Jenny Vaughan wrote
"You don't have to be one to abide by, or say you abide by, their standards.
I was suggesting that the IFA could perhaps have a stronger role in helping
curators to enforce standards."
Andy Russel wrote
"One of the purposes of the IFA is to set standards and to the promote them,
not to check that the work in Worsetshire is up to standard. Curators can
demand that contracting archaeologists adhere to those standards."
In devising the five standards so far produced (desk-based assessments,
field evaluations, watching-briefs, excavations, building recording) the IFA
Standards in British Archaeology Working Party consulted widely both within
in and outside the profession on the format of the Standards and with
regard to possible future 'Standards'.
The Standards were deliberately designed to provide broad parameters or
requirement; to have covered every specific issue would have resulted in the
production of an unwieldy manual. The Standards are linked to the IFAs
Codes, and in complaint breaches of the Code will have to be shown (but a
member substantially breaching a Standard will have also breached one or
more of the clauses in the Code(s) as amended).
Members of the Institute agree to adhere to the Institute's Standards, Codes
and other By-laws in force. Non-members do not, and those that criticize
do so from a position whereby they are not prepared to put their
professional actions/activities under scrutiny. Non-members working for RAOs
will find that adherence to Codes & Standards is likely to be part of their
employment requirement, if their employer is not to fall foul of the RAO
Scheme. Professional fees can be set against income tax.
The Institute regularly investigates allegations of misconduct although the
process (in my view) is unwieldy, over-complicated and not sufficiently
divorced from executive interest. It is not, nor never can be, the purpose
of the Institute to carry out 'witch-hunts' against its members.
Responses to SIBAs consultation on further standards included suggestions
for survey and finds (technical specific areas), more particularly there was
a clear majority of responses in favour of a standard for Curatorial
Practice. Initial correspondence and discussions were entered into by SIBA
and ALGAO (and its predecessors ACAO/ADAO) and the matter passed forward to
Council when the SIBA WP completed its agreed works.
Personally I find it a matter of regret that neither IFA nor ALGAO have been
unable to progress the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.
I continue to maintain that the persons best-placed to raise the quality of
archaeological practice are the 'curatorial wing of the profession whether
based in local authorities.
Subscribers to this list might like to ask themselves next time a 'poor'
piece of work is carried out (no post-ex, improper reporting, poor
excavation/evalaution technique etc), WHY HAS IT BEEN APPROVED - so when you
do wish to complain don't moan to your colleagues/friends/this list ask your
County Archaeologist (or celtic equivalent) or County Councillor, IAM or MP
(AM (Wales), SMP (Scotland)) etc - after all it is implicit from
government guidance and regulations advice/instruction that these things
should be done properely; whilst those with archaeological curatorial
authority allow poor practice to continue then many of the ills that are the
subject of regular complaint in this list will remain unhealed.
(Former Member of Council, and Secretary IFA SIBA)