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Standard and guidance for archaeological advice by historic environment services
#1
IfA and ALGAO, with funding from English Heritage, Historic Scotland and Cadw, are developing an IfA Standard and guidance to cover the role of providing archaeological advice primarily, but not exclusively, through local authority historic environment services.


Following a survey of current practice, nationwide workshops to explore key issues and consultation with selected stakeholders, a draft Standard and guidance is now being issued for formal consultation.
Following the consultation, the intention is for a revised draft to be proposed for interim adoption at an Extraordinary General Meeting at the IfA Conference in April 2012.


The draft Standard and guidance and an accompanying letter from Peter Hinton, IfA Chief Executive and Stewart Bryant, Chair of ALGAO UK can be downloaded here. Comments can be sent by email to consultation@archaeologists.net or by post to Standard and guidance consultation at the IfA address. The deadline for responses is 5pm on Friday 17 February.


Interesting passages:


Page 15
The quality criteria for any work required and any standards or benchmarks to be met must be clearly set out in the brief. These criteria should always specify the use of appropriate specialists with accredited and documented competency to carry out the requirements of the brief. Where proportionate to the significance of the asset and the impact of the proposed change to it, advisors should consider recommending or requiring work to be done by an accredited IfA Registered Organisation to ensure the quality management of the work.




Page 17
9.7 Archive deposition
Advisors are responsible for ensuring that the archives of development-led archaeological investigations are deposited in a suitable repository. They should seek to ensure that, prior to the commencement of investigations, applicants or their agents establish contact with repositories willing to accept archaeological archives, or alternatively identify appropriate temporary storage.
Quote: Not sure how this relates to Scottish requirements?


page 20

Advisors must seek to ensure that archaeological investigation is undertaken only by individuals or practices that demonstrate they meet IfA standards, and may require that investigation is carried out only by corporate members of the IfA, by an IfA Registered Organisation or their EU equivalent (Southport Group 2010 Rec. 24).



Advisors may require that suppliers be professionally accredited. There is no competition law bar in principle to advisors imposing a requirement that suppliers be professionally accredited, and IfA registration through the Registered Organisation scheme could be a justifiable measure of accreditation in accordance with legal advice provided to the IfA (Ref. http://www.archaeologists.net/ sites/default/files/node-files/ta77.pdf.).



Accredited suppliers under the IfA Registered Organisation scheme reduce the risk to applicants of selecting a supplier who will not meet industry standards, and ensure that there is recourse to a third party (IfA as accreditation provider) in the instance that quality criteria are not met.



Advisors should not use local lists of suppliers unless they are compiled and monitored using criteria at least as stringent as those for IfA registration. To do so would leave advisors open to accusations of restraint of trade for unreasonably excluding a supplier from the list, and allegations of a failure in a duty of care for negligently including suppliers that may not have the necessary competence.




page22
(A hint that all curatorial services must become IfA ROs)
Professional quality assurance more generally is provided through IfA corporate membership and through its Registered Organisations scheme. This scheme provides an independent, external measure of quality assurance recognised both within and outside the sector, and a platform for sharing best practice, extending peer review and improving cross-sectoral and user scrutiny.


While the scheme has been more widely adopted by organisations providing archaeological services to commercial clients, its relevance has increased as a benchmark of quality for advisory services considering alternative delivery models.











Please do ensure that any discussion does not contain phrases like "over my dead body" OR "oh no not another bash the IfA" etc... This is very important, and valid views should be aired from all parties, willing to speak up. and they should be allowed to have views that can be expressed - however, without resorting to just plain NO/YES (delete where applicable). So give it some thought please.


:face-thinks:
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#2
BAJR Wrote:Advisors may require that suppliers be professionally accredited. There is no competition law bar in principle to advisors imposing a requirement that suppliers be professionally accredited, and IfA registration through the Registered Organisation scheme could be a justifiable measure of accreditation in accordance with legal advice provided to the IfA

As far as I had understood it in the past, I thought competiton law was the main reason for the clause in most curator's paperwork requiring "IfA or similar standing" rather than stipulating RAO status. Although I never understood why properly.

