have a mentor but you are strongly advised to seek one. Remember to allow sufficient time for you to work effectively with your mentor – at least three months prior to submitting your application. If you do not know anyone who can act as your mentor the PACR Mentoring Scheme operates to put applicants in touch with a mentor. If you would like help finding a mentor please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

6) How much does it cost?
There is a non-refundable fee which needs to be paid with your Register of Intention. An assessment fee is required when you submit your application form.  If you do not proceed to assessment this will be refunded. Go to For New Applicants for current rates

7) When can I apply?
There are two application rounds per year – January and June. You will need to submit a Register of Intention (RoI) prior to submitting a completed PACR application. Please check the deadline dates for the RoI and application. Go to > For new applicants

8) Can I defer my application?
You may find, having registered your intention to apply, that you are unable to meet the application deadline or, having submitted your application form, it has been recommended by the Accreditation Committee that your application requires revision. If either of these happen you will be able to defer your application to the next round. Only. if you defer again to a later round or you do not re-apply for the next round, will your Register of Intention fee be forfeited and you will need to send a new Register of Intention form and pay the fee again.

9)  Can I pay my assessment fee in advance?
The application deadlines are fixed and there is no lea way on the dates published but it is possible to pay in the assessment fee in advance. For example, if you have the allocated funds in one financial year but you want to submit your form later and it falls in another.
Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to inform Icon of your intentions, if you or your organisation wants to pay in advance.

10) Do I need to be employed to seek accreditation?
No, but at assessment you will need to be able to show practical evidence of your work and demonstrate current thinking

11) Is PACR accreditation specifically for private or public sector practitioners?
PACR is designed for, and operated by, a balance of practitioners from both the private and public sectors. It is open and applicable to both sectors.  Assessors are also drawn from both sectors.

12) Is accreditation just for professional ‘high fliers’?
No, you do not have to be in charge of a department or manage a large business.  You can be part of a team, a sole trader or an independent consultant.  Accreditation assesses the quality of your work and your professionalism, not your current job position.

13) How experienced are most people who apply?
This can vary from individual to individual but most people apply about 5 years after completing their primary conservation training (e.g. a degree or MA), or 8 -10 years after working in conservation including practical training.

14) How do I know if I am eligible?
You need to have a thorough understanding of the different aspects of conservation practice as specified in the professional standards (described in the PACR guide) and demonstrate that you are working at the ‘proficient ‘ level. (See page 16 of the PACR guide to carry out a self assessment.)

15) Does PACR cover all kinds of conservation-restoration?
PACR is applicable to those who work as a conservation professional in the profession of conservation of cultural heritage*. There is no restriction to the type of professional conservator who can be assessed. All conservators who apply are assessed using the same criteria whether working privately or for an institution, in remedial conservation, preventive conservation, in conservation management, in an advisory or consultancy capacity or in teaching or training.

* Cultural heritage includes: objects and collections, the built environment, both moveable and immoveable structures, and natural heritage that includes building and archaeological conservation work.

16) Can I include older projects in my application form?
Yes there is no age limit to the projects although you will need to demonstrate current thinking.

17) How will I be assessed?
Two assessors will spend the day with you at your place of work.  They will be looking and discussing with you the different aspects of your work using the projects presented in your application form and any other examples of current and past projects that are relevant. They will be checking to see that your professional practice meets the professional standards at the ‘proficient’ level. To ensure parity across the different specialisms, one assessor will be from your own field and the other from a different field.  One of the assessors will also be familiar with your working situation; for example, if you are a private conservator one of your assessors will be as well. (Full details are on pages 26-31 of the PACR guide.)

18) How long does the application and assessment process take?
The whole process - from the closing date for your submission to being told the result - takes from around 6 - 8 months.

19) Are the assessors trained?
Yes, they are themselves accredited and have been trained to provide a fair and consistent approach.

