The Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO) was originally formed in 1996 (through a merger of the Association of County Archaeological Officers and Council of District Archaeological Officers) to represent all archaeologists working for local authorities and national parks in England and Wales (with representatives from N Ireland). Local government archaeologists in Scotland being represented by a separate organisation, the Association of Regional and Island Archaeologists (ARIA).
In June 2006 ALGAO formally merged with ARIA to become a fully UK-wide organisation - ALGAO:UK. National organisations continue with ALGAO:Cymru, ALGAO:Scotland and ALGAO:England who manage matters for their respective nations. England is further divided into regional committees to encourage local cooperation.
The Association's members are metropolitan authorities, shire counties, unitary authorities, London boroughs, national parks and historic cities, towns and boroughs across England, Wales and Scotland as well as representatives from Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Membership is granted to all professional archaeologists in the employ of the local authority heritage team. The local authority is then represented by it's most senior professional archaeologist whose primary responsibility is to advise that authority, principally through the planning process, on conservation and management of the archaeological resource, and who has been nominated by that authority to represent it for voting purposes.
Aims and Objectives
The Association has four key objectives:
- To provide a strong voice for local authority historic environment services and promote these within local government to strengthen and develop their role within local government in delivering local, regional and national government policy.
- To ensure that local government historic environment services are included within policy (national, regional and local) for culture and education.
- To ensure that policy aims to improve the sustainable management of the historic environment.
- To promote development of high standards in the historic environment profession.
Detailed objectives are set out in individual Strategy and Implementation Plans for ALGAO:UK, ALGAO:Cymru, ALGAO:England and ALGAO:Scotland.
The structure of the Association enables operation at both UK-wide and national level in response to particular issues.
The ALGAO:UK Executive Committee co-ordinates initiatives and addresses policy issues at a strategic level as well as providing member and financial services.
At a national level, implementation of the ALGAO:UK strategy often requires different approaches given the varying legislative, planning and policy frameworks, and the need to work in partnership with devolved government, and different national agencies and organisations. Three national associations, ALGAO:England, ALGAO:Scotland and ALGAO:Cymru, carry out much of the Association's work, each guided by their own implementation strategy, and overseen by the UK Executive. Each of these Association has its own Strategy and Implementation Plan linked to that of ALGAO:UK.
Specialist subject committees address issues at strategic level, involving representatives from key partner organisations as well as the wider ALGAO membership. The work of the subject committees, especially the involvement of partner organisations and other local authority staff, has been key to the success of ALGAO in the past. As a forum for developing strategic policy and approaches there are benefits for many of the subject committees in operating at UK wide level, although it is recognised that aspects relating to implementation may need to be considered by the relevant national Associations. The present subject committees are: Planning and Legislation, Historic Environment Records, Countryside, Urban, and Maritime issues.
ALGAO:England retains its structure of regional committees, largely co-incident with the government regions, in order to facilitate liaison with other regional organisations. Both subject and regional committees are guided by their own terms of reference but operate within the framework of the national constitutions and UK strategy.