IV. APHP Code of Conduct

 DRAFT AT JUNE 2011

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR HERITAGE ASSESSMENT PRACTITIONERS

 1.         Background and Purpose

During the course of 2005 the Executive Committee of the Association of Professional Heritage Practitioners (APHP) adopted as one of its focus areas the development of a Code of Conduct. Two broad components should form the basis of this code, a code of ethics and a code of competent conduct.

Development of the Code of Conduct has been complicated by the diversity of professions which fall under the broad ambit of heritage assessment and the existence, or lack thereof, of professional codes of practice for these disciplines. In formulating this Code substantial use has thus been made of the Code of Conduct for Environmental Assessment Practitioners formulation by IAIA SA (dated November 2005) which faced a similar range of issues and which has been the subject of a rigorous consultation process. Permission to adopt many of the principles and codes contained in this document are gratefully acknowledged by APHP. The intention is that this Code of Conduct will serve as a sound basis for appropriate conduct by members of APHP and that it will be adopted by the AHAP membership and serve as the basis for sanction of members by the APHP Executive Committee.

 In the long term the Code of Conduct should be distributed to organizations such as the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and Heritage Western Cape (HWC) and any other organisation as deemed appropriate.

 2.         Status of the Code of Conduct

 This Code of Conduct provides a guideline and framework to which members of APHP should adhere, and together with the Code of Ethics, should form the basis of good heritage assessment practice. Once adopted by the Executive Committee and membership, this Code of Conduct is binding on all members of APHP and membership of APHP implies acceptance of the Code of Conduct. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics may result in the termination of an individual’s membership.

 3.         Code of Ethics

 The Code requires that:

·      The member shall conduct professional activities, as far as possible, in accordance with emerging principles of heritage management and the highest standards of cultural heritage protection and enhancement.

·       The member shall at all times place the integrity of the cultural environment and the health, safety and welfare of the human community above any commitment to sectional or private interests.

·       The member shall not conduct professional activities in a manner involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or bias.

·       The member shall ensure the incorporation of cultural resource protection and social and economic impact considerations from the earliest stages of policy development or project design.

·       The member shall be personally responsible for the validity of all data collected, analysis performed, or plans developed by the member, and for the scrutiny of all data collected, analysis performed or plans developed under the member’s direction.

·       The member shall actively discourage misrepresentation or misuse of work the member has performed or that which was performed under the member’s direction.

·       The member shall not advertise or present the member’s services in a manner that may bring discredit to the profession.

·       The member shall adequately reference work i.e. previous studies, guidelines, diagrams and methodologies.

 4.         Principles underpinning the Code of Conduct.

 The Code of Conduct has been informed by the guiding principles underpinning sound heritage management principles as contained in the Heritage Policy adopted by the City of Cape Town, namely that a heritage practitioner should:

 ·   Have the necessary, relevant and appropriate experience and expertise to undertake heritage assessments.

·       Be accountable principally to the cultural environment, not only to clients and the public.

·       Provide information which is truthful, complete, unbiased, given appropriate emphasis, reliable, consistent, and explicit about assumptions made, sourced and stated in such a way that it can be understood by people with a non-technical background.

·       Not have a conflict of interest, or vested interest in working in the field of heritage assessment. Payment for work undertaken should not in any way be conditional on approval or authorization of the proposed development.

·       Strive for transparency and social accountability, taking into account the interests, needs and values of IAPs. Public access to information should be ensured. Information should be easily understood, key considerations highlighted and limitations or shortcomings acknowledged.

·       Be conscious of the culturally diverse nature of the context and the many different potential attitudes towards the cultural landscape and the need to elicit the range of such interpretations.

·       Give special planning attention to vulnerable or disadvantaged groups or communities.

·       Adopt a broad and holistic definition of ‘environment’ and heritage resources as defined in the NEM Act and NHR Act, to include both natural and socio-economic issues.

·       Pursue ways of optimising potential benefits of development without compromising its viability or the integrity of the cultural environment.

·       Focus on the key issues and concerns.

·       Recognise all forms of knowledge, including ‘traditional’ and ‘ordinary’ knowledge.

·       Recognise the intangible as well as the tangible components of heritage.

·       Consider and address indirect and cumulative effects associated with a proposed action.

 5.         Code of Ethical and Competent Conduct

 In undertaking their activities as heritage assessment practitioners APHP members should endeavour to comply with the following code of ethical and competent practice.

 5.1       Applying the principles of integrated heritage management

 ·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall carry out their professional activities, as far as possible, in accordance with emerging principles of heritage management, the highest standards of conservation and quality and in compliance with the letter and intent of the relevant legislation.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall ensure the incorporation of heritage considerations from the earliest stages of policy development or project conception.

 5.2       Applying the intent and the letter of Policy and Legislation:

 · Heritage practitioners shall carry out their professional activities in accordance with the requirements of the prevailing legislation and policy.

·       Practitioners shall at all times conduct their activities in terms of the spirit and intention of the relevant policy and legal frameworks and not seek to exploit lacunae or possible anomalies between different sets of policy/legislation.

·       Practitioners shall ensure that the relevant policies and legislative framework are addressed in formulating assessments. Such analysis shall occur independently from planning motivation reports.

·       Practitioners shall respect the sanctity of the law and the heritage protection it affords and must notify the relevant authorities if and when they become aware of any unlawful act irrespective of whether the perpetrator is their client or not. In this context an unlawful act is defined as either an activity being undertaken without the requisite authorization, or a failure to comply with the conditions of any authorization.

