What’s going wrong with desk-based assessments? Manchester

 Registration is closed for this event
This suite of DBA workshops, which are aimed at anyone who commissions, writes or uses desk-based assessments, will take an in-depth view of what the Standard requires and why. It will also provide the opportunity for some collaborative working as CIfA seeks to improve the guidance to help members achieve a better-quality product.
with support from 


Price: £50 CIfA Members
£75 Non-members
Bookings will close at the end of day, Wednesday, 4 December. Please book your place before this date - even if you do not yet have your Purchase Order number!

Limited bursary/low income spaces are available
Please contact Elizabeth (elizabeth.durst@archaeologists.net) for more information.


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, CIfA
Jen Parker Wooding, CIfA
Norman Redhead, Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service
Jenny Emmett, Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Service
Anthony Lee, Salford Archaeology
Alexandra Grassam, WSP


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.

10:00 – 10:15 Arrival, tea and coffee
10:15 – 10:40 Introduction and initial discussion

Kate Geary/Jen Parker Wooding, CIfA
10:40 – 11:00 Desk-based assessments from the curator’s point of view (England)
Norman Redhead, Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service
11:00 – 11:20 Desk-based assessments from the curator’s point of view (Wales)
Jenny Emmett, Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Service
11:20 – 11:40 Desk-based assessments from the consultant’s point of view
Alexandra Grassam, WSP
11:40 – 12.:00 Desk-based assessments from the contractor’s s point of view
Anthony Lee, Salford Archaeology
12:00 – 12:30 Questions & discussion
12:30 – 13:15 Lunch
13:15 – 14:00 Collaborative discussion: what are the barriers to achieving the Standard?
14:00 – 14:45 Collaborative discussion: what are the solutions?
14:45 – 15:00 Tea break
15:00 – 15:45 Standards and Guidance breakdown – are changes needed?
15:45 – 16:00 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

The Old Fire Station

The Crescent
M5 4WT

Lunch will be included with workshop registration.

For further information, including NOS learning outcomes, visit https://www.archaeologists.net/cifa-agm-workshop#

December 13th, 2019 10:00 AM   to   7:54 PM
The Old Fire Station
University of Salford
Salford, M5 4NL
CIfA member £ 50.00
Non-member £ 75.00

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CIfA member £ 50.00
Non-member £ 75.00