Competence matrix performance criteria (PCIfA)

To be eligible for professional accreditation at Practitioner grade, you need to be able to demonstrate the appropriate level of competence in four areas:

  • knowledge
  • autonomy
  • coping with complexity
  • perception of professional context


1) Demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of archaeology and the historic environment, using the professional and technical language that you know and use in your role.

For example

  • Give examples which show how you apply that knowledge and understanding in your work; describe the work that you do/have done and the knowledge and understanding of the historic environment that underpins it.

2) Demonstrate your understanding of professional standards and the industry processes and procedures relevant to your work, and describe how you have applied them.

For example

  • explain how any examples of your work that you give meet the appropriate CIfA Standards, any relevant specialist codes of practice or standards, and your employer’s quality standards.
    If you are including examples of work in your application, make sure they have been quality checked and signed off by the appropriate person.


1) Describe how you take responsibility for your own work.

2) Demonstrate that you understand your role within the wider team (if this is applicable to your situation).

3) Demonstrate your communication skills and your understanding of the importance of teamwork.

For example

  • explain how you ensure that your work meets professional standards and the expectations of your employer. Describe how you judge when it’s appropriate for you to make a decision and when to consult with others
  • explain how the work you do relates to other people in your team. Who looks to you for help and who do you report to?
  • tell us about the skills you need to work with others. Why is good communication important, and what happens if it breaks down? Give examples showing how you have contributed as a team member and/or how you have sought to resolve differences of opinion.

Coping with complexity

1) Demonstrate how you solve problems within the context of your role.

2) Describe the frameworks or tools you used to identify the issues and achieve a resolution.

For example

  • Give examples of effective problem solving you have undertaken. Describe a situation where you had to carry out a particular type of work for the first time, or where you encountered an unexpected discovery, result or scenario. What steps did you take to ensure you were able to proceed? Whom did you consult? Were there particular challenges to overcome? How would you recognise that a situation is beyond your skillset and where might you go for help? How did you find out what the best approach might be?

Perception of professional context

1) Demonstrate that you can identify the professional codes and standards underpinning your work and that you are aware of the key organisations, roles and stakeholders relevant to your area of practice.

2) Demonstrate that you are aware of the implications of your work within the wider team, your organisation or the historic environment sector as a whole.

3) Demonstrate your contribution to effective public benefit within the context of your role.

For example 

  • tell us how the CIfA Code of conduct guides your practice. What Standards, guidance, organisational codes or good practice documentation do you refer to? How do they ensure you work to the appropriate professional standard? Who does what within your area of practice? Which organisations do you come into contact with and what do they do? Who does your organisation answer to and who are its stakeholders? Who benefits from its work?
  • give examples of how you have contributed to the generation of new knowledge, shared your own knowledge and understanding with other people, engaged with individuals or communities, contributed to the future management, conservation or interpretation of a heritage asset, or helped other people to access information about the historic environment.