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Bar to self-employment.
#1
I have recently been notified that one of the local authority areas where I work (as a sole trader) has not put me on their contractor list pending some more info from me. Fair enough, and I will just have to accept the five month delay in telling me this, as I know they have been severely understaffed. The extra info they require from me is easily provided except for a request for a couple of reports produced by my company.

My beef is that I cannot produce reports under my new company name until I actually land some work, which I am unlikely to do if I'm not yet on the contractor lists! I now have good reason to believe that other local authorities where I would like to work have recently adopted similar policies, but presumably they have not yet seen fit to notify me that I am not on their contractor lists. Where does this leave me in this chicken & egg Catch22 situation? Put simply, without any requests to do tenders to land new work. And I thought it was just the recession starting to bite.Sad

This situation is infuriating to me as I have worked in these areas for 6 years producing dozens of reports to a good standard. I understand why the LA's want to have some quality control over who is doing work in their patch, but surely that comes later when they actually monitor work and accept or reject reports? Perhaps their ability to monitor has been so curtailed by cutbacks that they see this as a simpler way to monitor, by just excluding the new boys, and sticking with the established units who never had this massive hurdle to clear.


Of course there are ways around this, all of which will make for some very lean times until I can actually get on the contractor lists.

What do BAJRites think?
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#2
Interesting one this, for a few points..

a) A curatorial list of approved contractors.. and the giving out of lists.. this is based on?? I was under the impression that Councils were not able to give approved contractor lists... and would have to provide valid criteria for this.

b) You already have a record that you are capable

c) Surely the best bar is what I used to do anyway... ie... check your reports, and when they come in knock them back if they do not meet the required standards as set in the brief/wsi etc..

I would suspect that a council dc arcaheologist should be careful about lists.

[hm]

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
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#3
I was not under the impression that this was a list of "approved" contractors, but actually now that you mention it, that's exactly what it has become. Hmmm...
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#4
You seem to be in a catch 22 situation. All the other contractors must have been approved before they brought this rule in. There might be a more diplomatic way of resloving this, but you might consider writing to the Chief Executive of the council and suggest that running a closed shop is illegal, and that the Office of Fair Trading might be interested. Or you could try having your union's legal advisor draft you such a letter.
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#5
Further to this, can a county archaeologist legally require an individual or company to be registered with the IFA before they can be included onto the contractors list for that particular county.
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#6
My understanding of these lists is that they are not "approved" but merely suggested points of contacts. The lists we have been accepted to make it clear that we are not being recommended by the council and they do not provide any form of guarantee to developers/clients/public of the quality or suitability of work. Many councils don't maintain a list and just direct people to the IFA RAO list and BAJR.

As far as I am aware they can not restrict work done in the County to those on the list either - there are several counties where the company I work for is not on the list and we regularly carry out work without problems.

The need to provide some additional information is probably so that the authority has some confidence that the list is relevant to its purposes. Going onto a list also normally means you agree to work to conditions/standards that the Council have outlined and the provision of information may be to confirm this has happened. It's probably a bit of a legal grey area though.

If it is any consolation I'm not sure that being on the list generates that much work - we get relatively few enquiries that have come from seeing our name on a local authority list...but one nibble may be all you need to land a client.
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#7
Can a county archaeologist legally require an individual or company to be registered with the IFA before they can be included onto the contractors list --- NO





"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
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#8
This one is a can of worms.

I have received legal advice over maintaining a list in a couple of authorities now. As a development control archaeologist you can set a reasonable set of criteria and have these adopted by the relevant planning committees or management or oversight committee of your archaeological organisation. These criteria would have to be legal and acceptable within council policies. For example one borough I have covered requires a level of employment for companies on lists to be obtained from within that borough. I cannot remember how I managed to get around that one.

A county archaeologist cannot stop anyone doing work within their patch, but we can, of course, make it exceptionally difficult for you.

The legality of RAO status: the RAO scheme is an independently assessed quality control scheme. I can legally advise that developers use an RAO as it is an open quality control system that any archaeological organisation or individual is free to join if they can pass the basic standards. You can also lay it on with a trowel about why an organisation would not want to join up.

If a unit has previously undertaken work within my patch which has resulted in enforcement action being taken by any of the councils then I can also point this out to developers who propose to use them. The unofficial ?You are unlikely to get your condition discharged if you choose to use this bunch of muppets? is quite frequently used. I know colleagues in HB conservation do advise developers not to use particular architects due to their poor quality of work and also get away with it.
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#9
I should point out that there is no suggestion at all that the LA is trying to make it hard for me to work in their patch. (I am currently doing so in fact, just unlikely to produce the report.) I would be shocked if they were because I have always had a very good relationship with the relevant development control archaeologists.

But, in addition to the difficulty of providing reports [u]before</u> I get on the lists, it does seem to take it beyond a list of contractors towards an approved list, which I have always understood to be legally very shaky.

I'm not sure if it is any consolation Teamonster, I need all the nibbles I can get right now.B)
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#10
Quote:quote:Originally posted by mercenary

I should point out that there is no suggestion at all that the LA is trying to make it hard for me to work in their patch. (I am currently doing so in fact, just unlikely to produce the report.) I would be shocked if they were because I have always had a very good relationship with the relevant development control archaeologists.

But, in addition to the difficulty of providing reports [u]before</u> I get on the lists, it does seem to take it beyond a list of contractors towards an approved list, which I have always understood to be legally very shaky.

I'm not sure if it is any consolation Teamonster, I need all the nibbles I can get right now.B)

It's difficult to know what to suggest on this one, as I can see the problem with not being able to supply previous reports under your own company name. If this is an attempt to ensure that there is quality control, perhaps some excavation, finds and recording manuals and a mock up of the structure of a report might work?
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