The Icon Professional Standards and Judgement & Ethics guide the professional practice of conservators.
There are five Professional Standards as well as Judgement & Ethics, each of which is broken down into individual ‘criteria’ which make up the overall ‘standard’.
Initially developed in 1999, the Icon Professional Standards and Judgement & Ethics have been reviewed in 2007, 2013 and 2020 to ensure that they are fit for purpose. They provide the foundation of many areas of Icon’s work including:
- Icon Accreditation
- Code of Conduct (2014)
- Icon Complaints procedure
Summary of Icon Professional Standards
Standard 1: Assessment of cultural heritage
- Understand the significance and context of the heritage to be assessed, along with any implications for potential conservation measures.
- Assess the physical nature and condition of the heritage.
- Assess the impact of the environment and potential changes on the heritage.
- Assess the implications of taking no further action.
- Report on the findings of the assessment.
Standard 2: Conservation options and strategies
- Identify and evaluate conservation options.
- Develop advice, recommendations or policies relating to the different options available.
- Develop or negotiate a considered course of action for implementation.
Standard 3: Conservation Measures
- Communicate appropriate practice in the care, protection and treatment of cultural heritage.
- Implement conservation measures.
- Ensure that measures and advice follow recognised conservation standards.
- Monitor and evaluate the effect of conservation measures.
- Document conservation measures.
- Recommend appropriate sources of further analysis, treatment or preventive care where these lie outside your remit or area of expertise
Standard 4: Organisation and management
- Organise and manage work to ensure that it is completed appropriately.
- Ensure that your work practices and any you promote comply with applicable legal and contractual requirements.
- Ensure that your work practices and the area for which you are responsible comply with relevant Health & Safety regulations and guidelines, minimising risk to yourself and others.
- Adhere to good business or internal practice in dealing with clients, colleagues and other stakeholders.
- Ensure that adequate and accessible records are maintained.
Standard 5: Continuing professional development
- Keep yourself informed on changes in the profession as well as broader developments relevant to your work context.
- Ensure that your practice, knowledge, skills and techniques are up-to-date, both at a general level and in relation to individual projects and tasks that you undertake.
- Reflect on and learn from your practice.
- Promote conservation and the care of cultural heritage to expert and general audiences
Professional Judgement and Ethics
- Understand the principles of conservation and demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the specific area(s) of your practice.
- Be conversant with national and international principles, philosophies and guidelines relevant to your practice.
- Understand the ethical basis of the profession and the responsibilities of the conservation professional to cultural heritage and to wider society.
- Understand and observe the Icon Code of Conduct.
- Use an adequate level of critical thinking, analysis and synthesis in approaching conservation problems and developing appropriate solutions.
- Appreciate and be prepared to consider alternative, valid methods and approaches that are relevant to your practice.
- Observe legal requirements and obligations, including those relating to health and safety, the environment, employment and contract law, and international agreements.
- Take responsibility for the care of cultural heritage within your influence.
- Act with responsibility towards the environment, promoting environmental sustainability in conservation practice and minimising adverse environmental impact.
- Act responsibly and ethically in dealings with the public, employers, clients and colleagues.
- Act with awareness of and respect for the cultural, historic and spiritual context of objects and structures.
- Understand how the context in which conservation is carried out influences the practices and measures that are appropriate and acceptable.
- Handle value-conflicts and ethical dilemmas in a manner which maintains the interests of cultural heritage.
- Understand the limits of your own knowledge and abilities, and practise within them.
Image: Bianca Harvey