Do your desk-based assessments comply with CIfA standards and guidance?

Desk-based assessment is a programme of study of the historic environment within a specified area or site on land, the inter-tidal zone or underwater that addresses agreed research and/or conservation objectives. It consists of an analysis of existing written, graphic, photographic and electronic information in order to identify the likely heritage assets, their interest and significance and the character of the study area, including appropriate consideration of the settings of heritage assets and, in England, the nature, extent and quality of the known or potential archaeological, historic, architectural and artistic interest.

Our Standard and guidance for historic environment desk-based assessment sets out what should be included in desk-based assessments in addition to those identified by legislation or policy or its interpretation by the local planning authority, or other advisors or clients. We have also produced a short spotlight article on the standard highlighting the key areas desk-based assessments should cover in order to comply with the Standard.

A desk-based assessment CPD workshop was held in London last October (see TA 106 for a write up). Further workshops are planned for Cardiff in September, Edinburgh in October and Manchester (date TBC). These will include the opportunity to provide feedback on the current S&G - further details will be outlined in due course. Please contact Jen (jen.parkerwooding [at] for further information.

Our series of spotlight pieces on other standards can be downloaded from our Professional practice papers and guidance page. These cover the

  • Standard and guidance for commissioning work or providing consultancy advice on archaeology and the historic environment
  • Standards for written schemes of investigation
  • Standards on archaeological advice by historic environment services

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