I have been a representative on the Advisory Council from the start, first as Diggers’ Forum (DF) rep and more recently as an elected member. If I’m being perfectly truthful I volunteered for the role during a minute of inattention at a DF AGM in the Petrie Museum. I had no idea what I was doing, or getting myself into, but luckily for me it was the first meeting.
Advisory Council's role is to talk about what the Institute should be doing for its members. The discussion topic at the first meeting I attended covered CIfA’s policy positions and updated the advocacy priorities. My views and opinions were directly influencing the future work of CIfA. I so often get asked on site ‘What is CIfA doing for me?’ and as a rep I (we) have a say in that. During the last meeting we again looked at advocacy. Usefully I think this has led to initiating discussions about not only how this can be better communicated to the membership, but also how we could use the different ‘voices’ of the Groups, and how to get more evidence for our responses by asking members to provide case studies.
At other meetings I have also been involved in the discussions on the potential of Chartership of individual members, training and Pathways to PCIfA, and the possibility of accrediting parts of University archaeology degree courses. And of course, there are the discussions on minima. Prior to the Institute becoming Chartered, DF suggested the need for a statement of competence for archaeologists working on site. This was discussed and is now CIfA policy. I can honestly say I’m really proud about this. I have been directly involved with writing a policy on behalf of the DF, to benefit our members.
I personally think the best thing about the Advisory Council is the Group representation in addition to the elected members. In my case, the issues that matter to me and the DF membership can be raised, discussed and our views heard on all topics.