Advice on site working during the COVID-19 pandemic
CIfA's advice is to follow the government advice in whatever region you are working in. As of January 2021 various restrictions apply in all UK nations but archaeological site work is currently able to go ahead subject to following relevant guidelines. This may change, although, we are not currently aware of any further planned restrictions, although the Scottish Government has said it will keep the opening of non-essential construction under review. However, if work can be done from home, it should be.
We are advising members and Registered Organisation to include the risks to staff and the public from coronavirus as part of their risk assessments and, where those risks cannot be mitigated (ie where it is not possible to follow government guidance to stay 2m apart, including transport to and from site, welfare conditions on site, and plans for adverse weather conditions) we are advising that work should cease.
CIfA endorses Prospect's guidelines (updated 20 January 2021) for archaeologists for safe working in the UK. We also encourage archaeologists to use The Social Distancing for Archaeology (SoDA) Toolkit created by L - P : Archaeology with funding from Historic England. This contains a number of resources such as videos, signs and stickers, tool box talks and risk assessment workflow for archaeologists to use to get back to work and COVID-19 safe.
For the latest UK Governments' guidance please see:
See the links below for our full advice.
Standards and guidance advice
We have been contacted by members about the effects that the coronavirus pandemic is having, or has the potential to have, on working practices across the historic environment sector. As a result, we are sharing the following advice related to the potential impacts on working practices and concerns related to adherence to the CIfA Standards and guidance.
Impacts on archaeology in the UK planning systems
ALGAO UK and CIfA have published a statement on adapting to challenges to archaeology in the planning system. The statement notes that contractors and clients may need to adjust expectations as to whether work is possible at the current time. However, archaeology remains a necessary part of planning and pre-application evaluation requirements and on-site mitigation works necessary for the fulfilment of planning conditions are still expected to be completed as they would with any other planning requirements. Where works cannot be undertaken safely, in accordance with professional standards, and to the level necessary to satisfy planning rules these works may need to be delayed.
We encourage members to closely consult with your local authority archaeologist and to consider what alternative options could be appropriate, for example delaying the work or changing methodology/approach for the best project outcome.
Ongoing actions to support members and Registered Organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic
We know that this is an incredibly stressful and uncertain time for our industry and want to offer our support where we can. Please download the document from the link below to read the immediate actions CIfA has taken so far. The include changes to applications for concessionary subscription rates and accredited application fees
- Ongoing actions to support members and Registered Organisations during the COVID-19 outbreak - updated 24 March 2020
- Covid-19: Financial sharp practices - as advice to members and Registered Organisations, Rob Bourn from Orion shares a very recent example of a client trying to take advantage of the current crisis. The Small Business Commissioner has information about dealing with unpaid invoices.
CIfA events and meetings
CIfAs current programme of events, including our annual conference for 2021, are being held online. Whether you are working from home or self-isolating at the moment its important to keep up to date with the latest developments and continue to develop and expand your knowledge of archaeology and the heritage sector. If you are in a position to add to your CPD during this time we have some suggestions that might be useful
- CIfA Diggers' Forum have collated a list of online CPD resources for archaeologists
- CIfA Voluntary and Community Group have collated a list of online CPD opportunities for community archaeologists and those working with volunteers
- CIfA e-learning modules covering an introduction to professionalism in the historic environment; making sense of the planning system; understanding Personal Development Plans and Continuing Professional Development
- Recording of CIfA conference sessions - CIfA2019 Archaeology: values, benefits, and legacies and CIfA2018 Pulling together: collaboration, synthesis, innovation
- Publications including previous editions of The Archaeologist and Professional Practice Papers
- The Skills toolkit - free digital and numeracy courses to build your skills from HM Government
Guidance for employers and businesses
We would encourage employers, as some Registered Organisations have already done, to inform staff of any contingency plans you have in place and to make them aware of your policies in relation to self-isolation and the payment of sick pay/salaries. We understand that any requirements for self-isolation/sick leave could place a significant financial burden on individuals and businesses, but we hope that employers will continue to pay staff during this time.
- The UK Government has released guidance to assist employers and businesses to provide advice to staff.
- A range of support packages for businesses and self-employed people have been announced by UK Government. Measures include the Coronoavisu Jobs Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Income tax and VAT payment deferrals, Statutory Sick Pay relief for SMEs, 12-month business rate holiday, and small business grant funding for those receiving rate relief.
- Specific information about Welsh Government support measures can be found here.
- ACAS have guidance for employees and employers and will be running a series of free advisory webinars for employers available here.
- The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development also has some useful guidance including good practice advice on self-isolation and staff wellbeing and safety
- Mental Health Foundation has advice on looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. See our wellbeing page for more advice.
CIfA is welcoming feedback from members on the support measures and other challenges facing businesses due to Coronavirus. Please click here to get in touch with us.
- The UK Government have set up a dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
- Self-employed people can apply for Employment and support allowance
- A Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
The Heritage Alliance have created a live hub of links for advice and support from a wide range of sources.
The CBA have created a Coronavirus archaeology resource hub with varying resources which offer support and guidance.
Built Environment Forum Scotland has collected a list of resources from organisations in Scotland.
Soldieron is offering free support to help archaeologists facing redundancy
Latest coronavirus information
Health services have further information on the symptoms of coronavirus and on how to reduce the spread of infection
Governments are releasing daily information about the spread of coronavirus
- UK Government
- Scottish Government
- Welsh Government
- Northern Ireland Department of Health
- Republic of Ireland Government