I'm going to be controversial and say... fabulous idea providing creases can be ironed out. Despite different attitudes towards the IfA as an organisation, it is championing professional standards and if curators are able to use them as a method to regulate and ensure standards of work (I can feel the ah, buts - I'm talking broad sweeping generalisations folks!) then this can be nothing but a good thing.

Following on the idealist theme, if an organisation / individual is struck off the IfA register because of some form of professional misconduct then at least the profession is protected from further transgressions by the same organisation / individual because they're the cheapest a developer can find to do the work - and do it badly.

*Sits back and waits for the screaming match*

:face-stir:

I recognise that there are plenty of flaws in the system as it is, but without a step to give the IfA teeth I don't see how you break the deadlock and move forward.
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#3
I'd be interested to know what 'EU equivalents' are recognised by the IfA....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#4
Good start... <wipes brow>

What we do is spin in circles. I won't support the IfA as they have no teeth and don't prosecute bad practice ------- but that is what the curator should do ----- but the contractor should have standards ---------------- but the ifa should enforce them--------------------- the ifa don't have teeth. etc.

  • We can all agree that the archaeology is the most important thing? OR is it the making of an international corporation?
  • We can all agree that standards must be policed? OR is that already happening... and this does not actually change anything other than forcing people into the IfA (not in the club? Not allowed to work)
  • We can all agree that it is about time we grew up and acted like a profession? OR is that not the point of archaeology - why can't you be professional AND independent?
  • We all agree that rules are needed? OR is one of the problems with archaeology is we are trying too hard to be like the big boys of business and forgetting the support we need from the people (or as we call them in NewSpeak: the engaged inclusive community individual )

This is a consultation. there is much in it to support, some to discuss and some to be quite worried about. you choose your own future.
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#5
I think we need to define "professionally accredited" as this could encompass much broader criteria than IFA registered RAO. Or is IFA membership going to be the only recognised professional accreditation?
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#6
Having read the information on the links provided by BAJR it is clear that this sets out to set standards for archaeological advisors within the Historic environment services sector, especially local government but in 1.1 of the paragraph on the scope of the draft guidance it explicity says that the guidance does not apply to "conservation officers and consultants" Why? I know of areas where with local government cut backs Conservation Officers are providing advice and where archaeological and other consultancies are seriously looking at providing HER and advisory services.
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#7
Wax Wrote:...it explicity says that the guidance does not apply to "conservation officers and consultants" Why? I know of areas where with local government cut backs Conservation Officers are providing advice and where archaeological and other consultancies are seriously looking at providing HER and advisory services.

Here in Scotland, there are already Councils that employ consultants to provide their archaeological advice, and the extent to which this is successful is largely dependent on the details of the contract between the two parties setting out when the consultant will be asked for an opinion. I'd imagine that the distinction has been drawn in the current document because there are already standards and guidance documents in place for conservation officers and consultants, which they should be following anyway - you'd have to hope that the new document doesn't conflict with any standards set out in these existing documents, as this would put anyone performing a dual role in a difficult position!
You know Marcus. He once got lost in his own museum
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#8
I'm still confused by the 'EU equivalants' business. As far as I am aware there is no EU 'standard' for archaeological work that exactly equates to the IfA system, although individual countries do have 'licenced' archaeologists. However a 'licenced' archaeologist in Europe can be a purely political appontment (as I am sure many UK who have worked outside the UK will know) and not necessarily someone who abides to a standard or ethics. It seems to me the IfA might be disqualifying a lot of able, qualified and decent archaeologists who happen to work in the UK but are not members of the IfA and at the same time letting in a lot of non-UK archaeologists of dubious standard and quality. That surely can't be right!!

As this standard is so ambiguous, I for one will be voting to throw it out unless they tighten the definitions....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#9
Kevin - It's a consultation draft, so rather than waiting for a vote at the AGM. It'd be much more helpful if you and anyone else who has a view were to respond to the consultation within the specified time.

As you were.
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#10
Quote:It'd be much more helpful if you and anyone else who has a view were to respond to the consultation within the specified time.

How true, though of course public debate on a public forum can help as well to talk through ideas. I have talked to a few curators and individuals privately who are doing just that, but are glad to see this being discussed across the board here on BAJR. So as well as responding, do please discuss - After all, this is what BAJR is about.

Stand easy
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