The concept is simple, but in practice is dependant on support.
To be realistic, we have to understand what ‘we’ want, who ‘we’ are, and to ensure that there is no duplication of effort.
BAJR as an organisation must be a confederation of those who are as yet unrepresented within British archaeology. Five categories present themselves:
1. The sole trader
2. The freelancer
3. the specialist (the surveyor, ceramicist, geophysicist, finds specialist etc.)
5. the employee (which would be best done in partnership with Prospect)
Each of these categories would put forward a member to the Council yearly to represent the concerns of each group. Issues, information and self help could be addressed by each group and disseminated. For example, for sole traders help in running your own business; for freelancers, requirements for insurance; for specialists, new research in various fields; for students, details on requirements and expectations in the different facets of archaeology; the employees, who would have to be unionised, having a voice with which to ensure the union represented them robustly.
Minimum standards and minimum rates (words not used lightly) would be agreed and held to. Skills and training would be paramount to the federation and therefore connection to and working with the pre-existing organisations would not be seen as over-riding but complementary.
Membership of the federation will be (at least initially) free and rely upon a recognition that and independent organisation is needed. Over the past ten years BAJR (as an individual) has established a reputation for honesty and trust and there is no reason why BAJR (as an organisation) cannot continue with the same stance, but now no longer being a single voice but many voices speaking as one. It is essential that this is not seen as a replacement for any of the existing organisations and is not seen as an union, but a federation of like minded and dedicated professionals who wish to see that the standards and future of archaeology are ensured. This is a concept to be discussed by fellow BAJRites as this direction is one that concerns us all and so we must all have our voice. Below, I have set out the four main principles and I am open to comment on everything. I cannot stress enough that this is not a challenge to the IfA or Prospect or any other existing organisation, it is an obvious step forward to fill a gap and we should be prepared to work in co-operation with every other existing organisation to reach a concordance.
1. Responsibility to Society.
Responsible archaeological work, including all levels of professional activity, requires acknowledgment of public accountability and commitment to make every reasonable effort, to consult actively with local groups and to ensure that the public are considered in any activity. Opportunities to promote archaeology should be integral to any works, and communication and interpretation of archaeological remains should be undertaken where applicable. The deposit and availability of archaeological records should be placed in an accessible location. Publications (including grey literature) should be distributed within an acceptable timescale as widely as possible.
2. Responsibility to Heritage.
Responsible archaeological work, should take into consideration, the finite and fragile nature of archaeology. Methodologies must be chosen that require a minimum of damage to the archaeological record. Excavation should only be undertaken when appropriate resources are in place, and both mitigation and post excavation strategies are provided for. Adequate storage of records, artefacts and other archaeological material must be considered prior to any works. Projects should contain specific plans for conservation, preservation, and publication from the very outset, and funds should be secured for such purposes. Project designs must be fit for purpose – and no contract should be entered into that does not place the importance of the archaeology as the prime concern.
3. Responsibility to Staff and fellow workers.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
a. Fair employment conditions, that include potential for career progression, pay on or above the BAJR guidelines and compliance with all current employment laws. ie bogus self-employment
b. Training opportunities including access to in-house training, NVQs and other relevant courses.
c. Adequate Health and Safety provision, PPE and suitable site and workplace facilities.
d. Consultation and communication with staff regarding projects and company policy
4. Responsibility to Client.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
a. Respect the interests of the client, so far as is consistent with the public welfare and the Code and Standards;
b. You must however refuse to comply with any request or demand of a client which conflicts with the Code and Standards;
c. You must not offer services to a client that you cannot provide to a recognised standard.
d. Provide a cost that accurately reflects the work to be carried out, and make the client aware of the potential and scope of post excavation and mitigation as soon as this is known.
e. Ensure that the client is provided with a final product that is both useful and recognised as value for money.
The principals and sub clauses outlined in the IFA Code of Conduct must be adhered to, whether an IFA member or not. http://www.archaeologists.net/modules/icontent/index.php?page=15
The archaeologist shall adhere to the highest standards of ethical and responsible behaviour in the conduct of archaeological affairs.
The archaeologist has a responsibility for the conservation of the archaeological heritage.
The archaeologist shall conduct his/her work in such a way that reliable information about the past may be acquired, and shall ensure that the results be properly recorded.
The archaeologist has responsibility for making available the results of archaeological work with reasonable dispatch.
The archaeologist shall recognise the aspirations of employees, colleagues and helpers with regard to all matters relating to employment, including career development, health and safety, terms and conditions of employment and equality of opportunity.