Essex County Council’s Field Archaeology Unit - proposals for externalisation
The corporate picture
In 2008, Essex County Council (ECC) took the major political decision of aiming to become the local authority providing the best quality of life in the UK for its citizens by 2012. This was embodied in its Corporate Plan at that time, under the heading EssexWorks.
This aim is being shaped by a transformation process, leading to a Target Operating Model (TOM), focussing on policy and on the commissioning of services, with the intention that service delivery will be provided by a variety of different vehicles.
Among a number of other groups of staff, the Field Archaeology Unit (FAU) is seen as falling outside the criteria for the TOM, and as a result ECC is now looking for an external organisation to assume responsibility for the FAU. This is being done through a formal tender process advertised in OJEU, starting with a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).
The Field Archaeology Unit and its operations
ECC’s FAU is a small, specialist team of experienced field archaeologists carrying out a wide range of survey, excavation, desk-based assessment and building recording projects throughout Essex and neighbouring counties, mainly in response to development proposals arising from the planning process.
Its core staff have extensive specialist knowledge in the archaeology of Essex and the East of England, covering urban and rural sites, buildings and finds of all periods from prehistory to the present day, with particular expertise in the excavation of sand and gravel sites and pioneering research on coastal and inter-tidal archaeology. The FAU has an excellent publication record, in both East Anglian Archaeology and the county journal, Essex Archaeology & History.
The FAU follows industry best practice, and is an Institute for Archaeologists’ Registered Archaeological Organisation (RAO).
The FAU is based in ECC-owned premises in central Braintree, with good public transport links. These accommodate all office space, finds and paper archives relating to current projects, plus site tools and equipment, with secure overnight parking.
Those organisations wishing to express an interest in taking on the operation of FAU are directed to the PQQ on the following link:
Please follow the instructions of how to register and access the PQQ. (A similar notice has been placed in OJEU: the deadline for expressions of interest is 31 January 2011)