CIfA and Charter

Charter: what does it mean?

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) launched on Tuesday 9 December at the Museum of London.

CIfA launch - live

The sessions recorded at the official launch on the 9 December 2014 are now available via YouTube to access at your leisure. We would also like to welcome comment through our social media channels so please check our CIfA Facebook page or search for the #CIfAlaunch on Twitter.

Please follow the link below to access the Workshop session surrounding the launch of CIfA Practice Paper 11, 2014, An introduction to providing career entry training in your organisation. Presentations were led by Gill Hey (Oxford Archaeology) and Simon Woodiwiss (Worcester Archive and Archaeology service). This highlights the delivery of innovative training programmes in the archaeological sector by Registered Organisations.

The last link will direct you to a recording of last session of the day which was centred on the Chartered Institute, what this means for organisations, individuals and future plans for the profession. The keynote speakers for this session were Diana Murray (Former Chair IfA, RCAHMS), Jan Wills (Chair IfA), Ben Jervis (Cardiff University) and Natalie Ward (Brecon Beacons National Park Authority) both of whom sit on the committee for the Next Generation Group.

What has changed?

As of Tuesday 9 December we ceased trading as the Institute for Archaeologists and instead become the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Although our name has changed, our primary activities and purpose remain the same. CIfA is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. We continue to promote high professional standards and strong ethics in archaeological practice, to maximise the benefits that archaeologists bring to society.

Members of IfA have transferred to become members of CIfA and accredited members' post-nominal's have changed to reflect this (eg PIfA has become PCIfA, AIfA has become ACIfA and MIfA has become MCIfA). We will ensure that both colleagues and clients alike are aware of these changes, and are clear about what they mean.

CIfA is governed by its Royal Charter and by-laws so these will replace the Memorandum and Articles of Association for IfA. In terms of the by-laws members have signed up to, these have been replaced by the regulations which members voted on in October 2013.

The biggest change for the Institute itself will be how CIfA is run as an organisation. The former Council has been replaced by a two tier system comprising a Board of Directors (responsible for running the institute) and an Advisory Council (which will focus on policy and long-term strategy). These changes will enable greater representation from IfA membership with both individual elected members and representation via our Area and Special Interest groups (who will each have a seat on the Advisory Council).

Why have we become Chartered?

Becoming a chartered institute will significantly raise the profile of the Institute and the archaeological profession. It brings us in step with other chartered professions such as architects, planners, surveyors and engineers etc and in turn it will raise the profile of accredited members of the Institute. Achieving chartered status for the Institute has been in our Strategic Plan for a long time, and has been something members have been keen to pursue. About four years ago we decided that the Institute was in a position to possibly achieve this recognition and started work to submit a formal application to the Privy Council.

This is something to celebrate, and is a significant step forward for archaeology as a profession. Many members of other professions pay serious attention to the stamp of charter and will look for individuals and organisations who are linked to chartered bodies.

What does Charter mean?

To be clear, at this stage it is the Institute itself that has been Chartered and not its individual members (see FAQs). In the past Royal Charters were the only means of incorporating a body (turning a collection of individuals into a single legal entity). Now this can be done through other means, such as becoming a registered company, so the granting of a Royal Charter is comparatively rare. New grants of royal charters are 'reserved for eminent professional bodies or charities which have a solid record of achievement' (Privy Council website).

This is a significant step forward for archaeology as a profession and is something to celebrate, but is not the end of the process. Members of other professions will recognise the stamp of charter and look for individuals and organisations who are linked to chartered bodies but we still need to work with members, Registered Organisations and colleagues across a range of bodies including the National Agencies, ALGAO and FAME to ensure that the grant of Charter brings real benefits to the profession.

Further Information

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Miller Building, University of Reading
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AB

0118 378 6446
admin [at]