BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: Southport - support or betrayal?
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There is talk that the Southport group are pushing for increased volunteer access to commercial work (which on the face of it sounds reasonable, given that archaeology is for all? - And creating a universal standard and guidance for this to happen as the norm - watching brief sites excepted - would be good for all. )


The key elements are access and participation. Access is one thing, participation is another. With a volunteer workforce, will they be there t 7:30am every day (including the ones when the rain is coming down? ) Will they work til 5pm? even on a rota, will they be reliable. On a commercial site you need to know who is where and how many and when.



The next is what they will do? SUrvey? draw? pot wash (aaaaarg) dig?


Will they need IfA membership ( cynical.... moi)


Will the cost of commercial excavation come down, because a 5 person dig will become 2 person dig plus three volunteers ( however the 2 diggers must now ensure that the work down by the 3 volunteers.. ah hell lets make it 5 volunteers... after all that now gives you an even larger team! ... is up to the required standard. )


I suspect there are more.


Anyway, there won't be anyone left to check the work anyway, by the time the Big society has removed the heritage curators and Planning constraints.




It would be damn useful if the IfA or Southport Group came on BAJR and explained to the archaeologists what is going on. Though one suspects, they may read this, but be unable to reply.




Below is the section from the Southports webpage. Read it, read it again.




Recommendations for improving historic environment practice - the Southport Group seeks your views
The Southport Group has launched an online public consultation to gather opinion on a ground-breaking draft report that outlines recommendations and products for improving historic environment practice to ensure delivery of consistent excellence in public benefit.
The consultation officially launches at the IfA Conference on 13 April and runs until 3 June 2011. All content can be found on this webpage.
The draft report considers key areas of planning-led investigation of the historic environment, identifies obstacles to optimum delivery in the past, presents a vision for new ways of working under PPS5 principles, and makes detailed practical recommendations to reach that vision. The impetus for change stems from the 2010 publication of Planning Policy Statement 5, which offers an extraordinary and rare opportunity for the historic environment sector to ensure its work is truly driven by the interests of what has been discovered or lost and that its overall purpose is the realisation of public benefit.
The consultation asks respondents to provide written feed-back on whether they endorse the report visions, recommendations and proposed products, and to suggest any changes or additional commendations/products before the June deadline. Comments will help to shape the final report due to launch in July 2011.
Organisations assigned with actions in the report recommendations will be approached over coming weeks and asked if they wish to endorse the visions and commit, insofar as resources allow, to the recommendations subject to any changes they propose. The intention is for key sector bodies to indicate, at the launch of the final report in July, their intention to implement the report?s recommendations.
Comments on the report should be emailed to southport@archaeologists.net by 3 June.
Report summary

The publication of Planning Policy Statement 5 by the Department of Communities and Local Government (2010), alongside a strong and insightful Government vision statement on the historic environment (DCMS 2010) offers an extraordinary and rare opportunity ? of the sort that comes along only once or twice in a professional lifetime.
This draft report has been prepared as a response to that opportunity, by a small working party of historic environment professionals ? the Southport Group ? that was formed following a debate at the Institute for Archaeologists? conference in Southport in April 2010. It takes account of contributions made in a series of open workshops and an online consultation. It is being circulated now for comment and, with the benefit of further public consultation and open debate at forthcoming professional conferences, a final report will be published in July 2011.
The intended audience for the final report is all those with the power to shape England?s historic environment. Its purpose is to draw on the accumulated expertise and experience of historic environment professionals, and those who fund planning-led investigation and understanding of the historic environment, so that the opportunity may best be realised.
Ultimately, the underlying principles of PPS5 and the Government Statement paint a vision of the future where planning-led investigation of the historic environment delivers far greater rewards and far more immediately recognisable benefits for society as a whole than ever before. Even if or when PPS5 is absorbed into the National Heritage Planning Framework, as anticipated will take place later this year, those principles are set to endure.
This draft report sets out the key findings during consultation to date and the emerging vision for public involvement and participation, research, the use of archived and published results, how historic environment sector professionals operate and what the property and development sector should gain. Based on the vision, it makes a series of recommendations which, the Group believes, will provide the sector with the tools it needs to implement the principles of PPS5.
The report calls for more effective collaboration and partnership working among heritage sector bodies to rationalise and strengthen activities and create a powerful, unified voice that encourages public, government and media engagement and support. It outlines a vision for the sector where management of the historic environment is a partnership between local authorities and community groups and where decisions proactively, confidently and genuinely take account of public values and concerns.
A post-Southport world would see a sector that consistently adds value to development by contributing to the sustainable development agenda, to design, brand, place-shaping, securing consents, risk management, PR, CSR, marketing and sales/rental values. The vision is that commercial investigation and explanation of the historic environment should be commissioned and conducted in a way that makes public participation the norm not the exception. Meanwhile commercial and voluntary practitioners should increasingly recognise and comply with professional standards so that all are encouraged to acquire new skills and accreditation.
Development-led research into the historic environment should be a collaborative venture involving commercially-funded, local authority, higher education and the voluntary sector. It should be focused on interpretation, understanding and significance, not record. In all cases decisions should be founded on sound knowledge derived from HERs mediated by expert professionals, and from proportionate and appropriate professional research, commissioned by the applicant, into the interests of a place and its significance.
This draft report contains 27 recommendations for a toolkit of possible products for achieving the Southport vision. All require sector endorsement if they are to take effect and bring about long-term change. Once agreement has been reached and the organisations assigned with crucial actions have pledged their support, then full product descriptions will be drafted into the final report and it will be the responsibility of all in the sector to adopt the recommendations and products into their working methods.


