National Occupational Standards

This is, perhaps, not the most exciting of subjects, but since it defines what we do as a profession, it is of fundamental importance. The last set of agreed National Occupational Standards (NOS) was led by the Information Services National Training Organisation in 2000. In 2007 Lifelong Learning UK, the sector skills council, developed a revision of some 90+ competencies which were rushed through and failed to be adopted in Scotland. Recently an Expert Working Group was set a task to revise the 90+ and make them more manageable. The Standards should reflect the professional skills set and cross-refer to those already contained in other NOS.

The name of the NOS has been proposed has been changed to Library, archives and information management services (LAIMS, as opposed to LAIS). The timescale very tight, but a consultation meeting took place in Edinburgh on 9th November and there is still and opportunity to respond electronically at http://www.lluk.org/4757.htm until 26th November 2011.

Some of the issues which might be of interest are the failure to mention of reading or literacy development, advocacy and promotion, content creation and lack of focus on performance management.

Other NOS which will be signposted to include Community development, Management and Leadership NOS relevant for marketing (but this doesn’t cover advocacy as we would understand it), NOS relevant for the management and conservation of collections (owned by the Creative and Cultural Skills sector skills council), Procurement, UK Workforce Hub (Skills for the Third Sector) – volunteers, Customer Services and NOS related to IT use and systems. There are currently 17 suggested Standards. Many have titles too long and this will cause issues for the development of qualifications later, use terminology inconsistently, and fail to adequately define the skills set in the overviews. There is a general approach of not specifying format/medium- digital/print, ICT/manual systems etc. It is important to have a full, agreed set of NOS so that qualifications and modern apprenticeships can be developed for the workforce needs of the forthcoming years, so please take time to respond.

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