Making a professional conduct allegation or complaint

Making a professional conduct allegation against a CIfA accredited professional or Registered Organisation

Professional conduct allegations against a CIfA accredited professional or Registered Organisation can be raised in three different ways:

  • contact CIfA informally for advice regarding your concerns
  • submit a formal allegation to CIfA using the allegation form (available below)
  • raise your concerns through your Special Interest or Area Group

All cases need supporting evidence to proceed. For example, photographic evidence, or copies of documents.

CIfA's official language is English.

Professional conduct allegations are judged against the Code of conduct and supporting regulations, standards and guidance and policy statements. Our professional conduct procedure exists to raise allegations against CIfA accredited professionals or Registered Organisations who may have breached the Code of conduct in relation to their professional and ethical behaviour in relation to the study and care of the historic environment. This can also relate to professional conduct in relation to employees, colleagues and helpers.

All professional conduct allegations will need to identify the relevant principle(s) and rule(s) that have allegedly been breached. For example ‘Code of conduct Principle 1 Rule 1.3 A member shall not offer advice, make a public statement, or give legal testimony involving archaeological matters, without being as thoroughly informed on the matters concerned as might reasonably be expected’

The first assessment stage of reviewing any allegation is for the Institute to decide whether the matter relates to the Code of conduct and/or whether it could be more appropriately resolved

  • by discussion amongst parties, or perhaps arbitration or mediation
  • using employer grievance or disciplinary procedures
  • referring the matter to the police or other authorities (see below)

CIfA will not get involved in contractual or professional disputes, only allegations of professional misconduct by individuals or Registered Organisations.

Allegation check list

  • Raise your concerns with the person or organisation before making a complaint: use any appropriate procedures
  • Contact CIfA informally to ask advice
  • Check your allegation relates to professional and ethical behaviour in relation to archaeological affairs and the study and care of the historic environment covered by the CIfA Code of conduct and/or regulations and standards
  • Complete the allegation form or supply the required information identifying the parts of the CIfA Code of conduct/standards/regulations/policy your complaint relates to and provide evidence to support this. Make sure the information you supply is clearly set and explained -
    Professional conduct allegation form

Once an allegation has been received and accepted the professional conduct process is carried out in accordance with the Regulations for professional conduct in the case of an allegation against a member

The stages for the assessment of allegations are:

  • Stage 1: Procedure for making an allegation regarding professional conduct
  • Stage 2: Procedure for receipt of an allegation
  • Stage 3: Procedure for assessment of an allegation
  • Stage 4: Procedure for investigation of an allegation
  • Stage 5: Procedure for considering appeals
  • Stage 6: Reporting and review

CIfA's professional conduct procedure is operated by peer review. The Institute will appoint relevant individuals to investigate any allegation as set out in the professional conduct process. In all cases the individuals must ensure that they do not have a potentially prejudicial interest in the matter they are appointed to consider.

Formal allegations can take time to resolve. When a completed form is received there are several stages to the process as set out above. All the stages rely on individuals volunteering their time to be involved (peer review) and the individual or organisation against who the allegation is made has the right to reply to the allegation and appeal a decision.

Other sources of advice or support

A professional conduct allegation may not be the most effective way of achieving resolution in the event of perceived harassment, and where there is any anticipated or actual civil or criminal proceeding it would take precedence over our own conduct procedures. Below are details of other potential routes for support and guidance.

  • ACAS provides free impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice for employees and employers
  • If you have been subject to any form of harassment we would encourage you to read the BAJR Guide – Respect: acting against harassment in archaeology. This provides information on the routes open to individuals who feel they have been subject to any form of harassment, and to seek support from the organisations identified in this BAJR guide. The guide is primarily aimed at field archaeologists, whether they be volunteers, students, or those employed within the commercial sector and the organisations who run excavations. It provides an initial point of reference and is designed primarily to signpost services and create procedures to prevent cases of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment.
  • Prospect or other trade unions can provide support and advice on employment matters for individuals
  • Protect, a whistleblowing charity and aims to protect society by encouraging workplace whistleblowing.
  • If you are a student it may be also beneficial to seek advice from your University

Complaints against CIfA

A complaint against CIfA can come about from dissatisfaction about any aspect of CIfA’s services, including actions of a member of staff or individual member of the Board of Directors or Advisory Council, or the CIfA NVQ Assessment Centre. A complaint should be submitted using the ‘Complaints against the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists’ form which is available below along with a copy of the complaints against CIfA procedure. For complaints concerning the CIfA NVQ Assessment Centre please read 'Complaints about the CIfA NVQ Assessment Center assessment process', below.