PPS5 demands a strong commitment to change. It will undoubtedly be challenging at both personal and institutional levels. The PPS5 principles require the historic environment sector to work in new ways: ways which are far more rewarding for society as a whole and far more satisfying for those who commission it and those who carry it out. This would be a great prize for any profession and it is within our grasp. The authors of this report hope that the sector, by responding to this draft, will seize the opportunity to shape the future.
The full report can be downloaded here.
I do feel that this issue has to be clarified as there are other issues other than undermining the proffession . You cannot charge a developer a price that is dependant or being able to exploit individuals free labour. If you are charging for providing a service that is dependant on the input of other individuals then you must pay those individuals for their labour and currently there is a minimum wage for that.

If you are designing a project that alows public participation then as I see it it will actually cost more as you need to be able to complete the job to the same standard and time scales if your volunteers do not turn up. You also need to able to complete the post X to the same professional standards. The idea as I see it is public participation in non commercial projects under professional (paid) guidance.

However with the way things are going I do wonder if some curators are thinking along the lines that the only way to ensure any archaeology gets done at all is to allow the amateur groups to take on a widening range of projects. We should not be fighting to exclude public participation but fighting a system were that may be the only way archaeology is done.

I work in both the professional and amateur sectors and I have on occasions had a quite word with some of the amateurs about working for free on commercial projects. Some units are more guilty than others and we are not talking training here we are talking shifting wheel barrows, basic labouring which I do not see as public participation!
Thank you wax. That is exactly how i see it as well. I would like it to be clarified before getting to scared.
Picking up Wax's point. Being a beginner, I've only seen a couple of commercial contracts. However, they've both included a clause that only experienced professional archaeologists would be permitted to work on the specified project and that there would be no volunteer/amateur/trainee involvement.

I'm sure there are projects where there's more opportunity for widening involvement, but I can't see a time-bound commercial project having leeway for a non-professional/unpaid workforce which may/may not decide to turn up on any given day.

I wonder if this is setting the scene for MSC 2.0, now we have all these pesky unemployed (..er... archaeologists) loafing around watching Jeremy Kyle and making the country look untidy? Allegedly? That type of project might be an ideal vehicle for what the Southporters are proposing. They might even need some professional archaeologists to run them.
BAJR Wrote: Will they need IfA membership ( cynical.... moi)

Would think so, have to recruit from somewhere Smile
The old MSC was not public participation it was work training where the individuals had entered into a contract of sorts. They could not walk away without loosing benefits (at least that's how I understood it). It was also archaeology that might not have been done otherwise being in the days before PPG 15 & 16. If there is archaeological work that needs to be done as part of planning requirements and unemployed archaeologists then those archaeologist should be employed to do it. Public participation should only ever be an added value . I do hope that there are no curators who would sanction a volunteer group being commissioned to do a commercial job that is required for planning purposes. This is why we need curators and professional guidelines as technically the developer could get the work done anyway he sees fit as long as it meets the requirements of the planning conditions.
The first port of call should be the professionals who should then have the remit to build in public participation ( which if done properly will add to the cost of the job above and beyond what a professional team working alone would charge)
True public participation is not a means of doing the job on the cheap it is a means of adding value whether that is in gathering public support or providing good publicity for the developer. If it ever appears to be a way of doing the job cheaply then staff and volunteers should protest.
I accept in cases there will be non commercial projects for research or pure public engagement where a volunteer team is perfectly acceptable but they must have professional guidance and that could include amateurs trained to a professional level.
Never should an amateur team be undertaking work for free for a client to meet a planning condition. (Though some are perfectly capable of doing the quality of work required). However as long as they have insurance and due regard for health and safety I see nothing under the law that would stop themSad
Was on a site in Australia (comercial job) where it was planned to use student volunteers as well as paid labor. The construction union put paid to this on the principle that having unpaid workers on site was a big NO (as it would set a dangerous precedent) in having unpaid labourers on a site.
Smacks of quotas - and I dislike them.

As a manager / supervisor, you want the best staff possible for your team. I would be very unhappy if I couldn't take on a brilliant archaeologist on a contract as the rules would say he'd have to do it for free.

NB: This is not to say volunteers or "amateurs" can't be brilliant archaeologists.

Health and safety would have a bloody fit too.
So will these volunteers all have CSCS cards?
Wow more volunteers, on all sites? That's really gonna help with the professionalism!
Can you imaging turning up to a construction site and part way through the induction the H&S person says 'oh by the way, just watch out for the bloke on the dumper, he's volunteering with us. If he hits you with it, it's only cause he's learning'

Get a grip, we need to be taken seriously or become a noble hobby. Given enough time the government may make that decision for us!
I remember a project a couple of years back (somewhere in southern England) where we wee unable to use local amateur metal detectorists to go over the spoil heap because they lacked CSCS cards and because they weren't employed didn't qualify as 'insured' persons on the project.
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