Assessing ethical competence: changes to the application process from 1 April 2022

From 1 April 2022, applicants for CIfA accreditation will need to demonstrate that they understand and work in accordance with CIfA's ethical Code of conduct and professional standards. At Practitioner and Associate level, applicants will be asked to address these new requirements in their statements of competence, supported by evidence of ethical working in the examples of work they provide, in their CPD records (where applicable) and by their references. For applicants at Member level, a professional review interview will be introduced, recognising the greater level of personal accountability required at this grade.

You can find more information about the changes and the resources we are producing to support applicants below. If you are already a member and are planning to upgrade your accreditation after 1 April, you can sign up for our Professional pathways bulletins for targeted information and guidance.

The way we assess competence is changing – what you need to know

CIfA accreditation is how archaeologists demonstrate to their clients, their employers, peers and the public that they have the knowledge, skills and integrity to meet professional standards and to deliver value to society. Working to professional standards requires professional competence: archaeologists need to be technically skilled and they need to understand and apply ethical principles to their work. These ethical principles are set out in the Code of conduct and the standards for technical competence form the basis of the competence matrix which all applications for accreditation are measured against.

The competence matrix does not currently include specific reference to the need to work in accordance with the Code of conduct and this is something we have sought to address. Following discussions with Advisory Council, we have amended the competence matrix to include consideration of professional ethics for Practitioner, Associate and Member applications. At Practitioner and Associate level, applicants will be expected to address these new requirements in their statements of competence, supported by evidence of ethical working in the examples of work they provide, in their CPD records (where applicable) and by their references. For applicants at Member level, we plan to introduce a professional review interview, recognising the greater level of personal accountability required at this grade.

The target date for introducing the new system is April 2022 but we recognise that more time may be necessary and there is scope to extend the timeframe if necessary. These are significant changes to the way we assess competence and so will not come into operation until we have undertaken a programme of communication with members, training with the Validation Committee and have developed a suite of resources to help members and applicants demonstrate their ethical practice, regardless of career stage. We already have some fantastic resources to support ethical practice on our website but these will be supplemented and supported with training where necessary.

We want all archaeologists to have the opportunity to demonstrate their professionalism and to be recognised for the high levels of skill they possess and the contribution they make to society. As well as introducing the new requirements, we are also focusing on the actual and perceived barriers that make it harder for some archaeologists to demonstrate the competence requirements, particularly at Member grade. The information and guidance in support of applications for accreditation has developed considerably over the last 12 months, with new webpages to make the process of applying simpler and clearer and with the help of Advisory Council and our Special Interest Groups we are identifying and removing further barriers.  

Over the coming months, we will be producing information and guidance targeted as specific grades of members to support the changes. If you are thinking about applying or upgrading your accreditation, sign up to our Professional Pathways bulletins to get more advice and support, as well as the latest information on when the changes will come into force.

The new competence matrix will be published well in advance of the changes coming into effect but for a sneak preview, click here

We have also set up a short survey to inform our communictions and would be grateful if you would take a few minutes to answer them.