IfA and Charter; FAQs

Charter: what will it mean?

Save the date! Chartered Institute launch
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.

What will change?

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).

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 will be Chartered and not its individual members (see below). 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).

When will there be a 'chartered archaeologist'?

Being granted the powers to award chartered status to individual archaeologists is a separate process and would need to be agreed by the Privy Council by means of an amendment to the Charter. How it might be awarded, the criteria for achieving the status of ‘Chartered Archaeologist’ and even whether that’s desirable, are all questions that CIfA’s Board of Directors would need to consult its Advisory Council and members about extensively.

What will it mean for Registered Organisation?

This is very similar to what it means to individual members in that they will be organisations registered with the Chartered Institute. Again, the grant of Charter will mean that the Institute is more recognisable to outside bodies – employers, clients/commissioners, other professionals – as equivalent to Chartered bodies such as RICS, RIBA, RTPI and the various engineering professional bodies. Its Registered Organisations will, similarly, be recognised organisations adhering to high technical and ethical standards of practice equivalent to those governing the work of the allied professionals alongside which they often work.

However, it is important to remember that individuals who work for registered organisations are only accredited with the Chartered Institute if they have demonstrated and achieved professional accreditation through the validation process. Working for a registered organisation does not achieve that individual professional recognition.

How will a Charter effect pay and conditions?

By itself, having a Charter will not automatically improve pay and conditions for archaeologists. However, it gives the Institute, its members and Registered Organisations a much stronger voice with which to promote the value of the work carried out by archaeologists, the high level of skills and qualifications they have and the importance of commissioning work from appropriately accredited organisations. If we are able to work together as a profession and grasp the opportunity afforded by the grant of Charter to promote the value of our work, we may see improvements in remuneration as a result.

What can members do?

Promote to those you work with that you will soon be a member of a Chartered Institute, use your post-nominal letters to raise the profile of your professional accreditation, and explain what they mean. Look for the same from those you work with (whatever profession they are part of) and consider which professional bodies they should be accredited by. Expect that they should also be able to demonstrate the same professional recognition and ethical competence that you have.

Will I need to confirm my commitment to abide by the Code of conduct?

No. The draft by-laws and regulations have all been approved by members through the AGM process, and will be binding on the members of CifA.

IfA is mentioned in a lot of documents, including government guidance. Does a change of name endanger what we've achieved so far by making this guidance redundant?

Not at all. As when we changed from the Institute of Field Archaeologists to trade as the Institute for Archaeologists, the work of the Institute will still be in place and will be associated with the Chartered Institute. It will be clear on our website that we were formerly the Institute for Archaeologists.

Do I have to change my business stationery right away?

We will have a new logo for the Chartered Institute which will be unveiled on 9 December 2014. A version of the logo will be issued to all Registered Organisations (as with the current logo). As above, it will be clear on our website that we were formerly the Institute for Archaeologists so if there is a delay in you updating the logo this won't be a problem.

Can I still refer to IfA standards in my work or will I have to change the references to CIfA standards?

Again, it's not essential to do this immediately, but would be useful to plan for over time. The standards will become those of the Chartered Institute, but it will be clear that the Institute for Archaeologists and the Institute of Field Archaeologist were succeeded by the Chartered Institute.

Will my subscriptions increase?

The process for deciding annual subscriptions will not be affected. Subscriptions will continue to be reviewed and agreed on an annual basis by the Board of Directors and will relate to the same parameters which are considered at the moment (such as inflation, cost of living and your membership package).

Will I need to amend my direct debit?

No, this will all be done behind the scenes in liaison with our bank. Direct debits will remain in place as they are now.

Any further questions?

If you have any further questions you would like to ask about CIfA please contact Alex Llewellyn at alex.llewellyn [at] archaeologists.net or 0118 3786446

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
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Reading RG6 6DE

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