The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) will be launched on Tuesday 9 December at the Museum of London. We will be circulating further information about the details in due course.
As of Tuesday 9 December we will cease trading as the Institute for Archaeologists and instead become the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Although our name will change, our primary activities and purpose will remain the same. CIfA will be the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. We will continue to promote high professional standards and strong ethics in archaeological practice, to maximise the benefits that archaeologists bring to society.
Members of IfA will transfer to become members of CIfA and accredited members’ post-nominal’s will change to reflect this (eg PIfA will become PCIfA, AIfA will become ACIfA and MIfA will become MCIfA). We will ensure that both colleagues and clients alike will be 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 will be 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 current Council will be 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).
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.
To be clear, at this stage it is the Institute itself that will be 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.