CIfA AGM, Scottish Group AGM, What’s going wrong with desk-based assessments?

 Registration is closed for this event
The Annual General Meeting will be held on on Tuesday 15 October at Edinburgh City Chambers and all members are invited to join us. This will precede a CPD workshop 'What’s going wrong with desk-based assessments?' as well as Scottish Group's Annual General Meeting.



Price: £50 CIfA Members
£75 Non-members
AGM attendance is free for all members

Bookings will close at the end of day, Sunday, 6 October. If you are paying via Purchase Order, please book your place before this date!

Limited bursary/low income spaces are available
Please contact Elizabeth ( for more information.

Workshop description

Despite being enshrined in planning guidance, there still seems to be confusion as to what a desk-based assessment is and its purpose. Discussions with ALGAO last year highlighted issues including submission of DBAs when they are not required and the frequent appearance of documents that do little more than reiterate information already available in the HER, with no meaningful assessment of significance, potential or impact. This led to the organisation of a workshop on DBAs at the CIfA AGM in October 2018. It was decided to repeat this workshop across the UK to ensure a wide range of feedback especially from those operating under different planning policies, therefore, workshops are now taking place this year in Cardiff, Manchester and Edinburgh - see below! CIfA is currently undertaking a thorough review of its Standards and guidance, which includes consideration of where and why things might be going wrong. Please come along if you're able and take part in the discussions. A survey will be circulated ahead of the workshops to try and get as much feedback as possible ahead of the events.

Workshop Audience

The workshop is aimed at archaeologists and historic environment practitioners who commission, write or approve DBAs. The course is not designed to teach delegates with little or no previous experience how to write a DBA.

Featured presenters:
Kate Geary, Standards Development Manager (CIfA)
Jen Parker Wooding, Senior Professional Standards & Practice Coordinator (CIfA)
Bruce Mann, Regional Archaeologist (Aberdeenshire Council)
Kevin Mooney, Senior Archaeology and Heritage Consultant (WSP)

Victoria Oleksy, Project Manager (AOC Archaeology Group)

Chris Jones, Historic Environment Officer (Northumberland National Park)

Agenda (*workshop starts after the CIfA AGM at 10:45am)

The workshops include a mix of presentations and collaborative discussion. Presentations will be heard from CIfA, local curators, contractors and consultants to encompass a wide range of viewpoints regarding the role and perception of DBAs across the sector. This will be followed by discussion and group work focusing on the current Standards and Guidance.

09:00 – Arrivals/tea and coffee

09:30 –10:30 CIfA Annual General Meeting

10:30 – 10:45 Tea/coffee

10:45 – 11:15 WORKSHOP START: Introduction and initial discussion

Kate Geary/Jen Parker Wooding, CIfA

11:15 – 11:30 Desk-based assessments from the curator’s point of view (Scotland)

Bruce Mann, Aberdeenshire Council

11:30 – 11:45 Desk-based assessments from the curator’s point of view (England)

Chris Jones, Northumberland National Park

11:45 – 12:00 Desk-based assessments from the consultant’s point of view

Kevin Mooney, WSP

12:00 – 12:15 Desk-based assessments from the contractor’s s point of view

Victoria Oleksy, AOC Archaeology Group

12:15 – 12:45 Discussion: the role of DBAs

12:45 – 13.30 Lunch (12:55 – 13:10 Scottish Group AGM)

13:30 – 14:00 Collaborative discussion: what are the barriers to achieving the Standard?

14:00 – 14:45 Collaborative discussion: how can we tackle the barriers? Looking towards potential solutions

14:45 – 15:00 Tea break

15:00 – 15:45 S&G breakdown – are changes needed?

15:45 – 16:00 Summary and close

Learning outcomes

After attending the course, delegates will be able to

  1. define and understand the purpose of a DBA and its role within the planning process
  2. understand what curators look for in a DBA
  3. gain a better understanding of what the CIfA Standard and guidance for desk-based research requires and why
  4. understand how compliance with the S&G may be monitored
  5. gain a better appreciation of the issues that may make compliance with the S&G problematic and how to address them
  6. better consider and present the significance, potential and/or impact of the heritage being assessed
  7. better appreciate how a DBA should enhance the existing Historic Environment Record
  8. contribute to the review and improvement of the CIfA S&G to ensure it’s fit for purpose

Additional info

Lunch will be included with workshop registration

For further information, including NOS learning outcomes, visit

October 15th, 2019 10:00 AM   to   4:00 PM
Edinburgh City Chambers
Council Chamber
253 High Street
Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ
United Kingdom
CIfA and Scottish group member £ 50.00
Non-member £ 75.00
AGM only (lunch not included) £ 0.00

CIfA and Scottish group member £ 50.00
Non-member £ 75.00
AGM only (lunch not included) £ 0.00