 5.3       Methodology in practice:

 ·   Heritage assessment practitioners shall clearly differentiate between facts, opinions and inferences in their work.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall, to the best of their ability, keep informed of advances in heritage management practice, and shall integrate such knowledge into their professional activities.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall, to the best of their ability, use the best available information.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall ensure that their recommendations are based on the analysis conducted and included in the assessment reports.

 5.4       Stakeholder participation

 ·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall respect the environmental rights afforded to all South African citizens in the Constitution, the National Environment Management Act, the National Heritage Resources Act and other relevant legislation in the execution of their activities.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall ensure that stakeholder participation is undertaken in a fair and transparent manner with adequate provision for language requirements, varying degrees of literacy and different cultural requirements. Stakeholder engagement should be appropriate and not merely tailored to minimum legal requirements.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall not discriminate against stakeholders on the basis of sex, creed, religion, race, colour, national origin, economic status, cultural moves or organizational affiliations.

 5.5       Communication and information

 ·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall, upon request by any rightful petitioner, give evidence of qualifications, professional training, publications and experience.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall, within a reasonable time, provide ready access to all information upon which their investigations and assessments are based.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall in any form of communication give full and proper credit to and avoid misrepresentations of the work and ideas of others.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall ensure that the information they provide is truthful, complete, unbiased, given appropriate emphasis, reliable, consistent and explicit about assumptions made, sourced and stated in such a way that it can be understood by people with a non-technical background.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall ensure that the information they provide is easily understood, that key considerations are highlighted and that limitations or shortcomings are acknowledge.

 5.6       Post process responsibilities

 ·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that proponents are aware of the legal obligations emanating out of any legal process and that the proponent is guided with respect to the appropriate mechanism(s) to ensure compliance with these obligations.

 5.7       Personal interest

 ·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall at all times place the integrity of the cultural environment and the social welfare, health and safety aspects of the socio-economic environment, above any commitment to sectional or private interest.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall inform a prospective client or employer of any professional or personal interests, which may impair the objectivity of their work.

 5.8       Inappropriate Conduct

 ·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall not conduct professional activities in a manner involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or bias.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall not knowingly take over the work of another heritage practitioner unless that practitioner has been fully reimbursed for professional costs and informed of the transfer of responsibilities.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners must only undertake particular heritage assessment work in a position of responsible charge where they have the relevant expertise and experience to undertake that work competently.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall not advertise their professional services in such a way as to discredit the profession.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall not misrepresent or allow or permit misrepresentation of their own or their associates academic or professional qualifications, or exaggerate their degree of responsibility for any work of a professional nature.

·       Heritage assessment practitioners shall not seek employment, grants or gains, or attempt to injure the reputation or opportunities for employment of another heritage assessment practitioner by fake, biased or undocumented claims or accusations or by any other malicious action.

 6.         DISCIPLINARY SANCTION

 APHP expects members to abide by the professional codes of conduct of their respective disciplines. However, such professional codes of conduct do not exist for all the disciplines falling under the broad ambit of heritage assessment.

 It is intended that the Code of Conduct will be used as the basis for assessing ethical and competent practice by its members. The disciplinary process is as follows:

 ·       Heritage assessment practitioners are required to act in accordance with the Code of Conduct, as amended from time to time.

·       The APHP Executive is empowered to initiate any form of investigation and to take any disciplinary action against any Heritage assessment practitioner it may deem advisable for an alleged breach of the Code of Ethics, or Code of Conduct.

·       Allegations or complaints regarding such a breach may be lodged with the APHP Executive by any interested or affected party, and should be accompanied by a written description of the details and a description of the alleged breach, specific clauses of the Code(s) which have been transgressed, as well as the relationship between the complainant and the certified heritage assessment practitioner.

·       The APHP Executive will deal with allegations or complaints of a breach in the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct.

·       The Executive Committee will undertake to deal with the alleged breach or complaint within an agreed on time period after receipt of such allegation or complaint and associated documentation.

·       As part of the investigation into an alleged breach of either code, the accused heritage assessment practitioner will be informed of the complaint, provided with copies of related correspondence, and given an opportunity to respond in writing to such a complaint within a specified time period.

·       Where deemed appropriate and necessary by the committee, the complainant, may be given the opportunity to submit written comment on the defendant’s response to the alleged breach. Thereafter the defendant should be given a final opportunity to respond in writing, after which no further documentation should be entertained by the committee. Allowance should be made for oral interviews, if requested.

·       Having undertaken an investigation, the committee will decide an appropriate action. Disciplinary action can take the form of a reprimand, suspension or termination of certified status.

·       The committee will inform both the complainant and the accused heritage assessment practitioner of the outcome.

·       The outcome of the disciplinary investigation will be made known to all certified heritage assessment practitioners to the relevant statutory authorities, including, inter alia SAHRA and HWC and any other professional associations to which the member may belong.

 Nicolas Baumann for the APHP Executive.

4 April 2006

 References

 ·       Code of Conduct for Environmental Assessment Practitioners in South Africa (Draft). A.I.A S.A. November 2005

·       Guidelines for involving heritage specialists in EIA processes: Edition 1, Winter, S and Baumann N, 2005. CSIR Report No. ENV-S-C 2005 05BE.

·       Republic of South Africa, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in Cape Town.

·       Cultural Heritage Strategy for the City of Cape Town (IMEP), Environmental Management Branch Heritage Resources Section, City of Cape Town 2005.

 (As edited by SE de Kock on 15th June 2011)