Maintaining standards in practice and professional ethics
IfA’s corporate members (PIfA, AIfA and MIfA) and Registered Organisations have agreed to be bound by an ethical code, have demonstrated necessary technical and ethical competence, and are subject to the oversight of peers.
Our disciplinary process and its sanctions provide that oversight, underpinning an institute’s primary function of public and consumer protection, ensuring that clients and society in general receive the best possible service from the profession. In fulfilling this role, the Institute also protects the reputation of the remainder of its membership.
It is not just public or clients who may raise allegations. It is important that individuals and/or organisations are able to raise their concerns with IfA if they believe our members/archaeologists and/or Registered Organisations have failed to comply with the Code of conduct and/or supporting by-laws.
Making a complaint or allegation
Complaints or allegations can be raised in three different ways
- contact the IfA informally for advice regarding your concerns
- download and complete the relevant form allegation against an IfA member or complaint against a Registered Organisation and return it to IfA with as much as evidence as possible to support the allegation
- raise your concerns through your Special Interest or Area Group for example see the Diggers Form Newsletter.
All cases need supporting evidence to proceed. For example, it may be photographic evidence, or copies of documents.
The first assessment stage of reviewing any allegation is for the Institute to decide whether the matter could be more appropriately resolved by discussion amongst parties, or perhaps arbitration or mediation. If not there must be sufficient evidence to proceed. IfA will not get involved in contractual or professional disputes, only allegations of misconduct for individuals or complaints brought against Registered Organisations.
Allegations and complaints are judged against the Code of conduct and the other by-laws. The complainant needs to identify the relevant principle(s) and rule(s) that have allegedly been breached. For example ‘Code of conduct Principle 1 Rule 1.3 A member shall not offer advice, make a public statement, or give legal testimony involving archaeological matters, without being as thoroughly informed on the matters concerned as might reasonably be expected’, or another example ‘clause 25 of the Code of approved practices for the regulation of contractual arrangements in archaeology – a member embarking upon fieldwork will secure the permission of the landowner and tenant as appropriate, and of any others with rights or responsibilities for the land and its safekeeping’.
Further Guidance is available here: Guidance notes for Disciplinary regulations
The disciplinary process
Once an allegation has been received and accepted the disciplinary process is carried out in accordance with the Disciplinary regulations in the case of an allegation against a member, or the Registered Organisation complaints procedure in the Registered Organisations guidance notes
In the case of the Disciplinary regulations the stages are
- stage 1 – preliminary assessment of the allegation and the evidence received
- stage 2 – initial investigation
- stage 3 – disciplinary panel convened to review all evidence
- stage 4 – reporting and review
For a complaint against a Registered Organisation the procedure is documented in the Registered Organisations guidance notes The Registration Committee (Organisations)’s complaints procedure is a five stage process
Stage 1: an assessment either of whether a complaint is frivolous or vexatious, is appropriate for the Registration Committee (Organisations)’s complaints procedure or whether
Stage 2: an investigation by a duly appointed Registered Organisation complaints panel of a formal allegation to determine the evidence for and against the allegation and record their findings, make recommendation to Registration Committee (Organisations) Committee
Stage 3: Review of Registered Organisation complaints panel report by the Registration Committee (Organisations) and agreement of proposed sanctions or determination of other actions
Stage 4: appeal process
Stage 5: reporting and review
Members of the Institute will be appointed to carry out the roles of an investigator or member of a disciplinary panel. In all cases the member must ensure that the do not have a potentially prejudicial interest in the matter they are appointed to consider.
Dissemination of complaints and allegations
The Institute will normally arrange for a review of allegations annually by IfA staff and a lay person (who is not a member of the Institute), and publishes an account of the number and nature of cases brought including advisory recommendation.
Formal review of IfA’s disciplinary procedures;
Summary of complaints and allegations received for annual report