Advisory Council meeting report: welcome to new Council members, equality and diversity in archaeology, strategic plan development and advocacy objectives

Advisory Council has a wide range of topics on its agenda and minutes of meetings can be downloaded from the website. In this bulletin we’ve highlighted a few of the key items discussed at the latest meeting in February.

Welcome to new Council members

The day started with an induction session for the new Advisory Council members who had been elected at the AGM in October 2019 or nominated to be a representative by a Group committee. The induction session highlighted the role of the Institute as a professional body compared to that of a trade union and trade association, and outlined the responsibilities of the Advisory Council in relation to the Board of Directors, and the expectations of members of Advisory Council in terms of engagement with discussions.

The session also looked at the range of activities Advisory Council have been involved in since the existing governance structure was introduced in 2014 which have included

  • Accreditation: introduced a series of specialist competence matrixes to support applications for accreditation; fed into development of the outline structure for Chartered Archaeologist
  • Standards and guidance: commented on proposed changes to the Standards and guidance through projects; discussed ways to address conflicts of interest that might arise through archaeological work and how to encourage consistent compliance with standards
  • Regulations, policy and good practice: made recommendations on the use of the CIfA logo by individuals; offered advice on changes to the professional conduct regulations; introduced an expected minimum level of competence for a practising archaeologists into the policy statement on use of training posts; recommended amendments to the equal opportunities policy; developed the Introduction to professional ethics practice paper; and developed workplace wellbeing resources on the website
  • Engagement and promotion: ran a survey on committee participation and provided advice on promoting membership

Equality and diversity in archaeology

The Institute acknowledges there needs to be a culture change around equality and diversity practice in archaeology, and our policy statement on equal opportunities in archaeology states that it is essential that all people are treated equally and not disadvantaged by prejudices or bias.

CIfA has set out its commitment to tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination in archaeology in partnership with Prospect and FAME. This has been published as a pan-sectoral statement.

The Board has nominated Peta Glew as equality and diversity champion, and Peter Hinton presented Advisory Council (on Peta’s behalf) with the terms of reference for a series of working groups which will drive forward the Board’s strategy. This builds on actions highlighted in the summary report of the Advisory Council working party on equality and diversity in archaeology.

Advisory Council questioned the priority order of the tasks in the strategy and would like more weight to be given to developing and promoting guidance and resources to support members. It strongly encouraged the Board to keep reinforcing CIfA’s position statement on equality and diversity, and to make more urgent progress to ensure that CIfA takes a leadership role.

See our equality and diversity in archaeology webpage for more information.

Decolonising archaeology toolkit

Hannah Cobb and Laura Hampden gave a short presentation to Advisory Council on the Equality and Diversity Group’s plans to develop a decolonising archaeology toolkit. Laura and Hannah highlighted what decolonising means and how decolonial and post-colonial archaeologies differ, and how the decolonise movement arose. The toolkit will aim to help to decolonise heritage practice in different areas (eg commercial, voluntary sector, academic, community archaeology) and will use case studies to support this.

The Group will be promoting the toolkit at its AGM and day event on 13 March in London, at Teaching and Learning, Manchester on 25 March and at CIfA2020 in Bath on 23 April.

To book a place at the AGM or conference please go to our events page

Strategic Plan workshop

The Institute’s current strategic plan runs until 2020 and the Board of Directors has agreed a programme to develop the vision and objectives for the Institute for 2020 onwards. Advisory Council is playing a key role in this process by offering advice on where it thinks the Institute’s resources should be focused.

At this meeting Advisory Council broke out into groups and were asked to comment on the developing draft objectives, strategy areas and the desired ultimate outcomes.

Advocacy objectives

CIfA invests extensively in advocacy and policy work. We proactively build networks and establish trust with politicians, civil servants, and bodies within and beyond the sector; we also work reactively, using those networks, in response to threats or opportunities arising from political initiatives and consultations.

The Board sets the Institute’s advocacy objectives following guidance from the Advisory Council, and at this meeting Advisory Council were asked to comment on planned objectives for the next year and the priority for these.

See our advocacy webpage for more information.

The next Advisory Council meeting will be on 4 June 2020. If you have an issue that you would like the Advisory Council to consider, or you would like Advisory Council to raise with the Board of Directors, you can email us, or by contact the Chair of Advisory Council, a Group representative or any of the elected members