20) What do I have to present on the day?
Preferably a good proportion of the projects described in your application form.  If, unavoidably, objects have to be returned before the date of the assessment, then your documentation, supported by a witness form, may provide some of the evidence which assessors can discuss with you.  You may also show other work - not described on the form - completed or in progress, which assessors can discuss with you. 

21) What happens after the assessment?
The assessors will record their findings, and you will receive a summary report approximately two weeks after the assessment. The Accreditation Committee (AC) will make the final decision on your accredited status, on the basis of the information provided by you and your assessors. (Go to > For Accreditation Committee, Assessors and Mentors to access further information.)

22) What if I fail to be accredited?
You will receive feedback from the Accreditation Committee and you may be encouraged to have a partial re-assessment. Otherwise you are free to re-apply after a year.  If you feel that the decision is wrong, you are able to appeal.

23) Is there any other possible outcome?
Yes, you may be asked to present some further evidence, either before the Accreditation Committee meets or as part of a reassessment but usually within a year.

24) How can I afford the time?
You are only likely to have to do this once in your career.  Ideally you should complete the application in working time.  Many employers encourage and support this.  If you are self-employed, you will need to balance the investment of a relatively small amount of time against the advantages of being seen as professionally qualified.  Whatever your circumstances it is worth considering this as an investment in your professional career, whether it is to gain professional recognition within your organisation or have a qualification that marks you out as fully qualified to clients and other professionals. 

25) Why should I go through this?
The profession realises that for the benefit of heritage objects and collections and for the public and owners, it is essential to be able to distinguish experienced, competent practitioners.  Whatever your initial training, the only way of demonstrating your competence is by presenting evidence of your recent work to your peers. As the numbers of accredited conservator-restorers grow, so accreditation is gaining credibility and respect from employers and from clients.  As a member of an increasingly accredited profession, your status and your rewards should gradually grow over the years.  If you work in the commercial sector and your practice is on the Conservation Register, your continued inclusion will depend on being accredited.

Icon continues to bring widespread recognition of accreditation.  Various bodies, such as the National Trust and NTS, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, the Church Buildings Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund are seeking PACR accredited conservators.  Directors and Heads of Conservation in national and other museums, libraries, galleries and archives are being made aware of the importance of accreditation and being encouraged to support their staff becoming accredited.

26) How can I promote my accredited status? 
You can add the designation ACR after your name and use the official PACR logo on your correspondence and promotional literature ( Go to > For Accredited Members to access the logo guidance).
Accredited status will inform employers and clients that you are an experienced and reliable conservator who is able to work unsupervised.  Your status will be raised to a level, comparable with other professions you may work alongside, such as architects, accredited / registered curators and archivists, and you will have the added satisfaction that your peers acknowledge your qualities as a conservator-restorer.

27) Are there any further costs once accredited?
An annual levy is charged by ARA and BHI (Icon includes this within the accredited membership fee) to cover the administration costs of maintaining PACR accreditation which includes monitoring cpd.

28) Once accredited, is there anything else I have to do?
Yes – you are required to carry out regular reviews of your ongoing learning and development (continuing professional development - cpd) and identify areas for further development. Your professional body will call in your review periodically; this is to ensure that you are maintaining your cpd and not to make judgements on its content. (Go to Continuing Professional Development for more information.)

29) When will I be recalled for my cpd review?
Newly accredited conservators will be recalled two years post accreditation, i.e. accredited in February or July 2010 the first recall will be in 2012.
In addition a random selection is made annually to recall approximately 10% of ACR’s.

30) How will I know I have been recalled?
The cpd recall letter is posted at the end of February each year with the deadline for submission at the end of May.

31) How often will I have to do a cpd review?
Approximately every 5 years. After submitting a satisfactory cpd review it will be no sooner than 3 years between each recall. Please remember that your cpd record and plan is a personal development tool to track your professional development. Therefore it is something you should maintain on a regular basis. 

32) How do I find out more about accreditation?
The PACR guide provides full details of the PACR application and assessment process. Go to > For new applicants


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